The olive harvesting (liomazoma in Greek) is an annual “ritual” within the Zisimopoulos Family’s (and by extension to Perlegiannika Houses’) tradition. On the occasion of this year’s harvest, I decided to post a blog entry about this pure and sacred Mediterranean tree, which is also found in our beautiful island of Kythera.
One of the many advantages of having routs in the countryside is that I get to savor every day the high quality, the superb aroma, the rich color, the exquisite texture and of course the carefully balanced spicy-fruity taste of my family’s own olive oil. I, for once, have caught myself on multiple occasions to become negatively surprised when I taste food that has been prepared with olive oil that is not “home-brewed”, but instead comes from the selves of a supermarket. The taste between the two is so distinct that can alter the end result of the food itself. (Yes, I am spoiled and picky but I guess it happens to everyone who is raised with home-produced fruits, vegetables, honey, oil, jams etc)
The Olive Oil has always played an essential role in the everyday life of the Mediterranean people (and that includes the Greeks). Olive oil has multiple uses; from nutrition to personal hygiene, hair and skin products etc. Even Homer referred to olive oil’s utility in both the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Ok, Homer wrote it first, but I can also personally acknowledge the beneficent use of (extra virgin) olive oil on hair. I am proud to say that I have the stereotypical Greek hair (to which Archilochos referred to around 7th century BC) that fit into the category of «βόστρυχος» (sounds sth like vostrichos) a.k.a. curles. Through the years I have spent a small fortune on specialized hair products that guarantee this and that and etc, but the best and faster results that I ever had were when one rainy and boring Sunday morning I decided to experiment on my hair with an homemade oil-based mask that my hair stylist told me how to prepare (clue: it contained 95% of my family’s extra virgin oil).
Taking under consideration all of the above, it comes as no surprise that olive oil is still today the object of scientific research and also the source of wealth for countries, as well as individuals. Olive oil contains nutrients, is tasty, does not add to one’s waistline (when it is consumed in normal portions in regular dishes), while it can be preserved for relatively lengthy time periods.
So to wrap things up, I just want to share this thought; The Olive Tree is my favorite tree, it is considered “sacred” to many people and “magical” to some. Andhowcanitnotbe? The Olive tree is a life-bringer (with its fruits and its wood), while it needs the Sea to grow. And the Sea is the “mother” of so many cultures, tales and people, throughout time. And if something helps me feel closer to Kythera and Greece (especially when I am away for long periods of time) that is the Olive Tree and the Sea.