G&I Custom Luxury Travel wanted to experience the hidden gems of Mani (which is based in the Peloponnese, approximately 200 km from Athens) and the secrets behind producing Greek authentic Olive Oil.
Greece during winter months: November – January / Concept: Mani Greece: Olive Oil production
G&I Custom Luxury Travel (http://greeceanditaly.com) wanted to experience the hidden gems of Mani and the secrets behind producing Greek authentic Olive Oil.
Greece, as a holiday destination for most travelers - is generally perceived as more attractive during its summer months: May – September, enabling visitors to take advantage of the strong Mediterranean sun while bathing in the deep blue waters of the Aegean. Our team wanted to take this opportunity in order to give you all a sneak preview into the many attractions and wonders its winter months have to offer; most notably the region of Mani.
Athens is not far from this magical place called Mani (is based in the Peloponnese, approximately 200 km from Athens). Driving time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. The route there is beautiful, with incredibly picturesque scenery along open and safe roads. Mani is also known by its medieval name Maina or Maini and is both a geographical and cultural center in Greece. Our final destination was Melissa, Mani at Laconia Region.
Olive oil production
The olive trees boasts two main prizes—the olive itself (called the table olive) and the precious oil pressed from the fruit's flesh. In fact, a third prize is the tree itself which has a twisted trunk full of character, grey-green leaves, and wood which can be used for carving, furniture-making and also as a source of fuel/heat within the homes of most locals. Be warned that despite the fallen fruit looking edible, it isn't. All olives, whether green or black, require processing before they can be eaten.
Our day started very early in the morning being woken up by the sound of the Cockerel or as some of you know them, Roosters. Stepping out on to the balcony (from our very warm cabin) into the blissful cold and breathing in the fresh air whilst being surrounded by the view of the mountains and nature all around, was a truly amazing feeling! Just priceless.
After arriving at the Olive Grove I was introduced to the local harvesters which were specially assigned for this olive grove. They had a head start, as I found them already cutting the olives off the trees. I didn’t want to waste any time, so I jumped in and asked how I could help. I was given a piece of equipment which was called ‘Koupepe’. It is a machine with a metal long neck, which also has a ‘propela’ as a head and turns around in very quick rotation. This enables you to extract the remaining olives (which cannot be reached) off the trees so you collect as many as possible and leave little wastage. An interesting tool I must say. Not at all easy and it is quite a challenge in maintaining a steady hand Once a lunch break was needed, after a lot of cutting, I took a look up and saw where I was.
I really couldn’t have asked for anything more! I was surrounded by high mountains full of green pastille and autumn colors and the air felt so clean and invigorating (quite a difference if you are used to being in a busy city). My eye line also overlooked various streams with fresh mountain water streaming down over rocky chasms, water which we were actually able to drink, given its purification route down through the mountain rock.
Once all the olives had fallen in the Green net, the net was gathered and the olives placed into specific brown harvest bags before being taken to the olive factory to be processed. However, as a must, before the processing starts, it’s essential that the olives are cleaned so that all the stems, leaves, twigs and other debris are removed.
Then the olives are grinded into paste. Followed by ‘malaxing’ the paste and then separating the oil from the vegetable water and solids.
My day till now was amazing! Such a unique and beautiful experience which I was blessed to be part of. This is also what G&I would like to share with our viewers and guests. It goes without saying we ended our day with eating traditional Greek food in a small tavern followed by sipping on a traditional Greek Raki, while being kept cozy and warm by the fire place.
Mani is beautiful and very picturesque. It is exquisite also in the summer, with lots to do and see! However that on our next trip to Mani, so stay tuned...