The original olive tree (olea- European) is Oleastro, and the first discovers, fossil leaves, date back to about a millennium ago. The historian Erodoto (484-425) thought that only in Athens there were olive trees.According the Greek mythology, the goddess Athena planted the first olive tree, which with its fruits would have given to men a wonderful juice. The Greeks considered the olive tree a holy plant (symbol of strength, faith, peace) so who damaged or uprooted it was sent to exile.
The first olive oil cultivations, instead, were found in the south of Caucaso and, according to the historians were, gradually extended to the isles of Rhodes, Cyprus, Crete and then in all the Mediterranean areas.
The finds in Puglia( Torre a mare- Bari- and Fasano- Brindisi) date back to Neolitico (5000 b. C.):these confirm that olives were already in those times a very important food for people living in that region.
The discovers in the South of Italy, representing scenes of harvest, production and sale of the olives, and the finds of cans minted in Messina, Crotone and Taranto representing olives’ leaves and branches, had been very important to reconstruct the history of this tree of a thousand uses.
In fact, as the Greeks, even the Romans learnt to use widely oil for body’s health: men, women, adults and young people, ill and healthy, everyone used it many times during the day.
It was rubbed into the skin before and after the bath, as a cleanser and aintment, made rich with scents extracted by flowers and plants.
Oil was used even for supplying oil lamps; the discover of some oil ships shipwrecked in the Mediterranean Sea confirmed it.
Oil tree is an evergreen one who prefers hill lands, indirect sea climate, arid regions and insensitive dampness.
It is a very long- lived tree who can be cultivated in limestone and clavey lands.
There aren’t oil more or less fat: every kind of oil, in fact, are made of 99% of fat substancies and 1% of other components responsible of the taste and other physiological aspects.
The composition of olive oil makes it a product with such qualities ideal for a healthy diet.
Olive oil, in fact, can make our food taste better and even introduces in our organism substancies(like oleic acid, vitamin E and other phenolic compounds which make it growing well-balanced, protected from the generative illnesses and helps against the ageing processes.
The percentage of free oleic acid determines the grade of oil acidity: in fact on the basis of acidity grades the kinds of oil sold are: extravirgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, olive oil, olio di sansa di oliva.
Puglia, with its 50 and over millions of olive trees, is first in producing olives and oil and for this reason we can say it is the most important region in Italy in the field of olive growing.
The oil produced here is strictly extravirgin(virgin olive oil of impeccable taste whose acidity cannot be larger than I g per 100gr.
The extravirgin oil made of olive from Puglia has different characteristic because of the different kinds of olives it is made of.
The most delicate quality of extravirgin oil, golden-coloured, of a sweet taste with a light itch is ideal for dishes served raw.
The medium type, of a deep golden colour, with a light and a bit herbaceous taste, is good for steamed dishes and salt ones.
The most intense one of a yellow- greenish colour, with a rich fruity flavour and slightly spicy taste,
is good for grills and roasts, the best one for fried food because it doesn’t modify his chemical and physical structure even at high temperature, so it is not harmful for health.