The Giving Tree: An Introduction to Greek Olive Oil

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In Greece, where the land is mostly rocky and steep and the climate hot and arid, the olive tree thrives, and for millennia, olive oil has been as essential to Greek cooking as the gnarled, silver-leaved trees have been to the country’s landscape.

Greece is the third largest producer of olive oil in the world after Spain and Italy and the greatest in consumption per capita.

Used liberally as a cooking fat for all manner of ingredients and preparations, as well as in its raw state to dress or flavor dishes, olive oil also plays an influential role in Greek baking, such as in koulourakia, twisted or coiled cookies, and paximadia, the twice-baked rusks that come savory or sweet.

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