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Origins of olive oil

Since ancient times...

Since ancient times, the olive tree has commanded mankind's respect and inspired rituals and traditions. Its history, which seems to go back as far as the earth itself, is bound up with that of the Mediterranean. Even as they venerated the holy tree, these civilizations discovered the benefits of its precious oil. The Egyptians, who consumed large quantities of olive oil during the time of the Pharaohs, brought it from Crete and used it during funeral and purification rites. But it was the Phoenicians who, in the sixteenth century B.C., began to plant olive trees throughout all of Greece and eventually the Mediterranean basin, where olive orchards and mills multiplied along with the Romans. Olive oil was used not only in food, but also for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. It was the green gold of gods, kings, and queens before it became a daily staple for most Mediterranean populations.
Around the Olivier - Origins of olive oil


In the sixties, a major public health survey was carried out on different eating habits in Europe, with compelling results: people living in Crete had a much higher life expectancy than those living in northern Europe because of the astonishing level of protection against cardiovascular disease that their well-balanced diet provided.

The Cretan diet, as it came to be called, is not a weight-loss diet, but rather a perfectly healthy way of eating in which olive oil plays a central role. The majority of medical research is unanimous: some researchers focus mainly on the anti-cholesterol effects of olive oil, others on its detoxifying and regenerative effects. Either way, olive oil is considered a "health food" because of its rich content of monounsaturated fatty acids, which act effectively to clean and protect the arteries and the digestive and biliary systems.

Around the Olivier - Origins of olive oil


Olive oil can be used raw or cooked. With its particularly high smoke point (around 200°C), it lends itself to all types of cooking. However, to reap the full benefit of its flavor, it is not recommended to heat olive oil above 60°C: food will cook more slowly and keep their flavor. Also consider adding a drizzle of olive oil over dishes after they have been cooked, just before serving.