Slow Food Recognition
The Slow Food Ark of Taste recognizes MILESTONE’s unique olive oil processing methodology and heritage.
The Ark of Taste travels the world collecting small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet: an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets, oils and cured meats. The Ark was created to point out the existence of these products, draw attention to the risk of their extinction within a few generations, invite everyone to take action to help protect them. In some cases this might be by buying and consuming them, in some by telling their story and supporting their producers, and in others, such as the case of endangered wild species, this might mean eating less or none of them in order to preserve them and favor their reproduction.
Our nomination to the Ark of Taste has been approved! Please follow the link: http://www.slowfoodfoundation.com/ark/details/1991/traditionally-milled-koroneiki-olive-oil#.U3ES_naJv-R
“Traditionally milled koroneiki olive oil is harvested from unripe olives with the total absence of heat, using only historical processing techniques. First, the olives are gathered by hand to avoid damaging the fruit, as the damaged olives can oxidize more quickly. The koroneiki variety is widely recognized for its anti-oxidant properties and sensory characteristics. No centrifugal force is used to obtain the oil, which is instead released from the unripe olives when they are crushed under rotating granite millstones. The crushed olives are then kneaded into a paste, and pressed using a traditional hydraulic press.
The olive oil, along with all the waste materials are poured into stainless steel barrels, where only the blossom of unripe oil is collected by hand and transferred to another stainless steel container. This traditional process of olive oil processing is becoming extinct nowadays mainly due to the time demanding process and the low olive oil processing yield (10%-12%).
This unheated, unripe olive oil was considered by ancient olive oil producers as medicine against various diseases, and was therefore limited to personal use. It was difficult to find due to its precious and rare sensory characteristics and high quality. It was given various names depending on the region of Greece that was produced. In Crete they named it αιθέρι, while in the Peloponnese they named it ανθέλαιο or πρωτέλαιο. All local names described its uniqueness, as it was the best part of olive oil that could be consumed. Since ancient times, scientific analysis has also confirmed that cold extraction methods result in increased polyphenol levels in the finished oil.
There are still a few producers selling koroneiki olive oil made with traditional processing equipment and methods, but many companies are modernizing. Only a handful of people are involved in maintaining these machines in Greece since this process was abandoned in the late 1970s. There are about eight traditional olive oil processing mills in Greece at the moment; however, all of them are modernized to a certain extent. The craft of traditionally processing olive oil and the typical millstones are an integral part of Greek cultural heritage that should not be left to become extinct, especially since today’s technology allows for the modernization of this equipment and process.”