The white olive may have survived on Malta from ancient times; the Phoenicians called us Malet – ‘the hidden haven’, perhaps for what we had on our sun bleached limestone rock. Traces of the variety Olea europaea have been found in the 4500BC temples at Skorba. Like many islands the indigenous species thrive, but often die out due to changes in conditions or the ignorance of people.
Do you remember grubbing up an olive tree – pale in sickness? It may have been one of the hidden gems. Two trees, one in Zejtun and one in Zabbar (the olive towns of Malta) when verified as true-to-type may see the population of white olive trees triple.
However, the world experts said this Maltese olive was a mutant, an albino and not a true variety. They scoffed and looked disapprovingly down their noses. A man determined, like a dog gnawing a bone, Sam pursued the truth with many hours spent researching ancient books. Folklore of the villages helped guide them to references of the white olive. With Matty’s help an old recipe was found that referred to the Perlina Olive. Sent at great expense to the International Olive Council in Saragossa, Spain the variety was verified and recognised by the European experts that proved the world experts wrong.White San Blas Olives of Malta,