Liquid gold: A fresh-pressed look at Kalamata olive oil
Olive oil, a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, has been touted as the panacea in the fight against heart disease, and demand for some types of oil is starting to rival that of a fine bottle of wine.
Besides being high in healthy monounsaturated fats, a report in the February issue of Archives of Neurology says that olive oil is one of those good fats that may even protect the brain.
And while Greek olive oil only accounts for approximately 2% of imported olive oil into the U.S., Kalamata olive oil (and to a larger degree, its olives) has exploded into the market. From hummus to salad dressing, Kalamata olive oil has become synonymous with a healthy lifestyle.
The city of Kalamata, a hidden gem on the southern coast of the Peloponese, is not only the home of the musician Yanni and sun-drenched beaches, but also to some of the best food products along the Mediterranean, including its world-renowned olives and extra virgin olive oil.
What distinguishes a Kalamata olive from all others is its distinctive juicy and thick texture, low acidity, peppery aftertaste and, above all else, its almond-shaped pointed pit that is reddish in color.
The olives are mostly harvested by hand from November until January, and then bagged and taken to local mills where they are processed.