The Oliveoil of Aegina – The Golden Treasure
Even today, there are households that are completely self-sufficient, producing their own meat and poultry, lemons, eggs and wine, cheese, milk, honey, fruit and vegetables - and of course, their own oil. There is nothing like this golden treasure anywhere in the world. The history of olive oil on the island dates back at least 2,000 years, according to scientists who have dated the super-centenarian trees in the renowned ancient olive grove, Eleonas.
An old settlement with chapels and ruins from other church holdings is populated by a stand of olive trees with huge trunks, uniquely created by nature over time. They are indicative of Aegina's long-standing relationship with olive trees and their fruit. The proof is in the containers full of olive oil in every home, the well-tended trees in the fields and plantations, and the olive presses that are still flooded with work for 45-50 days a year as customers stand in line from dawn to dusk to have their olives turned into liquid gold. If you happen to be on the island during the late autumn olive-picking season, it is worth visiting an olive press: the scent of crushed olives, the rich colour of the oil as it pours into the containers, and the flavour and aroma as you sample some still-warm oil on a piece of fresh bread will stay with you for a very long time. It is a festive time, as people bring snacks and wine along to pass the time as they wait, toasting to a good harvest. It is an old custom, an integral part of Greek hospitality that endures to this day.