The History of Olive Oil
Olive oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the Olive tree. It is used in cooking, cosmetics and as a fuel for traditional Roman oil lamps. Olive Oil is regarded as a healthy dietary oil because of its high content of monounsaturated fat and polyphenols.
Olive Oil was also used by the ancient Hebrews. Olive oil of the highest purity was poured daily into seven cups of the golden candelabrum, called the Menorah, in the holy temple of Jerusalem. Olive Oil was also used for the anointing the Kings of Israel and Judah. The word Christ ‘the anointed one’ is a literal translation of ‘Mashiach’, the Messiah.
Olive oil has been widely used for medicinal as well as culinary purposes. It has been claimed to aid digestion, to delay ageing, to aid bone growth, heal tissues and lower blood pressure.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is pure olive oil, real olive juice. It has not undergone any refining treatments and it contains no additives or preservatives. Do not be fooled by ‘100% Pure Olive Oil’, this is often the lowest quality available. Better grades have Virgin on the label.
The Mediterranean diet first came to prominence during the study of World eating habits, which found the diet of the people of Crete to be the healthiest of all. Their diet was high in vegetables, fruit, fish and olive oil, despite a high intake of fat, they had the lowest incidence of heart disease, because it was discovered the fat came from Olive Oil.
It was the Greeks and Egyptians who first cultivated Olive trees and traded in Olive Oil, but it was the Romans, who during the expansion of their Empire introduced Olive groves throughout southern Europe and North Africa and produced Oil in considerable volume for the first time in history. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the importance of Olive Oil declined and it was not until the end of the 19th century that large scale production once more occurred.
Olive Oil’s newly discovered health benefits combined with a growing interest in more cosmopolitan cuisine, triggered a surge in demand which has been maintained until this day.
Spain is the largest producer of Olive Oil, producing some of the best Virgin Olive Oils in southern Spain, Andalucia. They even sell the Olive Oil to the Italians, who bottle it and imply it to be theirs’.
Homer called it "liquid gold." The olive tree, symbol of abundance, glory and peace, gave its leafy branches to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest of heads throughout history.