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Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day

🗓️ September 30

🌐 Everywhere


Happy Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day, my dear feral foodie friends!
Today we are celebrating a very special day, one that involves culinary delights and a true appreciation for the humble olive tree.
If you’re a foodie, you know that olive oil is a staple in many recipes.
But beyond that, there’s so much to discover and appreciate about this liquid gold.
So sit back, relax, and let’s indulge in some olive oil goodness!

The Mighty Olive Tree

Let’s start with the basics.
According to the holy grail of knowledge, Wikipedia, an olive is a fruit from the Olea europaea tree, which is native to the Mediterranean basin.
“Olea europaea” means “European olive”. Which suggests that the other olea types of trees are also olives. Which is kinda true, indeed, but the olives we buy in the shop are from the “Olea europaea”. It’s a long story…
The cultivation of olive trees dates back to at least 5000 BC and has a rich history, both mythological and practical.
Olive trees are tough and long-lived, with some trees believed to be over a thousand years old.

What’s the Buzz About Olive Oil?

Let’s first dive into the star of the show – the olive!
The olive is a small, bitter fruit from the Olea europaea tree.
The word “olive” comes from the Latin word “oliva,” meaning “olive tree,” and “oil” comes from the Latin word “oleum,” meaning “oil” or “juice.” Which shows how much olive oil has been appreciated as the rockstar of all oils for multiple millennia.
It has been used in cooking and for its medicinal properties for thousands of years, and it’s now one of the most popular and widely used oils in the world.

A Gift From the Goddess

The mythological origin story of the olive tree starts with the Greek city of Athens deciding on who their patron god would be.
This decision was a contest by the god of the sea, Poseidon, and the goddess of wisdom, Athena.
Each god had to present a gift and the citizens were to decide which gift was the most valuable.
Poseidon went first. He struck a rock and a fabulous beast, strong and fast came out.
This was the first horse. A strong animal that could be domesticated for companionship, transport and could pull loads that no human could pull. Hence the phrase “horse power”, because this animal was powerful indeed!
Then it was the turn of Athena.
Fitting for a deity of wisdom, she took a little time to think and then struck a rock.
Out came a sturdy, yet elegant looking evergreen tree. From that tree grew fruits which Athena fast-processed with her goddess powers to show what humans could make from these divine fruits.
This was the first olive tree. Not only a powerful tree, but a provider of amazing snacks and a source of oil that glimmered like gold in the sun, upgraded cooking crafts by many levels, a blessing for the parched skin, an aid for massaging sore muscles (a must for a culture known for it’s love for fitness) and a source of light in the dark nights.
The horse of Poseidon was undoubtedly a magnificent beast, still admired till today. But the olive tree was so versatile, that the citizens of the city we now know as Athens, chose this tree even over the horse.
Horses don’t mind much because they are loved either way and love a good massage.
Poseidon however, as to be expected from a Greek deity, was a sore loser. First he tried flooding parts of Greece and every time Athens has bad weather with rain or snow, Poseidon is a suspect.
All the rest of the fight is between the uncle and niece of the Greek pantheon.
They had a lot of beef between them anyway. But those are several different stories…
And this is also why you might, or might not, want a patron deity for your city.

If Olive Trees Could Talk

If olive trees could talk, they would probably be wise old sages, with a calming presence and with roots that go deep into the earth and branches that stretch high into the sky.
They’ve seen it all, from ancient civilizations to modern-day madness, and they’ve weathered it all with grace and resilience. Olive trees are survivors, and offer advice to those who listen.
Their advice is to keep calm and order more tapas.

What do Virgins Have to Do with This?

If you visit the same shops that I do, most bottles of olive oil are labeled “Extra Vierge”.
Which is a fancy word for “extremely virgin”. Which raises some weird and maybe disturbing questions…
Are virgins sacrificed for this oil? Or are only virgins allowed to make this oil?
What is the definition of virgin when it comes to olive oil?
Well, it is probably quite assuring that this definition of “virgin” has nothing to do with any carnal experience at all. Which is a relief to puritans, vegans and hygienists alike.
The exact definition however differs by the food laws of different countries or regions, but has everything to do with how the olives are pressed into oil, regardless of who does it (as long as they adhere to the local hygiene laws. (How assuring this is might depend on where you currently reside.)).
The most common rule of “extra vierge” olive oil is that the olives are pressed without aid of extra heat and it’s from the first pressing. Any further pressings might be less “vierge”

The Origin of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day:

But let’s move on to the origin of this holiday. The Passionate Olive, a company that promotes the health benefits and culinary uses of olive oil, created Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day to celebrate the beginning of the olive harvest in the Mediterranean and to encourage people to use it in their everyday cooking. It takes place on September 30th because it’s the traditional start of the olive harvest season in the Mediterranean region.
Mark your calendars and get ready to party like it’s 2016.

How to Celebrate Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day

Now, the most important question: how do we celebrate this momentous occasion?
Whether you’re a seasoned olive oil connoisseur or a newbie, there are plenty of ways to join in on the fun.

  • Simply enjoy a delicious snack of olives and bread drizzled with a little olive oil and maybe some more snacks. (And some wine?)
  • Try cooking with olive oil in new and creative ways or make a fresh salad with a drizzle of olive oil and some herbs and maybe even some olives (or a lot of olives).
  • Make a batch of homemade hummus with a drizzle of olive oil on top, or add it to your popcorn for a savory snack.
  • And don’t forget about dessert! Olive oil cake is a thing, and it’s said to be delicious.
  • Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, take a cooking class that focuses on Mediterranean cuisine.
  • For a more elaborate celebration, why not host an olive oil tasting party? Try out different types of olives, marinated olives and combinations with other types of food and drinks.
  • And if you’re feeling really ambitious and decadent, plan a trip to Italy, Greece, or Spain, where you can see olive trees in their natural habitat and taste some of the best olive oil in the world and learn about the process of making this liquid gold.
  • And don’t forget to share your experience on social media using appropriate hashtags like #ExtraVirginOliveOilDay or #PassionateOlive.

You can keep it simple by trying out a new olive oil recipe or snacking on some delicious olives. Or you can go all out and organize an olive oil tasting party, invite your foodie friends over, and explore different flavors and varieties. You can also attend events and workshops that promote the culinary and health benefits of olive oil. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #ExtraVirginOliveOilDay and #PassionateOlive to share your experience on social media.

Safety Tips: Don’t Get Slicked

Now, before you go off slathering yourself in olive oil or trying to juggle jars of the stuff, let’s talk safety.
WWhile olive oil may not be the most dangerous thing in the world, it’s still important to take some precautions.

  • Slipping and falling is a real risk, especially if you spill some of that slick, delicious oil on the ground. So be sure to clean up any spills immediately and be extra cautious when walking around.
  • Make sure to use good quality oil and store it properly to avoid spoilage. You do not want to commit any culinary crimes.
  • If your celebration involves cooking with olive oil, make sure to handle it with care. Always use oven mitts when handling hot pans or pots, and never leave cooking oil unattended on the stove. And of course, never pour water into hot oil as it can cause dangerous splatters and burns.
  • If you’re planning on climbing an olive tree to get the best olives, make sure you have proper equipment and safety measures in place.
  • If you’re planning on doing any heavy lifting (like moving those big ol’ jars of oil), be sure to lift with your legs, not your back.
  • If you’re planning on indulging in some delicious olive oil-infused snacks, remember to enjoy them in moderation. Or else, you will get fat. Sorry, olives are relentless.
  • Also, if your celebration involves a lot of sitting and snacking, don’t forget to get up and move around once in a while. Take a little dance break or try some simple and fun exercises to keep your body moving and avoid any stiffness or cramps.
  • If you have pets or wildlife around, be sure to keep your olive oil safely stored away. Animals can be attracted to the smell and taste of oil, and ingesting it can be harmful or even deadly.

In Conclusion

As with all good things in life, it’s important to celebrate and appreciate the small things, like a good olive oil drizzle.
So go forth, indulge in some delicious snacks, and enjoy the many health benefits of this amazing culinary wonder with wild abandon.
And if anyone asks why you’re celebrating, just tell them Wild Calendar gave you permission!
Happy Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day!

Wild Calendar