Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Greece Needs More Variety in Extra Virgin Offering

There is an opportunity for Greek extra virgin olive oil producers to diversify the range of Greek oils on offer. Most of the oils from the region come from the koreneiki variety, with a low percentage of other olive varieties mixed in. This results in a limited range of tastes, differentiation coming from harvest timing, altitude and agronomic but not varietal differences.

In a recent visit to Greece the writer tasted some oils ‘off the line’ from some varieties other than koreneiki. The extra virgin olive oils had different and equally attractive taste profiles as the koreneiki oils.

There are some difficulties in identifying the different varieties in old groves where they are intermingled. However, it may be worth the effort if the farmers were given an incentive to harvest the trees separately to produce a boutique olive oil which commands a premium price.