Not far from Chania, among the mountains of northern Crete, there’s a huge extension of olive trees in the Protected Denomination of Origin area of Kolymbari. The weather conditions of the island and the microclimate of Kolymbari give life to a top environment for harvesting the highest quality olive crops. Did you know that about 5 % of the World’s olive oil comes from Crete?
A FAMILY VISIT TO A FAMILY FACTORY
Right in the heart of Kolymbari, and for over five generations, the Dimitriadis family specializes in estate-produced, stone-milled and cold-pressed organic olive oil.
They achieve excellence by combining all the benefits of the traditional methods for oil extraction in full respect of the environment. Their company, Biolea, is one of the very few dedicated to this slow method to produce extra virgin olive oil. The impressive traditional stone mill, still in use, fascinated our children.
Their 3000 olive trees belong to a specific variety, Koroneiki. This small Cretan olive is very resistant to the island’s rough soil and drought weather. Biolea produces a reduced amount of olive oil (about 20.000 liters per year – industrialized companies produce over 300.000 liters), a choice that allows keeping high standards. Their oil is extra virgin, young and fresh. They extract it with a cold press and don’t filter it. A simple method, close to ancient traditions: a winning recipe for a genuine result.
EXPLOSION OF TASTE
During our oil-tasting session, Chloè, the youngest in the family, introduced us to new tastes.
In fact, they don’t only produce an incredibly tasty, mild and sweet, extra virgin olive oil.
There are also two fascinating surprises…
LemoniO and NerantziO.
LemoniO is an aromatic olive oil that Biolea produces cold-pressing Koroneiki olives with whole fresh lemons in the stone mill. A fabulous oil that explodes with an intense lemon zest aroma and a lasting aftertaste of freshly crushed lemons.
NerantziO is made by adding whole fresh bitter oranges which release an exotic punch of orange blossom and a teasing touch of orange skin.
BEFORE YOU GO… Do you know how to recognize top-quality olive oil?
The first word to look for on the label is VIRGIN. Definitions as “pure olive oil”, “white olive oil”, “good olive oil” are simply blends.
The second word to find is EXTRA and it has to do with acidity. A level between 0,0 and 0,8 % qualifies the oil as extra virgin.
But careful! Having a label that reads Extra Virgin is not enough! These two words, even if important, don’t account for harvest date: olive oil is at its best in the first two years of its harvest.
“Extra Virgin” does not account for heat either. Cold pressing must be done under 27 °C so the oil still maintains all its qualities.
A step beyond is the distinction between cold press and cold extraction. Modern systems process olives through cold extraction using a chopper. This needs high quantities of water reducing the final quality. On the other hand, a cold press manages to separate the olive from its skin much better than a chopper, producing olive oil that tastes sweeter, milder and almost buttery.
Finally, look at the origin. If olives come from Protected Designation Origin Areas chances are your oil is top class.
To visit Biolea get in touch through their website.
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