Making Olive Oil in the Peloponnese

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Even though the Peloponnese is only an hour’s drive away from Athens, it’s as if you’re entering another world, or at least another country. Concrete boxes are replaced with olive groves, and the words “traffic jam” tend to mean that a group of goats have convened, gathering and blocking the road. Needless to say, I greatly enjoy the small villages of the Peloponnese. So when George Papageorgiou, the owner of Esti Olive Oil, asked me if I wanted to go to Kalamata to see how they harvest the olives and turn them into olive oil, I jumped at the chance. To me this was kind of like winning the lottery. I was going to the Peloponnese and getting a chance to enjoy some “liquid gold.”

Being Greek, I grew up eating olive oil. I know others might disagree with me, but I will take a good quality olive oil over butter any day! I love using it to make popcorn. I drizzle it on fresh tomatoes and slices of bread. I use it to fry fish and as an ingredient in cakes. Before there were rules for the amount of liquid you could carrying on a plane, my mother and I would bring half-gallon containers of olive oil back from our trips to Greece.

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