Friday, 16 January 2009

Liquid gold (Χρυσάφι σε ρευστή μορφή)

If yesterday's post left a bad taste in your mouth, this one will drive the former off the scale completely.

Here's how one of the biggest supermarkets in Hania displays bottles and tins of olive oil on sale on the shelves. You can see a wide range of sizes: the small sleek glass bottles are mainly 'gourmet' olive oil on sale mainly for the tourist (this branch is located near the beach), as well as some discerning locals who may want to buy extra-virgin cold-pressed organic olive oil for dressing a salad or horta. They are of course more expensive than the larger containers (made of metal or plastic), which are what people buy when they don't produce their own olive oil or don't have the necessary transportation or storage facilities to buy olive oil straight from the producer or an olive press (which is how most people in Hania procure their supplies of olive oil for household use).

olive oil INKA supermarket

The bottles on the right are non-olive oils (mainly sunflower). Some people prefer them to olive oil for frying, but most people still use only olive oil for everything. In my family alone, we use at least 150ml of olive oil - the only oil we use - in our food daily, used in the following ways: salads and horta, all our main meals, some baking, as a spread on our sandwiches, in our evening snacks, and the grease on our baking tins.

olive oil MAICh

No one can say we aren't trying to do our best to market Cretan liquid gold. This collection of bottled olive oil in variously shaped glass containers that are aesthetically pleasing comes from my work environment. They come mainly from Crete, but there are also some from other parts of Greece and their sales would be aimed mainly at the tourist and souvenir market, as the quantity held in each bottle is quite small - just enough for a day or two in my house (!). Exports are still low; olive oil needs to be seen not as a luxury that comes in special pretty packaging, but as a necessity with practical uses.

And this post is for Paula, who searched out a bottle of olive oil from Hania in her local supermarket in Oregon.

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