For centuries, Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been a prized and beloved staple in kitchen stores worldwide. Its many uses have remained constant over time, with cooking, beauty, and health being the main motivators for its enduring appeal.2
The olive tree’s significance can be traced back thousands of years to the Mediterranean, where various civilizations cultivated and extracted olive juice. Ancient Greece played a particularly important role, even awarding olive branches as crowns to Olympic Games athletes who would rub olive oil on their bodies before and after the competition. This tradition continues to this day with olive oil massages remaining popular.1,3
While olives may not be associated with fruit due to their lack of sweetness, they are indeed a fruit and olive oil is a fruit juice. Olives are grown across the Mediterranean, including North Africa and the Middle East, and the making of olive oil is a relatively simple process of extracting juice from grapes.
In the past, vertical stone olive presses with rolling wheels were constructed to crush the olives, resulting in the oil draining out of a hole in the middle of the press. Today, the process is further enhanced by collecting the pulp in bags, pressing again, and washing the olives with water, resulting in cold-pressed olive oil, similar to other cold-pressed oils like coconut and avocado oil.
The popularity of high-quality olive oils is on the rise due to their health benefits and role as a crucial ingredient in everyday cuisines. Olive oil’s nutritional properties and health benefits are making it a popular choice worldwide, with over 860 million olive trees planted and constantly being improved for flavor, stability, and size through the cultivation of over 700 different varieties.1
The South African olive oil industry also has an exciting history, dating back to the late 1800s when a young and ambitious Italian named Ferdinando Costa planted his beloved Italian olive trees in the fertile Paarl Valley. Ten years later, with a heart full of passion and a drive to succeed, he pressed his first oil in an authentic Italian mill, determined to create the finest olive oil in South Africa.4,2
Today, thanks to the dedication and hard work of visionaries like Ferdinando Costa, South Africa’s olive oil industry continues to flourish and produce exceptional olive oil enjoyed by people around the world.2
- The history of olive oil, 2022: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Benefits, History & Culture. Available at : Morocco-gold.com.Date Accessed:11.April .2023
- Visser B. 2021.Growing and Farming History of olive oil in the south african industry. Available at :Olivessa.co.za. Date Accessed:11 April.2023..
- Meldrum A. 2012. How We Have Used Extra Virgin Olive Oil With Its Amazing Health Benefits For Centuries. Available at: Morocco-gold.com. Date Accessed 11\04\2023.
- Darling olives:History of olives in south africa, Available at: Darlingolives.co.za Date Accessed 5.April.2023