The Oleocanthal International Society had its inaugural conference for two days in Zakynthos on May 30-31. Experts from USA, Spain and Greece in the fields of research, academia, gastronomy and media came together in order to increase their research efforts and collaboration on the health promoting aspects of phenolic compounds especially oleocanthal found in high phenolic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and olive products.
They Bring their collective experience and knowledge together for a common purpose. To increase research activity through collaboration, disseminate their findings through gastronomy and the media. through their own website and organizing special events, producing videos and podcasts. Their aim is to increase awareness of the health benefits of this amazing phenolic compound called Oleocanthal found in quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and health benefits derived from olive products.
The founding members were some of the leading figures in olive oil reseach and innovation.
Jose Antonio Amerigo the retired physician from Spain is the man credited with the idea of starting the Oleocanthal Intenational Society. His has an intense interest in ways to prevent disease through the proper use of olive products. He works tirelessly trying to bring together the present members in order to combine their efforts in this regard. Bridging the gap between research, academia, gastronomy and media.
It took a long time to write this article. I agonized over the structure and feel of the story and sought out as many different points of view as I could. In these days of economic crisis and media bashing of the modern Greek spirit I discovered exactly the opposite. A renewed strength and resilience and willingness to make the most out of the least. An ability to expand their knowledge base under difficult circumstances in order to maximize their potential for success. This is their story. A story of a reawakening of the Hellenic spirit of competition and glory. The winner of the Olympics was not given a wreath made of an olive twig by accident; it was by design. This was the first instance of branding and marketing of high quality olive oil and olive products. They sailed the seas trading olive oil and wine across the Mediterranean sea and beyond. The modern day traders travel on planes, trains and buses but they carry their precious legacy with them and they strive to win and win big! There is no second place there is not enough resources for second chances. The time is now for the Hellenic spirit of competition to rise once again. We will not surrender, we will not submit, we will be victorious in taking our precious cargo to the gold olive leaf podium of global success. This is their message these are their stories:
“In conclusion, there is a positive consensus emerging following the NYIOOC, on the value of submitting Greek olive oil brands to organoleptic competitions along with collaborative marketing campaigns. Despite the bleak economic outlook for Greece these days, the future looks bright for those who are prepared to strive for quality. All indicators are pointing to a reawakened competitive spirit in Greece under the canopy of their ancient cultural identity; the olive tree.”
The great Hellenic olive oil Odyssey has commenced. The Hellenic Republic is coming out of a long and protracted loss of direction and disarray. The crippling economic crisis has forced the modern Hellenes to look deeply into their ancient roots for inspiration. The Hellenic Olive oil industry big, small and independents are beginning to dig deep into their innate strength, creativity, and cultural inheritance. They are embarking on the long Odyssey to reclaim their rightful place at the top of the Olive oil marketing leader board. Long ago our ancestors gave us the greatest marketing campaign in the history of olive oil marketing. The crowning of the victorious Olympian with a wreath made out of an olive branch was the crowning glory of their cultural identity. They brought the olive tree and its wisdom where ever they settled.
They are once again taking a leadership role and leading the world in developing scientific methods to measure the healthfulness of olive oil. They are once again travelling abroad and sharing their knowledge and spreading their new found knowledge.
My new article for oliveoiltimes.com An Olive Oil Odyssey at the Winter Fancy Food Show
Greek olive oil at the Winter Fancy Food Show made in impact this year through a seminar called “The Great Olive Oil Odyssey.” The event was organized by SEVITEL, the Greek association of olive oil processors and related industries.
Ms. Filio Myrtsidou one of the presenters is an energetic supporter of Greek olive oil branding who was also one of three female participants in the Routes of the Olive Tree in 2008 — a 52-day, 23,000 km motorcycle journey from ancient Messinia in the Peloponnese along the Silk Road to carry a symbolic “flame of peace” and a 4,000 year-old olive wreath to 14 countries, arriving in China for the 2008 Olympics. http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-business/olive-oil-odyssey-at-winter-fancy-food/46157
Our ancient Hellenic culture gave us the ultimate marketing campaign for olives and olive oil. The crowning of a victorious Olympic athlete with a wreath made from wild olive twigs is the greatest olive oil marketing campaign in the history of advertising. Modern Greek politicians and their olive oil industry friends have taken this legacy of greatness and are selling it off in bulk. They need to show true leadership and use their power and influence to organize and uplift the olive oil sector in Greece and not only their narrow individual or regional interests. Too many times our ancient Hellenic culture is used in their marketing campaigns but not in their actions. They boast about our past Hellenic culture, but those in positions of power fail to exemplify it.
There is an ancient Hellenic maxim taken from one of Aesop’s tales “The Boastful Athlete.” In the fable, a proud athlete makes the claim that in the past he achieved a record-breaking long jump in competition on the island of Rhodes. A bystander challenges him to dispense with the boasting and simply repeat his record-breaking jump on the spot: “Here is Rhodes, lets see you jump here!” (ιδού η ρόδος, ιδού και το πήδημα!)
Corfu is on the map for top quality Premium EVOOs.
“The Governor” EVOO made exclusively from Lianolia varietal contained the highest levels of phenolic compounds ever recorded in Greece. They expected the olive oil to be good, but did not imagine it would be this exceptional:
The type and quantity of Polyphenols in EVOO do matter. I have been following very closely the debate over the implementation of EU 432/2012 here in Greece. The time has arrived where we will be able to choose the type of EVOO not only on how it tastes but also on how it tests for individual phenolic compounds.
Is it a matter of taste? or a matter of test? Now we have both.
The ability to test EVOO for individual phenolic compounds has finally arrived. The EU is leading the world in regulating health claims for EVOO labeling. Unfortunately special interest groups and old world bureaucratic mentality is keeping this regulation from being implemented. My investigation has yielded some interesting facts, which by all reason should put the debate to rest.
The fruit fly and extremely hot weather early in the season has devastated a vast majority of the olive crop this year.
The only Olive trees that were not affected by the olive fruit fly were the Wild olive trees. These wild olive trees grow straight and tall. very few of them survive today. The vast majority have been grafted and turned into the domesticated variety we are all familiar with. After reading reports of the Wild olive tree being used for shipbuilding I went looking for this rare species of Olive tree.
We finally found them and picked the olives and we made what I call Wild Olive Wine in other words: WOW
Welcome to the World of super quality EVOO & Olives!
We can now prove scientifically which is the best EVOO. The best EVOO and most health promoting have extremely high levels of these 2 key phenols; Oleocanthal and Oleacein. We now have a way to measure these 2 health promoting compounds in one test directly. http://bestoliveoil.ca/test-your-evoo/
Adulteration is more wide spread than you can imagine
A couple of years ago I purchased a high priced premium olive oil and soon realized it was adulterated. It tasted oily had no bitterness or peppery flavour and a strange odour. I did some research and found adulteration is more wide spread than most people realize. Even professionals get fooled.
I met with the olive growers in Greece, leading scientists and olive oil distributors and came across the recent discovery for a new method of measuring the healthfulness of EVOO.
Thassos EVOO scores the highest most consistent results
Throuba olive variety EVOO from a couple of olive mills in Thassos Island was recently tested and scored the highest and most consistent results for Oleocanthal and Oleacein.
If the EVOO contains at least one of these 2 compounds in significant amounts i.e. combined value of more than 250mg per kg of EVOO you can be sure it is in the excellent EVOO category. No more guessing and disappointments at the quality EVOO you purchase. Each shipment is tested, sealed and tracked right to your door.
If they contain more than 500mg per kg of combined Oleocanthal and Oleacein they have earned the right to be called super quality EVOOs.
“Let food by thy medicine and let medicine be thy food“
This is the real EVOO the Ancient Hellenic culture valued for its medicinal qualities. This rare type of EVOO is known and revered for its extremely bitter and pungent taste. Drank on its own it will cause you to cough; mixed with wine or balsamic vinegar, the health benefits multiply and the taste becomes more well-rounded and very agreeable to the palate. Ancient Hellenic cooks always served the olive oil mixed with wine or vinegar.
“Research has shown wine and olive oil that contain Red wine and olive oil antioxidants, when consumed together, improve FMD (Flow-Mediated Dilation) and this effect lasts even 2 hours postprandially. These findings render an additional cardio-protective effect of the antioxidants contained in the Mediterranean diet, which is characterized by moderate daily consumption of red wine and regular use of olive oil.”
Thassos Throuba olives have highest amounts of Oleuropein – 1.2 mg per olive fruit made with the dry salt method. Surprisingly they are not very salty to the taste. They have earned the right to be called super quality Olives.
“Oleuropein has been recently found to decrease the total cholesterol and triglyceride levels”
“Oleuropein is a compound that possesses antioxidant and radical scavenging properties (3, 4), and contributes to the prevention of atherosclerosis by inhibiting the oxidation of LDL and by scavenging several species that react with oxygen in the vascular wall.”
Thassos super quality EVOO and Throuba Olives are two “food as medicine” essential ingredients for a health promoting Ancient Hellenic diet and longer life.
Contact me for more info or if you are interested in ordering
The olive tree has a rich history and the health benefits derived from the consumption of its fruit have been well documented over the last 2,500 years. Nevertheless, a great deal of confusion and misinformation about what exactly is the best olive oil remains. Consumers, producers and distributors often contradict each other even on the basic facts.
This journey has taken on a life of its own and is leading me into places that I have never been. I believe this journey has become much more than a simple business venture.
I have also embarked on a project to gather all the scientific studies confirming the health benefits of the ingredients used in Ancient Greek cuisine. I will be publishing all the info I gather into a cookbook, exercise, practical philosophy and lifestyle of the Hellenic period in today’s context. http://hellenic-certified.com/
I believe the search for the best Greek olive oil is also a search for the Hellenic soul. No other culture is so intimately identified with the olive tree as the ancient Hellenic civilization and culture. From the olive branch used as a triumphant crown worn by the victorious Olympic athletes, all the way to the Hippocratic diet and medicinal applications; the olive tree is found at the center of ancient and modern Hellenic society.
At first, I discovered the plight of the Greek independent olive grove farmers who are forced to sell their crop immediately following the harvest in order to pay for the high cost of production.
Although Greek olive oil production consists of 80% extra virgin olive oil and is by far the best quality with acidity levels between .05 and .3% it is mostly exported in bulk for the lowest prices – between 1.60 and 2.50 euros per kilo. The reason for the low prices is mainly due to the lack of government support and effective marketing.
The extra virgin olive oil is sold mostly to the Italian and Spanish companies who then market it under their own recognized brand names. Most olive groves in Greece are small and family owned. The video was shot at the Stamatis Alamaniotis olive grove in Pteleos
The olive trees cling to the sides of mountains and are very labor intensive. Greek olive oil exporters, the co-ops and the government have failed to properly finance and market Greek olive oil by building marketing and distribution networks as the Spanish and Italians have done.
I began to read scientific journals online for evidence to support the health benefit claims made about extra virgin olive oil. My primary interest was to include it in a marketing strategy for promoting Greek extra virgin olive oil. The negative press made it even more imperative to find fast and reliable testing methods that could be used to verify not only the purity but also the many health benefits derived from Greek extra virgin olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is truly a miracle food. Finding the real thing is a Herculean task these days. My goal is to offer the results of my search for the best Extra Virgin Greek olive oils as a guide to enhancing our ability to choose wisely. Our health is our greatest asset.