Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the basis of the Mediterranean Diet, a UNESCO World Heritage. Ideally produced in Cilento, in the same areas where Ancel Keys carried out his studies and lived for more than 40 years.
Dieta Mediterranea – Mediterranean Diet
By now, countless scientific studies have shown that preferring the lifestyle set out in the Mediterranean Diet brings important benefits to our health, even reducing the mortality rate of many of the diseases which are the principal causes of death. Diet means “ life style” and it is therefore valid to adapt one's lifestyle to what was the way of life and eating of Cilentan farming people at the time that Keys began his studies.
On this website, we dedicate an important space to this subject, examining in depth the origins and characteristics of the Diet as well as illustrating some typical Cilentan recipies.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A recent study by the Sapienza University (published in Nutrition & Diabetes) demonstrates that olive oil not only helps prevent but can even be used in the cure of diabetes.
The origins of the olive tree
The olive tree is a very ancient plant, its history has been linked to Man's history for more than 7000 years. Evidence of the importance of this plant in Man's life has been found in different civilisations and religions. In the Bible, an olive branch (together with the rainbow) is the symbol of peace between God and Man after the Great Flood.
The olive tree and olive oil appears also in the Koran: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, .. lit from a blessed tree, an olive” (Qur'an, 24:35)
Greek mythology attributes the creation of this tree to Athena, the goddess of knowledge. In a competition with the god Poseidon to become the deity that would protect Athens, the goddess struck a stone and drew forth an olive tree to give to the Athenians, while Poseidon drew forth from the forest a new animal: the horse. The Athenians choose the olive tree because the horse represented war while the new tree would have guaranteed oil, wood, and light, therefore abundance and peace.
The olive tree has its origins in the Oriental Mediterranean area, the most ancient remains have been found in Haifa in Israel and date back to the 5th Century BC. The cultivation and production techniques of Extra Virgin Olive Oil were refined first by the Ancient Greeks then by the Ancient Romans and have remained substantially unvaried for centuries. We owe even the diffusion of the plant to the Greeks, who, during their expansion, brought the olive tree in all the lands of Magna Graecia, and to the Ancient Romans who brought olive tree cultivation to France and Spain. In these areas, as in Italy, the olive tree found ideal climatic conditions which allowed it to quickly and easily become an integral part of the landscape. The uses of olive oil from ancient times have been extremely varied, in actual fact, even if its most important role was nutritional, for cooking and for dressing foods, olive oil was also an ingredient in ancient cosmetics and it has been used medicinally, as fuel and in religious rites.