There is an opportunity for Greek extra virgin olive oil producers to diversify the range of Greek oils on offer comments Savantes.
Most of the oils from the region come from the koreneiki variety, with a low percentage of other olive varieties mixed in.
This results in a limited range of tastes, differentiation coming from harvest timing, altitude and agronomic not varietal differences.
In a recent visit to Greece the Savantes writer tasted some oils ‘off the line’ from some varieties other than koreneiki.
The extra virgin olive oils had different and equally attractive taste profiles as the koreneiki oils.
There are some difficulties in identifying the different varieties in old groves where they are intermingled.
However, it may be worth the effort if the farmers were given an incentive to harvest the trees separately to produce a boutique olive oil which commands a premium price.
In Greece there are several varieties of olive fruits. Among others, the most popular and most common are Ladolia, Manaki, Koroneiki, Athinolia (Tsounati) etc. During the stages of maturity, olive fruit changes colour from green to violet and then black.
Olive Oil taste characteristics depend on which stage of ripeness olive fruits are been collected. Olive Oil coming from green to violet olive fruits contains large amounts of phenolic and aromatic compounds and has intensive fruity and herbal taste (Koroneiki and Athinolia variety).
On the other hand, as the fruit becomes riper the amounts of phenolic and aromatic compounds are getting lower. The taste of olive oil that comes from violet to black fruits is softer and its aroma reminds ripe fruits like apple, tomatoes and sometimes almonds (Ladolia and Manaki variety).
Learn more about Greek Olives Varieties