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Thread: Greek (mostly Cretan) olive oil

  1. #1
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks, Palαύρα. You predicted well (or knew well) the way my mind works. The words of the song were (refreshingly) easy to understand. I must be getting somewhere. Lexilogia has done so much for me--from all angles including the best olive oil. I can't get kolymbari here in Gloucester but I got a prizewinning bottle from the Peloponnese this morning on amazon. Αυτό το προϊόν δε συγκρίνεται.

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    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    If you go to your local Turkish or Arabic grocer, they will have Kolymvari (note the spelling). It seems to be a staple in those shops, but I don't know if you have Arabic or Turkish grocers in Gloucester.

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks, SBE We don't have either a Turkish or Arabic store in Gloucester but the supermarkets have "ethnic" food shelves so i'll look there. The of spelling of Kolymvari was an error on my part because I actually read an article on the subject. This article said that the Terra Creta estate was located between the Samaria Gorge and the beaches of Kolymvari.
    Until I get a bottle or tin —at present unavailable online— I'll have to be content with, here is the advert!, my "2017 GOLD Medal Winner PJ KABOS 500ml Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil, born in Ancient Olympia vicinity, Greece, KORONEIKI Variety, 500ml glass bottle"

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    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    ...
    Well, the actual pronunciation is Kolymbari (or Kolybari; let's not get into that again) since no local would ever pronounce or write it Kolymvari (Κολυμβάρι) outside of dusty or "official" texts.

    Like no native speaker would say κολυμβώ for κολυμπώ (or κολυμπάω, frequently) when speaking naturally.

    A bonus word for you, Theseus, in the Cretan dialect: η κολύμπα = pool, pond, puddle

    Also found as a masculine noun: κόλυμπος.

    Τση Νύφης ο Κόλυμπος

    Ο σχετικός θρύλος λέγει, ότι νύμφη τις κάποτε και επνίγη εις τα πολλά ύδατα του κολύμπου (περί της λέξ. βλ. VI, 8) εν ώ διήρχετο απ' εκεί με την γαμήλιον πομπήν, διότι δεν ήθελε τον γαμβρόν. Ο Κόλυμπος ωνομάσθη έκτοτε εις ανάμνησιν του γεγονότος ούτω.
    Πρβλ. Και του Βατσέλ(λ)η η Κολύμπα. 

    Χατζιδάκις, Ν. Ε. (1938)
    http://repository.kentrolaografias.g....&type=author
    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks, 'Man. What does Βατσέλη mean? A basin or bowl? Or is it here the name of a place? BTW, thanks for the information on Kolymbari/ Kolybari.

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    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    ...
    The whole phrase "του Βατσέλ(λ)η η Κολύμπα" is a placename, most probably based on someοne's name, as indicated by the genitive του Βατσέλη (ο / η / το whatever) preceding the noun as in Τση Νύφης ο Κόλυμπος.
    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    Theseus, I don't know where I went wrong and confused you, but I did not mention Terra Creta at all. I was referring to this olive oil which is relatively easy to find in the UK in bottles and in tins:



    Of course the region of Kolymbari (note the spelling) is home to many brands of olive oil, but Kolymvari Gold (note the spelling) is the one that I am told is an excellent balance of product and price and is used by a lot of Greek food professionals in the UK.
    I am aware of Terra Creta and other designer-y offerings that have surfaced in recent years, but as I said before I don't buy olive oil and I therefore have no opinion on what they taste like. Perhaps they are worth the price premium. So by all means, do try them. But the one most Greeks in the UK use is the one pictured above, and there must be a reason for this.

    P.S. I hope this has also clarified the name situation with Daeman. I was referring to the brand name, not the place.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks again, SBE. I will look out for the bottle when I'm next in Tesco's. I thought that the brand you mentioned with that name was made in Crete at the family oil press of Terra Creta. Thanks for the help to 'Man as well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBE View Post
    ...PS I hope this has also clarified the name situation with Daeman. I was referring to the brand name, not the place.
    It was clear right from the start, dear. I know that brand although I never buy olive oil. Got my own.

    Theseus, in many newfangled brands you pay the brand, their fancy words and packaging, while the actual product may come from the same source as non-fancy, common ones, as was the case with one of the most expensive Greek brands launched some years ago in the US where it was sold at exorbitant prices (around 100 USD per litre, or more) in small designer bottles and fancy packaging aimed at the NY upscale market, and later proved to be just regular -albeit virgin- olive oil that cost less than 5 euros per litre in market prices, let alone wholesale straight from the producers. And since olive oil is certainly a matter of taste preference, it's best to try various brands and see what suits your taste buds without emptying your pockets. Kolymvari is good and fairly priced, so you can start with that as a staple and explore further.
    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    I have no idea whether Terra Creta comes from the same firm. All I know is that a lot of Cretan olive oil comes from that region, and there is even a Kolymvari olive oil PDO (similar to the one wines get), which covers the olive oil produced by members of the agricultural cooperatives of Chania, so there are a lot of brands of olive oil that include the name of the region. I don’t know how you imagine olive oil is produced, but I can tell you how we do it in our village: around December you hire workmen (the number of workmen depends on the size of your land), and you agree to pay them a set fee per day, plus meals plus olive oil or whatever else. You take your olive nets out of storage and you have them pick the olives and you take the sacks of olives to the olive press where you negotiate payment in either cash or a percentage of olive oil. You oversee the process, to ensure that they start up with clean machinery with no leftovers from the previous client and that the oil that comes out of the other end is poured into your containers. You pay and take your containers away. One olive press is enough for the whole region, which includes about seven oil producing villages. They are busy for about two months a year. As far as I know, olive presses belong to the agricultural cooperative. I have never heard of a press that belongs to a bottling factory, but of course there may be some. The oil needs to settle for a few days, don’t know why, but apparently we don’t use it straightaway. In the meantime, the workmen clean up the land and prune the trees for next year. The wood is chopped and stored or sold for firewood. And that’s all that one needs to do until next year. Because we harvest every two years, the next year we pay someone to prune the trees again. And that’s it. Olive trees are low maintenance and require no treatment during the year. And if, like us, you do not use any pesticides or fertilisers, you don’t need to pay anyone to apply them. We have about 20 old trees and they produce more than we can use and give away in a year. The quality is excellent (the olive press test it and certify it, so we know for certain it is extra virgin), the colour and taste is first class and there is no need to buy. Our only problem is storage. I don’t know anyone with 10,000 trees, but I am sure there are some, but even then, most olive oils come from cooperatives and people buy them in bulk and bottle them. I don’t think there are many that are wholly family-owned (trees and bottling factory). I know nothing about Terra Creta, but I would not be surprised if I found out that it is a business that buys olive oil in bulk from various produces of the Kolymvari PDO and had it bottled at some bottling facility. There is nothing immoral or illegal about that, and anyone can put what appears to be a nice back story on their bottles (after all, there is an Italian pencil maker who claims to have been founded in the 1400s, and another one who claims its notebooks were used by Matisse and VanGogh, but had to admit this was just marketing speak).

    You can read more about Greek PDO products here.

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