olive oil

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olive oil
Italian olive oil 2007.jpg
Raw material plant (noun)

Olive tree ( Olea europaea )


Pulp, seeds


green-brown to golden yellow

Oleic acid 55-83%
Linoleic acid 3–21%
Palmitic acid 7-20%
More fatty acids Palmitoleic acid 0-4%, stearic acid 0-5%
Σ saturated fat 14%
Σ monounsaturated fatty acids 77%
Σ polyunsaturated fatty acids 9%
Other ingredients β-sitosterol , chlorophylls , carotenoids
density 0.914-0.919 g cm -3
viscosity = 84 mm 2 s −1 (20 ° C)
Oxidation stability 7-8.5 h
Melting point −5 to −9 ° C
Smoke point 180-210 ° C (native extra, filtered); 230 ° C (refined)
Iodine number 79-80
Saponification number 185-196
Calorific value 39.3 MJ / kg
Cetane number 37; 49.3
Manufacturing and Consumption
Production worldwide 3,050,390 t (2014)
Most important production countries Spain , Italy , Greece , Tunisia , Morocco , Syria , Turkey
Main consumption countries Italy, Spain, Greece, Libya , Syria, Portugal
use Cooking oil

Olive oil , also called tree oil (from Middle High German boumöl ) and technical language oleum olivarum , is a vegetable oil made from the pulp and core of olives , the fruits of the olive tree , which has been extracted for at least 8000 years from the eastern Mediterranean .



General chemical structure of oils, such as olive oil. R 1 , R 2 and R 3 therein are alkyl radicals (approx. 20%) or alkenyl radicals (approx. 80%) with a mostly uneven number of carbon atoms. Like other oils, olive oil is a mixture of tri esters of glycerine .

Like all vegetable oils, olive oil consists mainly of fatty acids ( triglycerides ) bound to glycerine . In olive oil there are 55–83% oleic acid , 7–20% palmitic acid , 3–21% linoleic acid , 0–5% stearic acid and 0–4% palmitoleic acid . The unsaponifiable proportion is between 0.5 and 1.3%; 0.15–0.37% of this is phytosterols , 0.1–0.7% is squalene and 0–10  ppm is chlorophyll . Furthermore, it contains small amounts of phospholipids , carotinoids , α-tocopherol and about 300  IU of provitamin A . All- natural olive oil contains oleocanthal and oleoropein - two antioxidants that are believed to have a number of health benefits.

Olive oil is not a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids or polyunsaturated fatty acids (an average of 9% polyunsaturated fatty acids).

Aroma components:

Olive oils contain a variety of substances that determine the aroma. These include various aldehydes , terpenes , alcohols and esters . These components can be determined by coupling chromatographic methods with mass spectrometry and headspace analysis . Volatile thiols could also be identified in this way. Olfactory examinations are used in addition. The examination of the aroma components is also used for quality assurance and control.

General properties

The color tones of an olive oil can vary from green-brownish to light yellow, depending on the substances contained in the olives and the state of ripeness. In green olive oil, chlorophyll (with up to 10  ppm ) predominates, in golden yellow carotenes . The color has no influence on the quality of an oil. In the unfiltered state, the oil can also be cloudy. Due to the chlorophylls it contains , olive oil fluoresces red when exposed to UV light.

The oil has a density in the range from 0.914 to 0.919 g / cm³, melts or solidifies at -5 to -9 ° C and is easily soluble in dichloromethane , sparingly soluble in ethanol and not soluble in water.

Unlike most other vegetable oils that are produced by refining , virgin olive oil is a purely natural product. Olive oil is composed of 77% monounsaturated, 9% polyunsaturated and 14% saturated fatty acids. The ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids (P / S quotient) in olive oil is well below the recommended value of 1.0.


Middle East, Greco-Roman Antiquity (from 6000 BC)

Minoan oil mill in the west courtyard of Villa Vathypetro , around 1550 BC Chr.

Even during the last glacial period and its maximum expansion of the ice masses in northern Europe, the wild form of the olive tree was able to persist in the Mediterranean. However, cultivation came much later. At the Israeli Carmel at the Nahal Zehora site , olive pits from around 8000 BC were found. Discovered. In addition, speculations were made for the period around 6000 BC. BC also employed over the area south of the Caucasus and west of Iran . The same applies to the Jordan Valley , where olive production for the Chalcolithic period can be documented at the Tell Ghassual and Abu Hamid sites .

The question of the earliest domestication of the olive tree can be answered on the basis of genetic studies. It can be stated that, despite all climatic changes, three refugia remained for the olive tree, namely the area around Gibraltar , the Aegean Sea and the Middle East including Cyprus . These three wild-type gene pools could have formed the starting point for the domesticated forms. However, today's forms come exclusively from the northern Levant, and they were spread with human migrations in the Mediterranean. In Byblos in what is now Lebanon , documents from around 3000 BC were found. Chr.

The Phoenicians may have contributed to the spread of the fruit to the western Mediterranean, while the Assyrians had no interest in it. According to Pliny the Elder, their olives were considered small but very tasty, but their oil was mostly used as an ointment or for lighting. Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Nabataeans , on the other hand, preferred sesame and castor oil . The modern Arabic word zeitun , as the olive is called in North Africa, also goes back to the oldest Semitic roots and the migrations of the Hebrews , who called the olive zait . The name of a Sicilian variety and the Spanish word aceite also go back to this.

Olive oil was already used in the 6th millennium BC. Stored in Galilee and traded and consumed on a large scale. The earliest specific cultivation of olive trees for the purpose of oil production was for Crete in the time around 3500 BC. In the southern Aegean, however, cultivation came as early as the Neolithic , while it did not come to the northern Aegean until the Bronze Age , probably with the establishment of colonies. In Tilbeşar III B , a 30  hectare settlement from the 3rd millennium BC In Anatolia , olive oil was produced.

Whether the olive pits found near Nola , 25 km east of Naples , which were there between 1880 and 1680 BC. Were spat out as evidence for the oil production is unclear. Using gas chromatographic analyzes on vessel fragments from the Apulian Coppa Nevigata , olive oil could be identified for the 18th century BC. Be proven; Similar findings for the island of Vivara are somewhat more recent . At the Punta di Zambrone site on the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, a short-lived olive culture has been documented for the 21st to 18th centuries, as well as for the 13th and 12th centuries BC. Chr.

Phoenicians and Greeks are likely to have introduced their planting, care and oil extraction techniques in southern Italy. From there the cultivation migrated northwards, at the latest in the seventh century BC. To the Etruscans , as Pliny the Elder reports. The cultivation spread over Liguria around 600 BC. To the Rhone . In Spain, the name oleos santos , which exists alongside aceite , points to Roman origins, but in the south Phoenicians may already have introduced the olive. In Portugal, on the other hand, the dominant butter prevented olive oil from entering for a long time.

Phoenicians brought in the 16th century BC Chr. Olive oil to Cyprus . It was later won on Rhodes and Samos , which Aeschylus called the olive island in Oedipus on Colonos, but also on Delos , in Lycia and in Miletus . Olive growing on the mainland may have appeared much earlier, perhaps as early as the Neolithic .

A trapetum for chopping and
pitting olives ( Pompeii , AD 79)

In Egypt , too , olive trees, which were called tat, were planted early. They may have been brought from Palestine , but Syria and Crete have also been mentioned here. Probably before 2000 BC. Olive oil was known here. Under Ramses III. olive trees have already been planted on a large scale, around 2750 hectares for the sun god Ra . Olive oil was used for ritual purposes in the form of an oiling. As Greek and Roman authors report, however, cultivation was only possible in a few regions of the country, so that Egypt mostly covered its oil needs with imports. The oil has been used since the 16th or 15th century BC. BC also won in Nubia and Ethiopia . In north-west Africa , where an olive oil culture probably existed before the founding of Phoenician cities from around 800 BC. BC, Carthage was the leader. The Phoenicians took over the olive culture of the native Berbers . There promoted from the second century BC The Romans targeted the cultivation in order to supply Rome with oil. In addition, Emperor Trajan settled colonists there with the obligation to plant olive trees.

The oldest written sources are the Codex Hammurapi and Egyptian papyri from around 2300 BC. The oldest written record of the use of olive oil in Greece can be found in Homer , but it is not yet recorded there as a food.

In addition to being used in the kitchen, olive oil was also used in soaps , mixed with honey as a cosmetic and for lighting purposes . Olive oil was also an important commodity, its stages of production in the sixth century BC. Could be in different hands. Thales of Miletus (around 624 to 546 BC) rented all the olive presses on Chios and in Miletus in order to lend them expensively at harvest time, which was obviously an isolated case at that time.

The Romans imported the olive oil, which was considered to be of very high quality, from Attica . In addition to viticulture, the extraction of olive oil showed a high degree of mechanization. In Attica, 20 kg of olives were harvested from each tree, from which three liters of oil were obtained. However, there were also limits to the mechanization, because the kernels were not allowed to be broken during the pressing process, as this would have reduced the quality of the oil.

In ancient Greece and Rome, olive oil was used to consecrate the altars, which were doused with olive oil. Consecrated olive oil (partly mixed with balsam , see chrism ) is still used in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches for baptism , confirmation , ordination , but also for anointing the sick and for burials . At the same time, olive oil also played a role in folk medicine in rural Greece, on the one hand as a universal therapeutic agent, on the other hand as a tea (together with the leaves of the tree) against diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Pliny the Elder ( Naturalis Historia XXIII, 79) carefully distinguished olive oil as a medicinal product, which had to be “tenue, odoratum quodque non mordeat”, as opposed to the one he chose for the dishes.

In Italy, the oil from Venafrum in the western Samnium in what is now the Molise region was considered the best. In contrast, Istria tended to provide oils that were used for lighting and massage. Heron of Alexandria described the first agricultural machines, such as the screw press and the galeagra , which were a tall latticework made of building blocks so that the juice could drain off easily. The most common form of press, however, was the lever press, in which pressure was exerted via a lever by hanging weights on the end of it, or people exerting pressure with their own weight. Cooking oil was salted for preservation and stored in the lekythos , an oil can.

Third century olive press, Archaeological Museum, Aquileia

During the imperial era , olive oil was extracted on an industrial scale as far as the most distant provinces of the empire, such as the north-east of Jordan , as demonstrated by an oil mill at Tell Es-Sukhnah that was excavated from 2009 to 2013 . Emperor Septimius Severus is said to have donated free oil to the Romans, this is certain for Aurelian . Even Cato (Agr. 22.3), noted that one liter of olive oil at least about 1.5  sestertii cost. Around 55,000 amphorae with olive oil reached the capital on average every year.

The most important group of finds are the amphorae temple from Monte Testaccio . This one kilometer wide and 30 meter high mountain contained 700,000 m³ of shards from the imperial era. Using the fragments of 25 million amphorae, it could be shown that the oil came mainly from Spain until the third century and later from North Africa. Four fifths of the shards came from the Baetica , where around 100 production facilities were discovered which produced the large amphorae weighing around 30 kg and holding 70 liters of olive oil (Dressel 20 type). The remaining 20% ​​came from Tripolitania and Byzacena .

The oil could only be sold at the oil tables , which in turn could only be inherited. If there was no heir, the table could be sold for a maximum of 20  folles . There was a separate fund, the arca olearia et frumentaria, for the probably considerable income . Under Constantine I , there were 2,300 oil dispensers in Rome.

Early middle ages

With the end of the Western Roman Empire , the sharp decline in long-distance trade in the fifth century and, above all, the decline in population, olive oil production in the northern Mediterranean also declined dramatically. In the southern Mediterranean, which was conquered by Arabs in the second and third third of the seventh century , this collapse did not occur. This industry was considered so important that during the period when Sicily was Arab (around 827 to 1091), production there was banned.

The chrism, a mixture of balsam and olive oil that was supposed to strengthen the confirmant , was said to have magical powers, which is why it was drunk or used for rubbed in. Bishop Reinbern von Kolberg († 1013–1015) had stones anointed with chrism thrown into the Baltic Sea to cleanse it of demons, which Thietmar von Merseburg reported approvingly.

Northern Europe, long-distance trade, re-expansion

Production process of olive oil, engraving by Giovanni Stradano , made between 1587 and 1589

Northern Europe took advantage as opposed to the south to the High Middle Ages fats instead of oils, though still in the Danube region was used often in the kitchen of the 5th century olive oil. It was only used in the liturgical area; in addition, the oil lamps in services could only be lit with olive oil. Hildegard von Bingen recommended the use of pieces of bark and leaves against gout , she considered the cold-pressed oil from unripe olives to be the oil of the highest quality (oleum omphacinum), but she was of the opinion that the consumption of the oil led to nausea. Konrad von Megenberg recommended the oil against wounds and ulcers.

Because of these ideas and medicinal uses, Genoese brought olive oil from Liguria, Lazio , Tuscany and Campania to Bruges , Paris and London , while Venetians brought it from Apulia and the Marche , but also from Dalmatia , Istria and Greece to Northern Europe. On the one hand, these imports made it possible to use tasty oil during Lent , when animal fats were banned, a period that lasted around 100 days per year, and on the other hand, more and more Italian traders came to the north, who largely retained their eating habits. Therefore, olive oil was not only used by the monasteries and the court in the north, but also by the regulations of the church year and by the intensification of trade contacts. The fine olive oil from Italy, southern France and Spain came in large, oblong-pointed barrels, the pipen , or in stone jars .

From the textbook of Giovanni Presta (1720–1797): Degli ulivi delle ulive, e della maniera di cavar l'olio , Stamperia Reale, Naples 1794

The consumption of olive oil increased significantly in the 18th century, travelers from Central Europe praised the quality of the Italian oil in particular in the 19th century. But in 1915/17, during the First World War , the export of Italian oil fell from 41,270 to 10,237 t in order to recover after the war. But the quantities soon fell again. Italy exported 22,500 t in 1925, but only 9700 t in 1926, and even 9,100 t in 1927, with a further downward trend. At that time Spain was already delivering half of the world's harvest, but then prices there began to fall due to overproduction .

World market

With Spanish colonialism, the olive also reached Latin America . It reached Argentina in 1556, Peru in 1560 , but only in 1697 Mexico . Franciscans brought them to California in 1769 .

Advertisement for Kalamata olive oil soap, circa 1900

In the second half of the 20th century, oil consumption increased in Northern Europe , among others by Italian guest workers . However, there it was in competition with sunflower , thistle or rapeseed oil and at times could only be obtained from pharmacies. From 2003 to 2007, German imports rose by 42.6%. In 2009/2010 around 50,000 tonnes were imported from Italy (70%), Spain (12.2%) and Greece (10.2%), with Italian dealers often importing Spanish brands. Correspondingly, the import of Spanish oils rose by 79.5%, and the Spanish market leader Grupo SOS / Carbonell bought some suppliers in Germany. Russia got 68% of its oil from Spain, India 58%, China 36% and Brazil 25%. Italy imported 350,000 t of Spanish olive oil, France 70,117, Portugal 69,968, Great Britain 27,215 and Australia 24,585 t.

In 2007 Italy imported almost as much olive oil as it produced itself, namely 603,000 t, of which 325,000 t went to other countries. But now Spanish wholesalers are buying up Italian companies. In 2008, Bertolli , which had previously been part of Unilever , was bought by Grupo SOS (renamed deOleo in 2011 ) for 630 million euros. The brands Bertolli (supplied by Rewe ), Dante , Maya , Sasso , Carapelli and San Giorgio are attached to it . A second process now affects the industry in addition to the concentration and the emergence of supranational corporations. In 2009 the Dante brand was bought back by the Italian olive oil producer Oleifici Mataluni , the second largest producer.

Influence of producers, market division by corporations

Since the 1990s at the latest, producers have increasingly lost their influence on the determination of the value of their work. Large buyers or traders determine the price through their market position, mastery of the transport routes and, above all, through the formation of strategic storage reserves and the corresponding distribution of goods. Strategic storage reserves make it possible to put producers under countercyclical price pressure. Up to now this has been difficult because olive oils are unsuitable for storage for several years due to their natural aging. A good harvest resulted in falling prices, a poor one for rising prices.

In order to have dominant quantities at their disposal, Italian traders bought Tunisian, Turkish or Greek oil in large quantities and transferred it illegally so that it could later be sold as "Italian", which means that it was also permitted within the EU. Olitalia takes a different approach , which suggests an Italian origin in the name, but in the small print you can find that it is an unspecified mixture of oils from different EU countries. This creates uniform, uniform varieties across variety borders and countries, as has been the case with coffee for a long time.

However, this is only one way to achieve standardization of goods at the expense of producers and at the same time to find a substitute for mass storage. The scandals and the market strength of the dealers have already caused prices to drop significantly. While olive growers in Puglia achieved up to EUR 4.50 for a kilogram of virgin ( natural ) olive oil in 2008 , the price fell to EUR 2.70 by 2011, and in Greece from EUR 3.50 to EUR 2.05. With this, the market begins to split into a large segment dominated by corporations and a small segment determined by numerous small companies. The pressure on prices leads to manual labor being restricted or wages falling. This in turn sets in motion an increasing rural exodus.

For a long time Tunisia was hardly an olive oil exporter, even if many southern European oils have long been mixed with Tunisian ones, which are obtained from over 65 million trees on 1.7 million hectares of cultivated land using 1500 olive mills. 85 percent of Tunisian olive plantations are cultivated in the traditional way, making Tunisia the largest supplier of organic oils, which in 2009 was already grown on 336,000 hectares. But only 57,000 t can be imported into the EU duty-free.

Plant pandemic caused by Xylella fastidiosa , subsp. pauca (since 2013)

Old olive tree in Apulia

A subspecies of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa , also called fire bacteria , which clogs the waterways of the olive trees, triggers the disease known in America as Pierce's disease since 1892, which in Italy is called CoDiRO (Complesso del Disseccamento Rapido dell'Olivo). It is considered to be “one of the most dangerous plant diseases” and even a “new global threat”, as it causes the trees to dry out quickly by clogging the water pipes, which initially leads to “leaf burn”. But it has a long incubation period of up to ten months.

A distinction is made between five subspecies, only the pauca subspecies is fatal for olive trees. Olive oil production has since collapsed in a number of areas. The said subspecies was first registered in Europe in October 2013, namely in Gallipoli in Apulia . In the province of Lecce alone, over a million olive trees fell ill by 2016. The bacterium was also found in the provinces of Taranto and Brindisi , since 2020 also Bari, and in Corsica (July 2015), then in southern France, in August 2016 in Switzerland, in November in Mallorca , in February 2017 in Menorca . After the bacterium had also been detected in southern Spain, the FAO also took preventive measures in Morocco . In 2018, the bacterium reached Belgium , the Netherlands , and cases also occurred in Saxony . In 2019, cases were registered in northeastern Brazil for the first time.

For a long time it was assumed that the subspecies was introduced into coffee plants from Costa Rica . In 2019, genetic evidence was obtained that the transfer to Europe was through plant trade from California. The bacterium arrived there from the southeastern United States, where most of the subspecies exist.

It uses insects as a vehicle, like the leafhopper in Apulia. Studies have shown that some varieties such as Coratina are less susceptible than Cellina di Nardò, for example . Breeding new varieties could also be a way out, because there is no cure for Xylella fastidiosa . The European Commission therefore ordered the felling of diseased trees and surrounding stands and prohibited the export and import of the plants; For the first time, however, in September 2017 on Mallorca it allowed the mere "containment", so only the infested trees have to be felled, no longer all within a radius of 100 m. At the beginning of 2017, 10 million trees in the provinces of Lecce, Taranto and Brindisi were considered to be infested, and the economic damage exceeded one billion euros. New plantings in the Salentino were prohibited for three years , a provision that is to be repealed for resistant varieties such as Leccino , and the same applies to Coratina .

In 2018, the European Food Safety Authority published a list of 563 plant species that acted as hosts for Xylella; in May 2020 the list already comprised 595 species. In 2018, the European Commission sued Italy for poor implementation of protective measures. Laura Spinney believes, “In Italy, where families for generations have planted an olive tree every time a child is born, olive trees hold deep emotional meaning. The EU Commission had not allowed the owners of the olive trees to participate in its deliberations, and the owners rejected the scientific arguments put forward by the EU Commission. ”On the other hand, large farms legally acquired enormous amounts of new olive trees from infection areas in Spain, Chile or Peru. The role of those involved in decision-making processes has only recently been investigated, especially since purely epidemiological approaches have remained without resounding success. Scientists as well as politicians, affected landowners and social movements were examined from the perspective of a sociology of knowledge, scientific knowledge and also ignorance. In this way, a “360 ° perspective” - with a view to the previous reduction to politics and science, excluding the rest of society - is to be achieved, also in order to develop more far-reaching concepts for understanding the existing knowledge.

Italian olive oil prices increased by 21% in 2016 compared to 2014, while sales decreased by 18%. Up to 40% of Italian olive oil is produced in the region. In February 2019, the decreto centinaio was passed, which provides for the cutting down of all infested trees. At that time there were 491 oil mills in Salento, 251 of them in the province of Lecce, 143 in Brindisi and 97 in Taranto. In 2018, Italy's olive oil production was only 185,000 t, which means that the domestic market can only be partially covered. As early as January 2019, prices rose by an average of 31%. Harvests in Greece and Portugal were also 35 and 20% lower in 2018. In contrast, the harvest in Spain rose to 1.8 million tons. A world map of distribution created in 2019 shows that Xylella is not only represented in all growing areas, but also in the most endangered areas. The bacterium is considered to be one of the best-researched worldwide and at the same time a global threat. In Italy it is mandatory to control the meadow-foam cicada ( sputacchina ) recognized as a carrier animal ( vector ) in all green areas including private gardens , in the larval stage in March / April. In June 2020 the EU reduced the minimum distance to infested trees from 100 to 50 m. In addition, varieties that are known to be resistant can be planted in sloping areas. The carrier animal can be combated biologically by the small wasp species Ooctonus vulgatus , which lays its eggs in the eggs of the meadow-foam cicada.

Manufacturing methods

Olive harvest

An olive tree bears up to 300 kg of olives , depending on physiological conditions ( alternation ), weather, water supply , age and size. The long-term average yields between 20 and 30 kg of olives. For the production of olive oil, five kilograms of olives make up to one liter of oil.

The harvest season begins when the olives change color from green to red-purple tones. If the fruits are harvested at a later point in time, the amount of the yield that can be achieved increases. The quality of the oil is significantly influenced by the time of harvest.

A basic distinction is made between manual and mechanized harvesting. The manual harvest is very time-consuming and labor-intensive and thus represents a significant cost factor in the production of an olive oil. With this traditional method, nets are spread out under the trees and the olives are separated from the branches by gently beating the sticks, using combs, etc. Picking by hand is even more complex, which is mainly practiced by small businesses that do not damage the grapes and want to carefully select them in order to produce very high-quality oils. The mechanized harvest is done by vibrating machines, which can only be used in olive groves that are suitable for this use due to their topographical location, tree density and tree pruning. Harvesting and processing should take place on the same day if possible, a time difference of four hours is considered optimal.

In the oil mill, the olives are washed, crushed together with the core and finally the juice is extracted from the fruits by pressing or centrifugation. The extraction of olive oil can take place in batch operation (traditional process) or in continuous operation (modern process). The latter is becoming more and more popular in Europe for reasons of economy and quality.

The remaining oil can be extracted from the press residue ( pomace ) from the press or centrifuge using chemical methods. In order to make this marc oil marketable, it is " rectified " and mixed with virgin olive oil. The sales name for this product is olive pomace oil (see table in the Quality section ).

Batch operation (traditional process)


The olives are distributed on the floor of the oil mill, where they are crushed by motorized, conical rollers. The duration of the grinding process depends on the number of olives in a batch. Traditionally, large millstones ( pan mill ) are used to grind, which means that the material to be pressed is hardly heated. The mass produced in this way is layered between oil press baskets (mats), which are stored on top of each other and then pressed. This process produces a liquid that consists of a mixture of oil and water. This is left to rest until the oil and water phases have separated into two layers.

Dripping oil

If the olive paste is applied to mats and these are piled up in towers, the first oil is squeezed out by the weight of the piled up mats. This oil is called drip oil and in Spanish it is called Flor de Aceite ('flower of oil'). This is not a protected quality classification, but a traditional procedure that has the reputation of producing a particularly valuable oil through the comparatively low mechanical impact. However, the manufacturing process of drip oil does not meet the requirements of modern olive oil production. The long oxygen contact of the olive mash, which this process causes - in contrast to continuous production in a closed system - is not beneficial for the quality of the end product.

Continuous operation (modern process)

Washing the olives (on Thasos )
Separation of olive oil (on Thasos)

In the continuous process, the olives go through the following steps: First, foreign bodies, especially leaves, are removed and the fruits are then washed in a water bath. The olives are then crushed in a hammer mill, grinder or cutting unit. The resulting pulpy mass is then stirred in a kneader so that the fine oil droplets distributed in it join together. Finally, the solids, the aqueous phase and the oil are separated from one another via a centrifuge (decanter). For better extraction, water is often added to the pulp. In the production of high-quality olive oils, this addition is avoided as far as possible, especially since modern decanters work largely without the addition of water.

The freshly pressed oil contains all sediment particles (suspended solids) and is either bottled immediately and then referred to as "unfiltered" or "unfiltered" oil or stored over a period of several weeks to allow the suspended solids contained can settle and then decanted and bottled. Both processes do not correspond to the state of the art and are unsuitable for the highest quality demands. The trub substances contained in the freshly pressed oil damage the oil so that it loses quality. Only the filtering that takes place immediately after pressing ensures high quality over a longer period of time.

Manufacturing methods and quality

The manufacturing method is an essential factor for the quality of the end product. The EC regulation no. 1513/2001 defines virgin olive oil as "oils that have been obtained from the fruit of the olive tree exclusively by mechanical or other physical processes under conditions that do not lead to deterioration of the oil." The aim is to use the olive oil as the juice of the olive as possible to be preserved in its natural state and not to be falsified or negatively influenced by the manufacturing method.

The oil from the olive actually serves the purpose of nourishing the new plant emerging from the core. Since plants cannot absorb the water-insoluble oil, it has to be naturally decomposed before the new seedling can emerge. This process begins when the fruit is fully ripe through enzymatic processes that are greatly accelerated by contact with oxygen. The optimal harvest time - characterized by low enzymatic activity and low sugar content within the fruit - can be determined by chemical analysis. To put it simply, it is assumed that at this time the olives change their color from green to darker tones. For the production of high quality oils, it is a necessary prerequisite to process healthy fruits in an optimal state of ripeness.

The temperature during the production process is another quality-determining factor. Temperature control is necessary for the extraction of the oil. The cooler the temperature, the more oil remains in the oil pomace. The yield drops noticeably below 20 ° C, but if the olive mash is heated too much (over 32 ° C), the oil thus obtained loses its organoleptic qualities. Olive oil that is declared as cold-pressed or cold-extracted must not be warmer than 27 ° C during production. The modern production method offers numerous advantages to maintain the quality of an olive oil during production:

  • The entire process can be temperature controlled in a modern mill.
  • Nowadays, olives are ideally chopped up by cutting up the fruit. By grinding with traditional millstones, it is hardly possible to control the grinding time and thus control the oxygen exposure.
  • An important production step is the kneading of the olive pulp in order to bring together the oil droplets that are finely distributed in it. The pulp is also kneaded by grinding in traditional oil mills. This important process cannot be adequately controlled in terms of speed, oxygen contact and temperature.
  • The purpose of layering the olive mash on mats is to enlarge the surface of the pressed material in order to make it easier for the oil to escape. This increased surface also leads to increased, uncontrolled oxygen contact. Modern agitators work under vacuum or a protective gas atmosphere. The traditional press mats also cause hygienic problems that can set bacterial or enzymatic processes in motion.
  • Centrifugation and subsequent filtering separate the oil from the sediment faster and more reliably than traditional decanting.



The terms Extra Virgin (English), Vierge Extra (French), Extra Vergine (Italian), Virgen Extra (Spanish) or Extra Virgem (Portuguese) correspond to the German extra virgin olive oil and are a quality label for olive oil.

In Europe, olive oil is divided into quality classes. The European regulation 1234/2007 distinguishes eight categories for olive oil (updated by EU regulation 61/2011). These define the quality designations under which olive oil may be sold.

With Regulation 61/2011 (amending Regulation (EEC) 2568/91 on the characteristics of olive oils and olive-pomace oils), Brussels opened the European market for oil blends of dubious quality: the new EU Regulation 61/2011 authorizes the sale of olive oil under the Quality designation "nativ extra" (extra virgin), which have a maximum content of alkyl esters of 150 mg / kg. The latter are chemical compounds that are formed by the esterification of free fatty acids with low molecular weight alcohols and are mainly found in inferior products due to faulty manufacturing techniques or poor fruit quality. For comparison: An oil made from undamaged olives that are pressed immediately after harvesting contains a maximum of 10 to 15 mg / kg, in exceptional cases up to 30 mg / kg alkyl ester. However, the alkyl ester value is not mentioned in the information on the contents, making a quality comparison impossible for the consumer. In the past, a distinction was made between the higher quality oil, the "provenance oil", and the "tree oil" among the commercial varieties.

category Product names production method Properties, quality and use
1 extra virgin olive oil Obtained directly from olives exclusively with mechanical processes without the influence of heat (<40 ° C) Acid content ≤ 0.8%, without sensory defects, suitable for consumption.
2 native olive oil Obtained directly from olives exclusively with mechanical processes without the influence of heat (<40 ° C) Acid content ≤ 2%, slight defects, suitable for consumption
3 Lampante oil Acid content> 2%, clearly defective,
must not be given to consumers, but must be refined
4th refined olive oil Acidity ≤ 0.3%, typical taste and odor components of olive oil are missing; may not be given to consumers, but must be processed into "olive oil" (category 5).
5 olive oil Mixtures of refined olive oil (category 4) with virgin olive oil of categories 1 or 2 Acid content ≤ 1%, the mixing ratio is not specified, so that the proportion of virgin olive oil can be 1–99%. The higher the proportion of virgin olive oil, the more intense the taste.
6th raw olive pomace oil Solvents ( hexane ) are used to extract the oil that remains after the first pressing from the pomace (solid residue from pips, peel and pulp residues) that remains after the olives have been pressed / extracted. The oil is not suitable for consumption and must not be given to consumers, but must be processed into "Refined Olive Pomace Oil" (Category 7).
7th refined olive pomace oil made from raw olive pomace oil through refining Acid content ≤ 0.3%, the oil has no taste and must not be given to consumers, but must be processed into "olive pomace oil" (category 8).
8th Olive pomace oil Refined olive pomace oil (category 7) mixed with virgin oil (category 1 or 2) Acid content ≤ 1%, suitable for consumption. The mixing ratio is not prescribed, so that the proportion of virgin olive oil can be 1–99%. The higher the proportion of virgin olive oil, the more intense the taste.

The following oils are available from retailers:

  • extra virgin olive oil (category 1)
  • virgin olive oil (category 2)
  • Olive oil (category 5)
  • Olive pomace oil (category 8); is hardly marketed outside of the producing countries.

Factors influencing quality

The taste quality results from

  • the olive variety
  • the condition of the olives such as ripeness, water supply during growth
  • the proportion of rotten and pest-infested fruits
  • the purity of foreign bodies such as leaves, pieces of branches and sawdust
  • the type and duration of storage after harvest until processing
  • the purity of the systems during processing, especially with residues from older batches
  • oxygen exposure during processing
  • further treatment after pressing


The labeling of olive oil is clearly regulated in the European Union. In addition to the binding designations for the individual olive oil categories (quality classes), consumers should also be given more detailed information on the type of olive oil offered on the label according to Regulation (EC) No. 29/2012 of January 14, 2012. In addition, the information on the label must not mislead the buyer or attribute supposedly special properties to olive oil.

The label must have an explanatory sentence in addition to the sales description. For olive oils with the sales description "extra virgin olive oil", for example, the following addition is required in the wording: "First quality class - obtained directly from olives exclusively using mechanical processes". Furthermore, an indication of the origin must be given for "extra virgin olive oil" and "virgin olive oil". Additions such as "cold-pressed", "first cold pressing" or "cold extraction" are only permitted if the temperature during processing of the olive mass did not exceed 27 ° C. Information on taste and / or odor is only permitted if it is based on the results of a recognized analytical method. The indication of the acid content is only allowed if the values ​​of the peroxide number , the wax content and the absorption in the ultraviolet range are given in the same font size and in the same field of vision.

Examination results, test procedures, indication of origin and falsification

In 2011, the “Pocket Guide for Olive Oil Italy” from Merum magazine came to the conclusion that out of 560 oils only 50 are acceptable, and only about 20 are considered very good.

A study carried out by Stiftung Warentest in early 2016 on 26 olive oils in the best category “extra virgin” rated 13 products as defective. The laboratory analysis did not confirm the specified origin of five oils (mixed origin not declared). Pollution levels were also determined: five olive oils were contaminated with mineral oil , pesticides were detected in 20 oils and five products contained plasticizers .

The EU regulation 29/2012 prescribes an indication of origin for virgin olive oils (native and extra virgin). If a country (EU member or third country) is mentioned, the olives must have been harvested and pressed in this country. Otherwise it must z. B. called: Virgin olive oil (extra), "made in Italy, from olives harvested in Greece". In the case of mixed origins, it must read: “Mixture of olive oils from the European Union (and / or third countries)”.

Despite all the measures, Der Spiegel reported at the end of 2011, with reference to the Italian newspaper “ La Repubblica ”, that 80 percent of Italian olive oil does not come from Italy, but is only slightly processed in Italy. Indications that a mixture was present would be hidden or even concealed on the label.

In 2019, Öko-Test found the two mineral oil residues MOSH and MOAH in half of the twenty tested olive oils of the highest quality ( extra virgin ) . The plasticizer dibutyl phthalate was also detected in three of the oils . Twelve of the oils tested were organic, four only met the requirements for “virgin” olive oil. "MOAH can come from lubricating oils in harvesting machines, conveyor belts in oil mills, chainsaws for pruning olive trees, but also from pesticides based on paraffin oil, fine dust and exhaust gases." However, the olive oils were not mixed with other vegetable oils, and no other pollutants were detectable.

Labor market, company sizes

In the European Union, around 70% of olive oil is produced on 1,563,000 hectares (as of 2000), of which 48% came from Spain and 22.5% from Italy. 1,160,000 producers worked in the olive oil sector in Italy, 840,000 in Greece, 380,000 in Spain and 130,000 in Portugal. You work as an olive grower or in cooperatives, oil mills, refineries, mixed operations and marketing companies.

In North Africa the working conditions are completely different. In Tunisia alone there are 300,000 olive plantation owners, 1650 of which produce olive oil, 45 companies bottle it, and over 70 companies export the oil. Overall, the sector employs around 1,000,000 people.

Depending on the orientation - traditional, often organic cultivation, then more strongly cultivated traditional plantings with a higher use of means of production, finally intensively cultivated, mostly young plantings with increased use of machines and other technologies, irrigation and the narrow position of the trees up to Christmas tree-like pruning - diverge the size of the company, ownership structure and work processes. The average farm in Italy in 2003 was only one hectare, while in Spain it was six.

Economical meaning

World production

In 2014, with around 3.1 million tons of world harvest, according to the FAO , olive oil only took 10th place among vegetable oils. The most oil produced was palm oil with around 54 million tons, followed by soybean oil with 42 million tons and rapeseed oil with 25 million tons. With around 2.317 million t (= 76.0%) of world production, the European countries were the most important olive oil producers in the world. The 10 largest producing countries produced 94.5% of all olive oil.

Largest olive oil producers (2014)
rank country Quantity
(in t )
1 SpainSpain Spain 1,738,600
2 ItalyItaly Italy 294.914
3 GreeceGreece Greece 208,900
4th TunisiaTunisia Tunisia 179,700
5 MoroccoMorocco Morocco 137,400
6th SyriaSyria Syria 100,638
7th TurkeyTurkey Turkey 73.915
8th PortugalPortugal Portugal 66,532
9 AlgeriaAlgeria Algeria 52,400
10 ArgentinaArgentina Argentina 28,100
world 3,050,390

The market has been subject to major changes since the mid-1990s, and the annual harvest volumes fluctuate extremely strongly. The World Food Organization FAO recorded just under 295,000 t for Italy in 2014, compared to almost 464,000 t in the previous year, almost 506,000 t in 2012, and even 542,000 t in 2011. There have been similar fluctuations in the past. Whereas 824,000 t were harvested in Italy in 1983, the following year it was only 343,200, in 1985 again 641,500, then again 338,010. In 2004 over 794,000 t were harvested, the second largest harvest since at least 1961, the largest since 1983. In contrast, 2014, just behind 2013, was the most productive year for Spain. While Syria had produced around 200,000 tons of olive oil in 2011, this number halved three years later, but probably more because of the war. Countries such as Tunisia and Turkey show similar, sometimes even greater fluctuations. The latter had won more than 200,000 t in 2012.

Measured against the four-year totals from 1990–1993 and 2002–2005, Spain was able to increase its production by 64%, but it was 97% for Turkey, 127% for Syria and 1900% in Israel. Countries such as Slovenia (+ 411%), Croatia (+ 100%), but also Australia (+ 144%), the USA (+ 44%) and Chile (+ 37%) show enormous growth rates in the production of olive oil. Italy had contributed 28.9% of the world harvest in 1988, but this proportion fell to 15.9% by 2011. In contrast, Spain increased its share from 26.8 to 45.8% over the same period. Producers like Syria also managed to increase this share to 6.1%. While over 38 million trees grew there in 1988, ten years later it was already over 58 million; domestic oil production rose from 66,000 to 116,000 t, in 2010 it was 177,400 t. The total acreage in 2010 was around 10 million hectares or 100,000 km². In the meantime attempts are being made, for example in Israel and Argentina, Australia and the USA, to expand production to desert areas. The number of olive trees was estimated at around 800 million in 2009, with 90% of the olives going into oil production, less than 10% becoming table olives.

In 2017, the total production of olives was 16 million tons of table olives and 2.7 million tons of oil.


Spain was the largest producer and exporter (920,820 t) of olive oil in 2016. Italy, on the other hand, was the second largest producer, but the world's largest importer of olive oil (529,855 t).

Italian companies buy and bottle olive oil all over the Mediterranean region and then sell it worldwide. For example, Greek olive oil is bought up in order to sell it in Germany as “Italian”, as consumers are willing to pay more for it. When bottling in Italy, good quality Greek olive oil is often mixed with inferior Italian olive oil, not just as good, and sold in Germany.

Consumer countries, per capita consumption

In 2003, consumption of olive oil was limited to a few countries. Almost half of the consumption was accounted for by two countries, namely Italy, where 30.3% of the world's harvest was consumed, and Spain, where it was 19.3%. The USA (8.2%), Greece (6.9%), Syria (4.8%), France (3.9%), Morocco (3.0%) followed. Looking at the value side of imports, Italy was even further ahead with 40.2% of the total, followed by the USA with 15%, France (6.4), Spain (5.5), Great Britain (3.7) and Germany (3.5%). In 2017 the USA imported 300,000 t of olive oil, Germany already 64,000 t, Great Britain 61,000 t.

Consumption per inhabitant of the respective states rose steadily in the 1990s, with Germany increasing from a very low level of 100 g per capita per year in 1990 to 400 g in 2003. Greece had the highest per capita consumption worldwide in 2016 with 14.9 liters per year, followed by Spain with 11.5 liters and Italy with 10.5 liters per year. Then the Portuguese come with 5 liters per year. In Germany, each inhabitant used 0.8 liters in 2016 and 1.2 liters in Austria. In Switzerland, it was 1.7 liters per capita in the 2012 assessment year. Consumption in Spain has been falling for several years, from 425 to 342 million liters, which is attributed to the price doubling in this period between 2008 and 2018. This in turn has to do with poor harvests and increasing demand from countries such as the USA or Germany. The younger generation also distrusts the "honesty of the labeling".

Important growing areas

The olive oil areas in the Mediterranean

The growing areas are almost exclusively in the Mediterranean states, but the demands of the trees in terms of climate, soil and cultural preconditions are such that only a limited number of landscapes produce the lion's share of the olive oil.

In Portugal, the farms are concentrated in the Trás-os-Montes , Alentejo and Ribatejo areas .

In Spain, four fifths of the olives are in Andalusia , especially in the province of Jaén , which produces around a quarter of the world harvest, but also in the province of Córdoba , as well as in Catalonia , there in particular in the provinces of Lleida and Tarragona as well as in Aragon and Extremadura . There are also smaller growing areas such as Álava , Navarra , Mallorca .

In Italy, Puglia, Calabria , Sicily and Campania together produce more than 80% of Italian olive oil. In Germany, oils from Veneto - Garda , Tuscany and Liguria are well known, with Tuscany contributing less than 5% to Italian production, Liguria and Veneto even less.

In Greece it is produced in the Peloponnese , especially around Kalamata and Messenia as well as in the Mani d. H. in the Laconia regional district , plus the islands of Lesbos , Crete and Thasos .

In Tunisia, the Sahel is particularly suitable for olive cultivation, which already in Roman times supplied the lion's share to supply the capital Rome. 65 million olive trees cover around 1.7 million hectares of land.

Croatia grows olives along the Adriatic coast and on the islands . The regions of Istria and Dalmatia are the main production regions . Olives are also produced in the neighboring country of Slovenia in the Primorska region .

In the eastern Mediterranean, Turkish farmers also plant olives in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions , in Syria mainly around Aleppo - however, production there has collapsed due to the war. Olive oil is also produced in Cyprus , but it is mainly consumed locally and is rarely exported.

Olive oils and varieties of olives by region and state

The number of olive varieties in the Mediterranean area is likely to be around a thousand, but by no means all of them are suitable for oil production; many only serve the smallest, local markets or for personal use. The confusion is caused by the fact that many varieties are known by different names, depending on the region, sometimes even depending on the processor. The number of varieties that are suitable for olive oil is given as a total of 860. The Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Handbook , published in 2014, knows about 2000 olive varieties. According to this overview 538 varieties are known in Italy alone, in Spain 262, in Turkey 80, in Syria 75, in Greece 52, in Tunisia 44, in Algeria 36, ​​in Portugal 24, in Morocco 6. The total number of trees is on 850 million estimated, they grow on 8.7 million hectares of land.

Mediterranean area


The growing areas in Spain relevant to the production of olive oil: ( Andalusia ): 1. Sierra de Cádiz; 2. Antequera; 3. Estepa; 4. Lucena; 5. Priego de Cordoba; 6; Poniente de Granada; 7. Baena; 8. Jaén Sierra Sur; 9. Montes de Granada; 10. Sierra Magina; 11. Sierra de Cazorla; 12. Sierra de Segura; 13. Campiñas de Jaén; 14. Montoro-Adamuz; ( Extremadura ) 15. Monterrubio; 16. Gata-Hurdes; ( Castile-La Mancha ) 17. Aceite Campo de Montiel; 18. Campo de Calatrava; 19. Aceite Montes de Alcaraz; 20. La Alcarria; 21. Montes de Toledo; ( Balearic Islands ) 22. Aceite de Mallorca; ( Catalonia ) 23. Baix Ebre-Montsià; 24. Oli de Terra Alta; 25. Siurana; 26. Les Garrigues; 27. Oli de l'Empordà; ( La Rioja ) 28. Aceite de La Rioja; ( Navarre ) 29. Aceite de Navarra; ( Aragon ) 30. Aceite del Bajo Aragon; ( Comunidad Valenciana ) 31. Aceite de la Comunitat Valenciana; ( Madrid ) 32nd Aceite de Madrid

In Spain there are 23 officially recognized cultivation and production regions ( Denominación de Origen Protegida / DOP) for olive oil ( aceite de oliva virgen ), most of them in the most important Spanish cultivation area Andalusia , where 90% of the yields come from. A total of 215 million olive trees are expected in ten cultivation regions.

The most important olive varieties from which oil is obtained are Picual  - it alone makes up around half of the harvest, is robust and varies in taste very much depending on the growing area - then Arbequina , probably one of the most famous Spanish varieties. It is fruity, mild, slightly sweet and suggests artichokes , Blanqueta , a very pale variety from the Levante region on the Costa Blanca (almonds, very mild, yet intense aroma), Cornicabra (represents around one eighth of the total harvest, the name " Goat horn ”is derived from its shape, ranges from sweet to spicy), Empeltre (very old variety of the Balearic Islands, fruity, apple-like), Hojiblanca ( Seville , Granada , Córdoba and Málaga are their growing areas, around one sixth of the total harvest, dark and dark piquant like herbs), Lechin de Sevilla (whitish juice, spicy, a little bitter), Manzanilla (from the mountains of Alicante in Cáceres , mostly table olive, as your oil tastes a little bitter), Picudo (especially in Andalusia, fruity after Almonds and apples), Verdial or Morisca ( Extremadura , especially sweet and fruity).

It was probably the Phoenicians and the Greeks who brought the olive tree to the Iberian Peninsula . Olive oil was already being exported to North Africa during the rule of Aragon (13th century).


In Portugal, where two thirds of the olives are produced in the Alentejo , there are seven regions that have a label of origin and quality ( Denominação de Origem Protegida ) recognized by the EU, namely Azeite: de Moura , de Trás-os-Montes , do Ribatejo , do Norte Alentejano , da Beira Alta , da Beira Baixa and Alentejo Interior . In 2011 there were olive groves on an area of ​​430,000 hectares. 1,472 oil mills produced a total of between 50,000 and 80,000 tons of olive oil. Cooperatives took care of the bottling. Up to around 2005, four fifths of the harvest was based on the small olives of the Galega variety , plus Cordovil and Carrasquenha .

Since the construction of the Alqueva dam , industrial olive oil production in Portugal has in many cases replaced traditional, family-run production. Since 2003, and then again since 2011, since the government launched a corresponding initiative with cheap loans and cheap land, the Alentejo's share of Portuguese production has risen to 77%, the share of olive groves even to 85%.

Since then, the cultivation has mostly been dominated by Spanish companies that now produce half of the Alentejo oil. With the change to Spanish capital, Spanish varieties also came into the country, the Arbequina and Hojiblanca varieties are now predominant. These companies put enormous price pressure on the small producers who lack the sales channels for their better but more expensive oil. Many of the traditional oil producers have already given up their businesses.


Wild olive tree in Morocco, 1965

In Morocco , over 90% of the oil is obtained from Baldi Picholine , also called Picholine Marocaine . Even if the olive arrived much earlier either by land from Egypt or by sea from southern Spain or the Mediterranean, the first evidence of this can only be found from Roman times around Volubilis , Lixus and Tingis . It is documented in Arabic travel reports from the 11th to 17th centuries around Fès , Marrakech and Tlemcen , and around Sousse and Tafilalt only in the late 17th century. This comparatively late introduction was possibly related to competition with other oils, such as argan oil . Cultivation was encouraged during the colonial period, but it was a speech by the king on October 3, 1986 that was followed by the free distribution of seeds, which led to the increased spread of the olive trees. In 2010, a national plan was announced to plant olive trees on a total of one million hectares.

By 2013, 600,000 hectares of olive groves had been created on 400,000 farms. They produced between 60,000 and 108,000 tons of olive oil. In 2013 there were 350 oil mills alongside 16,000 traditional presses.


Olive oil played a significant role in Roman times. An important source are the Tabulae Albertini , which were discovered on Djebel Mrata in 1928 and which contain documents written on 34 wooden tablets from the years 493 to 496. In most cases it is a matter of buying land, land on which olives were harvested, among other things, plus the sale of an olive press.

The Beys of Constantine , who were subordinate to the Deys of Algiers and owed tribute to them, had a similar monopoly position in olive oil as their overlords, who had already enforced the monopoly in the 17th century.

French colonial policy caused Algeria's olive oil production to collapse from 3.5 million liters to 1.65 million liters between 1910 and 1940. It began in 1844 with an attempt to use the extensive olive tree stocks of 52,000 hectares for processing. In 1978, the olive area of Kabylia consisted practically only of thinned trees; grafting was the common practice in higher elevations. Practically only the Chemlal variety grows there .

In 2013 there were 300,000 hectares of olive groves, 240,000 of which were for olive oil, 1650 oil mills. The annual production was between 50,000 and 70,000 t.


Roman oil lamp, Lamta Museum

It is unclear whether olive cultivation dates back to 4000 BC. BC came into the country, or whether the oil culture here only around 1200 BC. It was introduced, perhaps even later by the Phoenicians. In any case, the export of olives was of great importance in Roman times, especially from the 3rd century onwards.

Market access for Tunisian oil to the EU is limited. In 2015, the European Commission proposed to grant a duty-free quota for the export of 35,000 tonnes of Tunisian olive oil annually to the EU to alleviate the country's economic problems by the end of 2017, an amount in addition to the 56,700 t already established under the Association Agreement.

In Tunisia the olive varieties Chemlali and Chetoui predominate, but depending on the region there are also other varieties such as Zalmati , Chemchéli , Oueslati , Zarrazi , Jerboui , Marsaline , Fouji , Meski , Tounsi , Besbessi , Sahli Mguargueb and so on.

In southern Tunisia in the region of Sfax , the small Chemlali thrives , which is very resistant to heat and drought and provides a mild oil with a light taste of green almonds. The arid conditions of the beginning desert make large distances between the olive trees necessary and thus allow a cultivation density of only 17 olive trees per hectare.

The chetoui is grown in northern Tunisia . It is larger and produces an olive oil with a fruity, slightly bitter taste. In northern Tunisia, the cultivation density is 100 to 150 olive trees per hectare.

The arid climate in Tunisia means that pesticides are mostly unnecessary. 95% of Tunisian olive groves are traditionally cared for, without any pesticides. Although many producers are organic, only a few are licensed as organic (presumably because of the cost).


In Egypt, the regions of Alamein , al-Arish and Rafah produce on the basis of the varieties Picual , Manzanilla , but also Kalamata . These varieties also thrive along the road to the east and in Ismailia , as do Aggezi , while only Hamed Siwi grows in Siwa . In ancient Egyptian times, oil was produced for ritual purposes and as an ointment in the lower Nile valley, but also in the far south and around Thebes.

In 2011 the country had 50,000 hectares of olive groves, but around three quarters of them were used for the production of table olives. The average production of olive oil was 14,000 tons per year.


Southern Palestine is currently considered to be one of the oldest cultivation areas, as olive pits from around 8000 BC were found on the Carmel at the Nahal Zehora site . Discovered. Perhaps the best-known use of olive oil there was as fuel for the golden candlestick in the tabernacle (Exodus 35:14), but in ancient times it was primarily an export product. At the beginning of the 9th century olive trees are mentioned, each of which is said to have supplied around 3500 liters of oil. The whole of Palestine is said to never have suffered hunger because of its export (and because of its bread). One of the most important varieties is Souri , similar to Lebanon, but also Barnea. The latter is considered to be inferior to Souri. Maalot is harvested in the north of the country , which is one of the most common varieties alongside Souri and Barnea , but also Nabali Baladi and Nabali Muchasan .


In 2011 there were olive groves on a total area of ​​120,000 hectares, with an average of 20,000 tons of oil being produced. The most important variety is Rasi'i.


In Lebanon, olive oil is mainly obtained from the Souri, Beladi and Ayrouni varieties. There were around 500 oil mills there in 2013.


The predominant olive varieties in Syria are Zaiti, Sorani, Chodieri, Doebli, Dan and Jlot (status: 2013). In 2013 there were exactly 922 oil presses in the country, half of which still worked traditionally. The oldest mention of olives on a clay tablet is known from Ebla ; it dates from around 2500 BC. Chr.


Archaeological finds show that olives were found around 6000 BC. In the southeast of Asia Minor, in today's provinces Hatay , Mardin and Maraş . In 1990, 28 Turkish oils were registered. Most of them have a tradition that goes back uninterruptedly to the Lydian and Greek times and, in addition to the Aegean region, they were especially obtained in Pamphylia in Roman times . The oils are mostly based on the varieties Koroneiki , Lamponia , Kolovi or Throumpolia . There are also Memeli , Donat , Ismir Sofralik , Ayvalik , Ekiste , Elebi , Erkence , Gemlik , Memecik , Trilya and Uslu . In total, more than 50 varieties are planted. The vast majority of the oil is consumed in the country, however, in 1993 less than 10% was exported. The most important Turkish oil olives include Çakir , Gemlik , Memecik and Memeli , which are also used as table olives, then as pure oil olives Ayvalik and Erkence . The black varieties Uslu , Çelebi , then the green Domat as well as Izmir Sofralik , Çeki and Çilli are consumed exclusively as table olives . Foreign varieties also include the French Picholine , the Spanish Arbequina , Hojiblanca , Manzanilla , the Italian Frantoio and Leccio , as well as the Syrian Saurani and Tunisian Baroui and Meski in the country, the latter being a pure table olive .

Olive oil played a minor role in foreign trade. During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire supplied olive oil to Austria. On October 9, 1941, Berlin and Ankara agreed to exchange goods, which also included 8,000 tons of olive oil.

In 2011 there were olive groves on a total area of ​​500,000 hectares, with an average annual oil yield of 145,000 t.


Greece has more than 50 varieties of olives. The total cultivation area in 2011 was around 750,000 hectares. The most important cultivation areas are in the Peloponnese , Crete , Lesbos and a few other islands. The most important varieties include Adramytiani , Doppia , Kalamata , Kolovi , Koroneiki , Karydolia , Manaki , Psiloelia , Prassinolia and Tsounati .

The better known include Amphissa , a grayish to dark purple variety with soft flesh, then Atalanta , which tastes salty but is very mild. After all, the Kalamaties from the south are among the best varieties. They are black and purple, large and have a sweetish-bitter and aromatic taste. Nafplion is a medium-sized variety that is dark green to brown; it is very flavorful. They belong more to the table olives, whereas oil is often based on Koroneiki . On Lesbos mainly Kolovi , Ladolia and Adramitiani are grown, the latter comes from the west Turkish coast and is only found on this island in Greece. The fresh, one to two month old oil tastes a bit peppery. Also Ladolia comes almost only available here. Koroneiki provides around 85% of the Cretan yields, but is also grown on Zakynthos and Messinia and produces an excellent oil.

Ancient olive tree in the village of Eliá ("Olive Tree"), Laconia
List of Greek Protected Designation of Origin ( PDO ) and Protected Geographical Indication ( PGI ) varieties of olive oil in Extra Virgin quality :
  • PGI (Agios Mattheos in Corfu)
  • PDO (Apokoronas from Chania on Crete)
  • PDO (Archanes Irakliou in Crete)
  • PDO (Viannos Irakliou in Crete)
  • PDO (Vorios Mylopotamos, Rethymno on Crete)
  • PDO (Trizinia)
  • PDO (Thrapsano)
  • PGI (Zakynthos)
  • PGI (Thasos)
  • PGI (Kefalonia)
  • PDO (Kolymvari from Chania on Crete)
  • PDO (Kranidi, Argolis)
  • PDO (Krokees Laconia)
  • PGI (Olympia)
  • PGI (Chania in Crete)
  • PGI (Laconia)
  • PGI (Lesbos)
  • PDO (Lygourio Asklipiiou)
  • PDO (Peza Irakliou)
  • PDO (Petrina, Laconia)
  • PGI (Preveza)
  • PDO (Finikas, Laconia)
  • PGI (Rhodes)
  • PGI (Samos)
  • PDO (Kalamata)
  • PDO (Sitia Lasithiou in Crete)
  • PDO (Selino in Crete)


The most common olive variety in Croatia is the Oblica (or Oblitza ), it is offered green (September to October) or black (October) depending on the harvest time. In addition, Bijelica (also Istarka Bjelica ) are harvested on Istria and along the Kvarner Bay , Crnica on Istria , Slivnjaca on the Kvarner islands, but also on the mainland. The Italian variety Leccino has also been grown since 1940 .

Bosnia Herzegovina

In Bosnia-Herzegovina , olive oil was produced in the hinterland of Neum after 2000 , a production that has since expanded to other areas of Herzegovina, in particular around the city of Ljubuški , where around 300 hectares were newly planted between 2003 and 2018. Oblica from Croatia is mainly grown there, a variety that can withstand poor, dry soils as well as low temperatures. Together with Istarska bjelica , Leccino and Pendolino (more susceptible to frost) they make up 90% of the population. Carolea , Levantinka (susceptible to frost) and Buža are much less common .


Container for vinegar and oil, Venice 1525

Italy had an estimated 250 million olive trees in 2015. Total employment was estimated at 50 million hours worked per year. The industry's turnover in 2013 was € 2 billion, with exports totaling € 1.38 billion. With 9.96 kg per capita per year, the Italians were the third largest consumers of olive oil.

Italy has around 300 varieties, of which Taggiasca , Coratina and Ogliarola are perhaps the better known. Taggiasca has a very fine olive fragrance with a mild fruity aroma, the aftertaste a mild hint of almonds and pine nuts. The main growing area is Liguria. Coratina has a powerful taste and is found mainly in Puglia. Ogliarola is also found there, but has a delicate herbal scent and is also known as Cima di Bitonto . Are widely used Leccino , Frantoio and Carolea . Other varieties processed into oil are in the regions:

Immature Biancolilla, which only grow in Sicily between 400 and 800 m high
Olive tree near Agrigento , Sicily
Italian oil
Olive varieties


  • Third a
  • Gentile del Chieti
  • Morella
  • Raja


  • Coratina
  • Ogliarola Barese or Paesana
  • Pizzuta
  • Nasuta
  • Nocellara
  • Provencal or Peranzana
  • Leccese
  • Cellina Barese


  • Majatica
  • Nostrale or Ogliarola
  • Palmarola or Fasolina
  • Rapollese di Lavello

Garda lake

  • Frantoio
  • Casaliva
  • Gargnano


  • Rotondello
  • Carpellese
  • Cornia
  • Frantoio
  • Leccino
  • Pisciottana
  • Ogliarola
  • olive
  • Ravece
  • Salella


  • Zinzifarica
  • Carolea
  • Ogliara


  • Carboncella
  • Canino
  • Itrana
  • Leccino
  • Raja
  • Rosciola


  • Taggiasca
  • Lavagnina
  • Colombaia
  • Pignola
  • Merlina
  • Pinola
  • Rossese
  • Razzola


  • Ascolana
  • Frantoio
  • Leccino
  • Sargano


  • Gentile di Larino
  • Saligna di Larino
  • Olivastra di Montenero
  • Cerasa di Montenero
  • All'acqua di Montenero


  • Massafrese
  • Cellina di Nardò
  • Oliarola di Lecce
  • Ciliero
  • Monopoly
  • Racioppa


  • Pizz'e Carroga
  • Bosana


  • Biancolilla
  • Moresca
  • Santagatese
  • Nocellara


  • Frantoio or Razzo
  • Leccino
  • Morcone
  • Moraiolo
  • Ogliarola Seggianese


  • Ascolana tenera
  • Dolce Agoglia
  • Leccino
  • Moraiolo

The Sicilian production already achieved greater importance in the time of Thucydides , who describes olive groves near Syracuse. On the island there was severe neglect among the Romans, but recovery among the Arabs. This is especially true for the Tyrrhenian coast, the Conca d'Oro. In the 15th century there were first specializations in the varieties, such as Frantoio. In the 16th century olives were also grown again between Messina and Palermo. Although the harsh winter of 1789 threw olive cultivation back, exports continued to increase afterwards, with the use of oil in the English cloth manufacture playing an important role.

Similar to Sicily, the Phoenicians and Greeks spread olive growing in Calabria as early as the first millennium BC. From the fourth century onwards, olive cultivation recovered here on the initiative of the Church. However, the low-quality Calabrian oil was used more for soaps, and efforts to improve the quality began at the end of the 19th century. The oldest find from the neighboring Basilicata comes from Metapont and was dated to the 8th century BC. Dated. In contrast to Sicily, the variety of varieties grew in the Roman Empire and the oil remained a sought-after product. Here, too, monasteries such as Montescaglioso , which has been producing olive oil since the 12th century, promoted the diversity of varieties, which increased again in the late Middle Ages.

In Puglia, the history of olive oil can be traced back particularly far. Excavations in Torre Canne show that even before the Neolithic , which was there in the middle of the 7th millennium BC, Begins, olives were eaten. Finds from around 5000 BC AD showed olive cultivation south of Bari (Torre a Mare, Pheasants). Already in the eighth century BC Olives appear on coins from Croton and Taranto , as well as on ceramics from the seventh century onwards. At the same time, the cultivation spread further north. A fifth-century oil mill was found in Cannae . With the end of the Roman Empire, the extensive trade relations largely broke off. The Arabs, who appeared in the ninth century, reopened their huge empire to trade, but often cultivated citrus fruits at the expense of olives. The Byzantines promoted olive cultivation around Salento, the Normans and Staufers often equipped the monasteries with olive groves.

First Benedictines , then Basilians, played the decisive roles. In the 16th century, the Cistercians in particular promoted cultivation in northern Apulia, while the Congregazione del Monte Oliveto was active in the northwest around Bitonto . The ports of the region benefited considerably from this, and a road connection to the capital Naples was established in 1559. In Venice , oil from the Bari region was particularly popular. With the decline of Spanish rule in Italy, there were also significant setbacks in olive cultivation in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 18th century, however, prices rose, and new oil mills were built, including hydraulic ones from the beginning of the 19th century.

Further north, especially around Rome , olive growing flourished especially from the first century BC. BC to the second century AD. During the migration period , cultivation collapsed except for personal use. After a renewed bloom, cultivation fell sharply in the 18th century. Except for the monastery groves, only a few olive groves have been tended. The main cultivation areas around Rome were around Orvieto , northwest of Frosinone and east of Latina . However, the winter of 1984/85 damaged the areas there particularly badly.

In the Marche , the monasteries were also the driving forces behind the spread of cultivation, such as the Farfa Abbey . Anyone who did not own olive trees there in 1453 was asked to plant two trees that year.

In Tuscany, olive cultivation does not seem to have regained importance until the 17th century, which, as in all of Italy, was followed by a significant decline in the 18th century, which in turn was reversed by the Industrial Revolution . However, while Tuscany and Puglia managed to produce high quality oils, most of the oil mills supplied the cloth industry. The oil was also used as a light source or as machine grease.

In terms of quality, Liguria, which also has a long tradition, only followed suit in the 19th century. But initially the construction of the railways enabled the southern Italian olive oils to displace the Ligurian from the local market. In addition, there was competition from fruit growing, which required the best soil. With the increase in the price of agricultural labor from the middle of the 19th century, Ligurian cultivation fell further back.


Olive oils in the Avignon market

In France there are seven appellations d'origine protégée (AOP). These are the Huile d'olive de Nyons AOC , the Huile d'olive de la vallée des Baux-de-Provence , and the olive oil d'Aix-en-Provence , de Haute-Provence , de Provence , de Nice , then the huile d'olive de Corse - Oliu di Corsica , and finally the Öl de Nîmes .

The best-known French variety is probably the Picholine , which is grown in the Gard department and which gives a very fruity oil. It is adaptable and is also grown in Morocco. The Aglandau grows around Marseille and supplies a very strong, strong oil. The northernmost area of ​​Europe is the area around Nyons . This is where the tanche grows , and the black olive turns into a mild, outstanding oil that tastes like almonds. To Nice thrives small Cailletier , in the Provence the Salonenque that Verdale and Ribier , but also Bouteillan , Négrette , Cayon and so on.

France was the first country to introduce an official designation of origin for the oils, which guarantees the authenticity, quality, variety and origin of the olives used. Nyons was one of them since 1994 , followed by the Vallée des Baux de Provence , Aix-en Provence and Haute Provence . They supply the best oils in the country.

Outside the Mediterranean


Olive oil production, more precisely to Aimogasta , came to Argentina in the 18th century . Today oil is produced in San Juan , San Luis , Mendoza and Córdoba , mainly in the northwest, whereby the indigenous Arauco olive is a large, fleshy variety that is both consumed as a table olive and is processed into oil. In 2011, Arbequina was the most common variety.

In 2011 the country had around 100,000 hectares of olive groves and produced around 30,000 tons of oil annually. There were 83 oil mills.


In Brazil, Koroneiki dominates , a variety that is usually found in Crete.


In Chile, the Coratina variety, from southern Italy, predominates. Although the olive tree appeared in South America since the 16th century, commercial cultivation probably only began with Italian immigrants in the 1940s, and the first oils came on the market in 1953. About half of the oil is obtained from the Arbequina variety , followed by Frantoio, Arbosana, Picual and Leccino (status: 2013).


In Mexico, olive oil is mostly made in Sonora . Around 95% of the oils are based on manzanilla . Ascolano, Boroni, Frantoio, Mission, Oblonga, Nevadillo, Pendolina and Sevillano are also found in small quantities .


In Uruguay, mainly arbequina is planted, similar to Spain.

United States

Historic olive grove in Fernandina Beach, Florida

In the USA, which only accounts for 0.5 to 1% of world production, olive oil is mainly produced in California , but also in small quantities in New Mexico , Arizona and Texas . The six California counties in which the oil is extracted are, Tulare County and Kings County , where Manzanillo and Ascolano are grown, then Fresno County , where Manzanillo is growing, Glenn County , which Manzanillo, Sevillano and Mission cultivated, Tehama County , where Sevillano flourishes and finally Butte County , which in turn favors Mission .

In 2011, around 700 farms owned 11,000 hectares of olive groves, which together produced around 4,000 t of oil per year - with an import of 238,000 t. 70% of the production was based on the Arbequina variety , but Arbosana, Koroneiki, Frantoio and Leccino were also processed.


Olive grove on Mount Stawell in Victoria

Australia grows a number of varieties, such as arbequina from northeastern Spain (where 50,000 hectares stand), which provides small olives and an excellent oil. Yields are good, but overall production in Australia is low. The azapena or Sevillana de Azapa from Chile , where it provides 90% of the harvest and is considered the best olive, produces fruits of widely varying sizes, but it is preferred as a table olive. In contrast, the Israeli-born Barnea suitable for olive oil production. In Australia they can be planted extremely densely (400 trees per hectare). The small olives from the Frantoio family, to which Frantoiano, Correggiola, Correggiolo, Razzo and Gentile belong, are often grown in Australia under the name Paragon . In Italy, Frantoio , which comes from Tuscany, is the benchmark for high-quality oils, and it is relatively resistant to cold. Therefore, it replaced numerous other olive trees in Tuscany after the 1985 frost and is also suitable for many areas of Australia. It provides very good olive oil with a good yield. However, it has a very strong taste - less if you harvest early - and is therefore often mixed with other oils. It can also be kept for up to two years.

An Australian specialty are the large Hardy's Mammoth olives , which are also popular as table olives due to their size. It grows in Queensland , New South Wales , Victoria , South Australia , Tasmania, and Western Australia .

The Greek Kalamata supplies good oil, but is mostly consumed as a table olive because its price is very high. In contrast, the Koroneiki oil is also highly regarded in Australia. Some farmers try Leccino from Tuscany, occasionally as a table olive.

The Spanish manzanilla supplies both oil and table olives; Nevadillo Blanco seemed to be identical to Picual for a long time , but it is genetically its own variety. Finally, Verdale has a certain meaning that is different from the Mediterranean Verdial , which originally came from the south of France.

The South Australian Verdale is larger, oval and weighs 7 to 10 g. The Wagga Verdale , on the other hand, has smaller fruits. They are the most common strain in South Australia. However, their oil content is low, some contain only 7%, whereby Wagga is more productive.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Italian variety Frantoio and the Greek Koroneiki are preferred .


A whole range of olive varieties are harvested in China, most of which Ezhi-8 and Yuntai come from the country itself. Italian varieties such as Coratina, Frantoio, Leccino or Ottobratica are also planted , as well as the Spanish Picual , the Israeli Barnea or the Greek Koroneiki . Although the cultivation areas are in the south-west of the country and therefore at Mediterranean level, the winters are drier and the summers more humid. About 70% of the annual precipitation falls in summer. In addition, there is 300 to 500 mm more rain every year and the cultivation areas are on average 500 m higher than on the Mediterranean.


In Japan the varieties Lucca and Mission are preferred.


In Italy alone there were more than 250 brands competing for the olive oil market in 2000.

Use in the kitchen, health aspects

Olive oil is an essential element of Mediterranean cuisine . Due to its high smoke point (filtered, extra virgin olive oil 210 ° C, 190–215 ° C; refined 230 ° C; another source gives the following values: extra virgin 207 ° C, virgin 175 ° C, refined 208 ° C) it is particularly suitable for frying and deep-frying , as has long been done in Italian and Spanish cuisine, for example . The smoke point is higher for good extra virgin olive oils (extra virgin) and lower for low quality virgin olive oils (vergine). The temperatures that arise when frying food containing water are usually much lower. At 180 ° C, however, the antioxidant substances of the phenol and tocopherol groups contained in the oil are destroyed very quickly. An extra virgin olive oil of high quality, with a low proportion of free fatty acids and a high proportion of phenolic antioxidants, is ideal for frying in terms of health and taste. Extra virgin olive oil is the most stable oil when heated, followed by coconut oil. The statement, often presented as expert knowledge in the media, that one should only use refined and by no means high-quality (extra) virgin olive oil for frying is therefore wrong.

Cold-pressed olive oil was considered a remedy in ancient times, for example against all kinds of skin diseases on the outside, or against inflammation on the inside. It also ranked next to donkey milk as a beauty product . Extra virgin olive oil contains small doses of a natural non-selective cyclooxygenase inhibitor called oleocanthal , which has anti-inflammatory effects comparable to ibuprofen .

A 2008 laboratory study suggested that consuming olive oil could potentially lead to an increased risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases because of its high levels of oleic acid . The German Heart Foundation contradicts this : "Test-tube studies do not take normal biological processes such as digestion and metabolism into account [...] therefore one [...] cannot derive any dietary recommendations. [...] Olive oil - preferably extra virgin or extra virgin - is still recommended as part of a balanced Mediterranean diet in order to reduce the risk of developing vascular diseases or to favorably influence their course. "

Ecological and social importance

The type of olive oil production has a major impact on the ecological value and the protection of the landscape in such a highly developed cultural landscape as the Mediterranean region. The trees often grow on stony, steep and in summer hot and dry slopes up to approx. 500 m above sea level. They require little water and fertilization and endure the harsh conditions like hardly any other crop. Especially in steep locations, protection against erosion and the preservation of soil fertility through tree vegetation have high priority, services that are otherwise only provided by pines in this area. However, they are much more at risk of fire.

In rural areas, migration from the countryside is a growing problem due to poor income opportunities. Olive groves and olive oil production - and the associated work such as pruning, cultivating the soil and harvesting, advertising and sales, agritourism and education - preserve rural jobs and thus the ecological and cultural characteristics of the regions. The EU subsidies at this point were counterproductive only through payments per hectare of land or per liter of oil produced instead of per olive tree. This promoted large production quantities and high profits on large plantations and intensive monocultures and ruined numerous small-scale and environmentally friendly production facilities. In addition, this made large-scale irrigation projects necessary, which in areas with low water reservoirs causes bottlenecks and lowers the water table. The focus on volume production also threatened to displace less productive varieties, which in turn has an adverse effect on diversity, but also on resistance to diseases and climatic changes.

When the dry season sets in, the undergrowth of the olives is traditionally either grazed by sheep or goats or simply plowed under for fire protection reasons and to save water. Many olive trees are in nature reserves and are therefore neither felled nor chemically treated. Olive oil of the highest quality and purity is produced in the olive groves, often with very old trees, which grow under natural conditions. Olive tree death has been known since 2013, spreading from Apulia to the north.

While only around 1% of olive oils are produced organically in Spain, this proportion is highest in Tunisia.

Olive oil museums

Part of the Oil Production Department in the Ethnographic Museum of the Albanian Kruja

Numerous companies and olive oil-living communities have discovered the economic potential of cultural performances as a means of promoting and promoting long-term loyalty and as catalysts. Museums were created in almost all cultivation areas, and an oil mill interpreted as historical was often sufficient.

Olive oil museums emerged in Greece in Sparta (Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil), in Kalamata (Euromediterranean Foundation "The Routes of the Olive Tree") and in Peza on Crete, but also on Lesbos (industrial production), Agia Paraskevi , or in Vryssa on Crete. The Oleastro Museum near Anogyra in the southwest of the island also exists in Cyprus . The oldest olive oil museum in Turkey was opened in 2001 and is located in Adatepe near the small town of Küçükkuyu in Ayvacık district on the northern Turkish Aegean Sea. Other museums were opened in Izmir (the Köstem Olive Oil Museum) and in Akhisar in the Manisa province .

In Italy such museums exist in: Cisano near Bardolino ( Veneto ), Imperia (Liguria), Castelnuovo di Farfa (Lazio), Fasano (Apulia), Massa Marittima (Tuscany) and in Cuglieri ( Sardinia ); there are also museums in the Umbrian towns of Trevi and Torgiano near Perugia . Croatia, three kilometers outside of Vela Luka on Korčula , in the village of Mirca in the north of the island of Brač , the first Dalmatian museum of the oil industry was opened in 2006 (Muzej uljarstva).

France offers museums in Mouriès between Nîmes and Aix-en-Provence , in Nyons ( Musée de l'olivier and Les vieux moulins ), Les Mées (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence) (since 2002) and Marseille (in the Musée des Civilizations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée ). The same applies to the village of Robledillo de Gata in the Spanish province of Extremadura , because there is said to be an Arab oil mill from the 11th century. Spain has discovered the potential for a long time, and there are museums in Almería (Museo Del Aceite De Oliva) and Palma , in Baena and Málaga, Castro del Río, Cabra and Salamanca as well as Saragossa , Nigüelas , Les Borges Blanques , Jaén , but also in Mora , Úbeda , Vinaròs or La Rinconada . Baeza in Portugal's Algarve also offers an oil museum (on 6000 m²).

Tunisia knows such houses in Sousse and Monastir .


Degli ulivi, delle ulive, e della maniera di cavar l'olio by Giovanni Presta, Naples 1794
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Web links

Commons : Olive Oil  Album with Pictures, Videos and Audio Files
Wiktionary: Olive oil  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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