Spread all around Crete there are tens of millions of olive groves, and among them, some trees of the Tsounati variety give life to the organic monocultivar extra virgin olive oil Efkrato.
There are at least 3 good reasons to consider Crete one of the best places on Earth for olive oil production: its territory, perfectly suited to the cultivation of the olive tree, which presents itself with low, sunny and windy hills benefitting from a Mediterranean climate; the millennial history of olive oil commercialization which has always characterized this land; the diet of the Sreteans which, in full Mediterranean style, have always used olive oil as an irreplaceable source of fats and polyphenols. For the Minoan civilization, which inhabited the island for more than a millennium before the ancient era of the great Empires, olive oil was so important that it was also the protagonist of its people’s sacred and religious rites; even in the royal palace of Knossos, it was possible to find an oil press. Currently, there are tens of millions of olive trees in Crete, some of them millennial ones, with the monumental olive tree of Vouves estimated to be over 2500 years old. As of today, after the Romans, the Byzantines and the Venetians having appreciated and supported Cretan olive growing over the centuries, we count 12 PGI and PDO, including Chania Kritis PGI, Kolimvari hanion Kritis DOP, Peza Irakliou Kritis DOP, and Exeretiko Partheno Eleolado Thrapsano DOP; some of the main cultivars used in these productions are the Koroneiki, Tsounati and Psilolia varieties.