Olive tree is the oldest known planted tree on Earth that has been around some 6,000 years ago. It is a symbol of the Mediterranean countries, warm climates where it has found its home.
An olive branch is a symbol of peace while the olive oil, due to its structure, a sign of longevity and overall good health and an inevitable ingredient to any Mediterranean dish. It were the Phoenicians who brought it to the Mediterranean basin, the Greeks considered olives a sacred fruit, while the Romans believed that olive oil and wine will secure one’s longevity and they used it extensively not only in cuisine but as a beauty aids as well. Today the benefits of olive oil are celebrated world-wide.
The history of olive oil
In Istria, olive oil dates back to the Greek and Roman times – olive oil presses were recovered from the island of Brijuni some 2,000 years ago.
Olive oil as a compoLiquid goldnent of Istrian cuisine
Olive oil is part of the Istrian lifestyle and cuisine and today you can enjoy many varieties of olive oil with different food. Many restaurants and konobas in Istria serve different types of olive oil and you can even choose between different olive oil varieties with you lunch, such as pendolino, lecciono, buza or bjelica that are grown and produced in Istria.
The medicinal and preventative properties of olive oil
Health, nutritional and overall wellbeing effects of olive oil have been known from the ancient times: being easily digested, olive oil is good for the bones, joints, liver and skin and as a strong anti-cancer prevention. Having a high percentage of non-saturated fats, olive oil is excellent for one’s heart and l blood vessels; it lowers the “bad” cholesterol and keeps the level of the good cholesterol up. It is advised by medical authorities worldwide to include olive oil in everyday nutrition – that is the reason the Mediterranean diet has been called the healthiest one for it uses olive oil as a basic nutrient.
Olive oil in the service of beauty
The beauty aspects of olive oil are exceptional: it contains anti-oxidants, vitamins A, D, K and E that are crucial in anti-ageing process of the skin. It is excellent not only for the skin, but used in creams and body peelings, in treatments for the hair and nails. Cleopatra used to take baths with olive oil that left her skin smooth and shiny like many noble women after her who used olive oil for shiny and healthy looking hair.
Extra virgin olive oil
Mediterranean cuisine celebrates olive oil, particularly the extra virgin olive oil that is highly valued, thanks to high levels of anti-oxidants. Various fish and meat dishes, salads and vegetables (grilled, cooked or baked) and more often today desserts such as chocolate variations of desserts are enhanced by the subtle yet full flavored taste of the olive oil. Istria boasts some of the world’s best olive oil produced: some 40 producers of extra virgin olive oil are listed in the guidebook Flos Olei, a Bible of a sort on world’s best extra virgin olive oil.