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Best olive oil worldwide 2020

Best Olive Oil Worldwide 2020 – Greece in World Olive Oil Production and Export

Updated December 2020 to remain up to date and accurate.

Without a doubt, it’s not a secret that Greek olive oil is recognized as the best olive oil worldwide 2020. Or at least Greek regions producing olive oil are considered harvesting one of the best olives worldwide.

Another one of the most interesting facts is that Greeks eat more olive oil in Greece than any other nation in the world.  Also, Greeks take the 3rd place among olive oil producers worldwide.

Important to point out, that around 80% of Greek Olive Oil production is an Extra Virgin.  It is considerably higher than Italy which is approximately 67 % and Spain which is around 34 %.

It should be noted, the Greek Koroneiki olive variety, the most commonly used for olive oil, is robust and full of flavor. Koroneiki olives were traditionally cultivated in the Peloponnese region in Greece for more than 10 centuries.

On the whole, Greeks’ historical, cultural, and economical attachment with olive trees and olive oil is deeper than any other nation.  So let’s go through the useful facts to imagine the extent of Greek olive oil production & export.

2020 Olive Oil Production Estimates in Europe

With reference to the Olive Oil Times portal news, the worldwide production for 2020 will be 3.4 percent lower than last year, a drop mostly due to the reduced yield in several Mediterranean countries.

With current estimates suggesting production of around 3.11 million tons of olive oil and 3.14 million tons expected to be consumed – that means worldwide olive oil production expected to be lower than consumption in 2020.

  1. Spain – 1.6 – 1.7 million tons
  2. Italy – 270k tons
  3. Greece – 240k tons
  4. Portugal – 120k tons
  5. France – 6k tons
best olive oil worldwide 2019
Infographic about Greek olive oil market and key statistics

PDO Kalamata is the Best Olive Oil Worldwide 2020 – what is PDO Olive Oil?

The sunniest region of Kalamata is located in Messinia at Southern Peloponnese, in Greece. Along with it, Kalamata is classified PDO – Protected Designation of Origin – by the European Union (EU) regulation (EC) No 510/2006.

According to the EU regulations, the PDO products must be grown and produced in a specific region using traditional production methods. It’s all about unique quality and special characteristics, linked to the climate, the nature of the soil and local know-how.

kalamata olive groves sm
Kalamata olive oil has a unique quality and special characteristics, linked to the climate, the nature of the soil and local know-how

As much as EU PDO symbol guarantees the superior quality and integrity of the product, the Kalamata region guarantees the best extra virgin olive oil in the world 2020. Where PDO label is by definition area-specific and the special microclimatic conditions that dominate the region and the local Greeks’ treatment of trees enable them to produce olives of the best quality.

Kalamata olive oil is produced from the small fresh, green “Koroneiki” olives with thick skin and flesh ration which contributes to the aroma, high antioxidant content and green color. As a result, the olive oil produced from Koroneiki olives has a very fruity, mild and balanced flavor. Only the original Greek climate and terroir can bear genuine Koroneiki Kalamata olive fruit.

Koroneiki olives ready to be harvested at Oliviada fields
Koroneiki olives ripened and ready for a harvest (image taken in Oliviada groves on December 2020)

Oliviada Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of the best PDO Kalamata Olive Oils in 2020

Oliviada is a Greek family-run farm with a tradition in this field for several generations. Oliviada premium olive oil is monovarietal olive oil made from Koroneiki olives grown in Kalamata, the sunniest Peloponnese region in Greece. Koroneiki olives are picked by hand and brought to the oil plant in order to cold press olive juice on the same day.

The end product is Oliviada premium extra virgin olive oil – 100% pure, unblended, first cold-pressed olive oil and classified PDO Kalamata olive oil. Acidity is 0.26% in 2020 which confirms the premium extra virgin olive oil quality. 

Kalamata EVOO Greece
Above: Oliviada premium olive oil from Kalamata, Greece standard packaging

The high-quality Greek Kalamata extra virgin olive oil is produced from hand-picked green ‘Koroneiki’ olives using a cold-pressed olive oil extraction process in low temperatures. Consequently, the Oliviada premium extra virgin olive oil has a rich delicate aroma of fruits, with a well-balanced fruity flavor and a golden-green color.

Kalamata olive oil Oliviada
Above: Oliviada premium quality olive oil is an unfiltered golden color

Oliviada olive oil specifics

Oliviada olive oil is a beautiful intense limpid golden yellow color with delicate green hues. Its aroma is ample and rotund, rich in fruity hints of medium ripe tomato, white apple, and banana, together with aromatic notes of basil, mint, and parsley. Its taste is complex and vegetal, with a flavor of lettuce, celery, and chicory. Bitterness is distinct and pungency is present and harmonic.

It’s distinctive taste allows the oil to be used in countless meals to complement its flavor. Nutritious and rich even when cooked, Oliviada premium extra virgin olive oil brings a delicious taste to your plate. Also, it is perfect as a marinade base or a salad dressing oil. Oliviada olive oil versatility is mainly due to low levels of acidity which also means that it is a much lighter dressing for salads and is much more subtle overall.

Oliviada olive oil would be ideal on brochette with tomatoes, seafood appetizers, faro salads, marinated gilthead, roast potatoes, legume puree or soups, risotto with artichokes, mussels au gratin, salmon tartar, stewed cuttlefish, baked poultry or lamb, mozzarella cheese.

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Greek Regions producing one of the Best Olive Oil Worldwide 2019 / 2020

Due to the growing popularity of Protected Designation of Origin oils (short name PDO), there are now 17 PDO regions in Greece. Greece has hundreds of olive varieties and types, usually named after the areas in which they are grown. Every region’s fruit is affected by the geomorphology of its location and produces olive oil with distinct characteristics.

There are more than 120 million olive trees that grow mainly on hilly land with the most of olive trees growing in the Peloponnese areas: Messinia and Ilia, in island Crete: Iraklion and Chania and Corfu in the Ionian Islands.

Greece region olive oil variety
Above: Top 3 Greek regions producing olive oil where Kalamata olive oil (1) is one of the best olive oil worldwide 2020

1. Peloponnese – Messinia (KALAMATA) & Ilia

The beautiful Peloponnese mountainous region is the best known for its extra virgin olive oil.  Over Mount Taigetos, the area of Lakonia with its capital of Sparta offers 3 distinctive types of PDO oils.

Here the variety of Koroneiki olives is mixed with Athinolia olives giving the lighter oil with more citrus and nutty tones. The eastern Peloponnese area of Lygourio and Kranidi produces sweeter oils due to the dominant presence of the Manaki olives variety.

olive tree groves in kalamata 1
Kalamata is known as a land of olive trees and olive oil (image is taken in Oliviada groves on December 2020 )

Messinia – Kalamata

Ancient Greek tragedian Euripides called Messinia “the land of the good fruit” for its natural beauty and its fertile rich earth. Messinia, the land of the Olive Tree and of the Olive Oil, yields the world-famous Kalamata olives and produces Kalamata olive oil.

This olive oil is 100% pure and natural fruit juice of the highest quality and of unique nutritional value. For this reason, Kalamata olive oil has been ranked in the category of Extra Virgin Olive Oil after a series of chemical analyses.

The sacred olive tree has been cultivated in Messinia since the 12th century BC. Archaeological excavations in the palace of Nestor, the ancient king of Messinia, have brought to light evidence that shows the massive importance of the juice of the olive tree for the society of the time.

All of Messinia’s land is an enormous olive grove. It grows approximately 15 million olive trees covering almost 29% of Messinia and 80% of its cultivated land. Messinia produces between 36,000 and 67,000 metric tons of olive oil per year. This is two to four times as much as the USA produces.

Favorable climate, all year round sunshine allows each grower to take loving care of each olive tree. And to pick the olive fruit when it is mature enough yet not too mature with the superior quality and delicious taste.

The majority of farms and olive presses are managed by local Greeks who have a deep knowledge of olive oil production. And keeps secrets shared from one generation to another which leads to the creation of superior olive oil.

2. Crete – Iraklion & Chania

The ancient land of Crete island is home to 30 million olive trees. The Cretans make full use of the olive fruit and have long agriculture history since 3500 BC during the early Minoan period. Even the Minoan palace of Knossos has a historic olive press room.

Crete island is all about the olive grove and knowledge in olive oil. The massiveness of the island groves led naturally to the instant registration of 9 PDO regions for one island. The Koroneiki olive variety dominates here. But other local varieties such as Tsounati, Throumbalia, and Hondrolia are found as well, which account for the discrete flavor of each individual region.

Crete olive oil is up to 90% extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and is very well known among olive oil lovers. Today the Cretans still eat far more olive oil than any other people in the world with a prove that Cretans are the healthiest and longest-living people.

3. The Ionian Islands – Corfu

Corfu is Greece’s northernmost Ionian island is known worldwide for its top-quality olive oil. There are over 4 million olive trees on the island which cover the greater part of the island. Some of which are 500 years old. It was Venetians who imposed the single crop, offering a substantial amount of money for the planting of olive samplings. Over the four hundred years of the Venetians’ presence, the Corfiots planted and cultivated olive trees, replacing the old trees with new vigorous olive groves that flourished in Corfu’s lush climate. Because of Venetian rule to enforce paid planting olive trees, Corfu olive oil production prospered and became famous all over Greece. 

It is considerably greater rainfall compared to the rest of Greece. Thus provides the ideal micro-climate for the demanding Lianolia Olive brought in by the Venetians. The Lianolia olive variety, in particular, likes a high amount of ground and atmospheric moisture in the Corfu area. Such environmental conditions help to harvest its rich foliage and premium quality olives.

Interested to learn more about Greek olives, read our article on Greek olive varieties for olive oil.

Greece Olive Oil Exports

The majority of olive oil production Greece exports mainly to the European Union (EU) countries. Italy dominates in terms of olive oil exports from Greece, which receives about 75% of total exports. Further olives grown in the Peloponnese region bring 35% of Greek olive oil production, as well as in Crete, the Aegean Islands and the Ionian Islands.

Most importantly, about half of the annual Greek Olive Oil production is exported. But only some 5% of this reflects the origin of the bottled product.

Greek Kalamata olive oil wholesale
Oliviada is one of the premium quality olive oil brands in Greece

How to Identify Best Olive Oil Brands When Buying?

I can give you the main tips on how to choose the best quality olive oil in 2020 among so many options in the olive oil market worldwide:

1. Choose a local small olive oil producer (family business)

Buy from local and artisanal olive oil makers who produce olive oil in a small batch to minimize the downsides of large-scale producers (i.e. blended olive oil, old or poor-quality olives, additives like canola oil, pesticides, etc.). It’s always recommended buying a product from the source (avoiding middlemen or large scale producers). Cause the small businesses’ main focus is on the quality and purity of olive oil and sustainability in production.

The Greek family business production is considered one of the best olive oil worldwide in 2020 and always keeps the highest quality. They use this product not by themselves but share with big family and friends.

2. If you choose a large scale producer, buy from a trustworthy source

Always look for their product certification, if olive oils with the Non-GMO Project and/or Certified Organic label. This is how you will increase chances that the raw materials will be of a higher quality and that you buy a good quality olive oil.

3. Check the bottle labeling

The olive oil labeled EVOO – Extra virgin Olive Oil – means the highest grade olive oil.

4. Look at the harvest date

It should be the latest harvest Olive Oil or with listed Expiration Date.

5. Examine the bottle type

The best olive oil worldwide is always bottled in dark-colored UV protected glass.  Consequently, the right glass bottle keeps light and chemicals found in plastic out of your oil. So never buy olive oil in plastic full of BPAs. 

For more information, check out our guide on olive oil brands to trust and how to choose the good olive oil.

Conclusion on Best Olive Oils Worldwide 2020

Summarising all the above, PDO Kalamata olive oil is one of the best olive oils worldwide in 2019 / 2020. As its title suggests, it is a Protected Destination of Origin olive oil, and this origin contributes to its popularity amongst local Greeks, and now the rest of the world.

If you want to give a great Greek taste to your meal, you should use one of the most popular PDO Kalamata olive oil. It is pure high quality rich in nutrients Greek olive oil.

Comparing to other olive oils taste, PDO Kalamata olive oil has a full fruitiness flavor, with an aroma of green fruit, light bitterness, and light to medium pungency. As a result, PDO  Kalamata is a perfect addition to any meal, whether it is a meat or pasta dish or a simple salad.

Overall, there are many scientifically proven health benefits in PDO Kalamata olive oil. And the regular consumption of it may improve your own health and wellbeing!

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