Last month when I went down to “the Danforth” (Toronto’s Greektown) for the March 25th Greek Independence Day parade I sadly found out that one of the oldest Greek general stores was closing. Could it that many Greeks live in the ‘burbs and buy their ingredients elsewhere? Or do they buy from non-Greek businesses like supermarkets or big-box stores or worse…are they simply not buying Greek food items? Buy Greek!
Regardless, I felt the need to do my part to help promote Greek businesses offering their goods and services and I made a call out to Greeks on Twitter and Facebook to come forward and tell me their story. Did you know there are over a hundred Greek food items that have a PDO designation? A product gains PDO status from the European Union when it comes from a specific geographical location, uniquely made because of its location and method of being made. Products of PDO desgination will also have a seal to protect the consumer from buying counterfeiters cashing in on the original product’s cache. PDO Products are much like an appelation. Would you call Niagara sparkling wine a Champagne?
The first spotlight shines on Crete, this magical, blessed land where you see either mountains, goats and sheep or olive trees and sea. The Cretans are fiercely loyal to their friends and especially loyal to their local ingredients and traditional Cretan diet (some say the true Mediterranean diet). Today’s feature is on Candias Oil, Candia was the name given to Crete during Venetian rule and the name pops up here and there as you travel through Crete.
Candias Oil’s extra-virgin olive oil originates from the same olive-oil producing region, same soil and climate, its extracted from the same olive oil press/mill. Candias Oil selects their oil from small, family-type operations and small batch testing is constantly being made to ensure that acidity levels are below 0.8%. The standarization facility is located in Viannos, on the south coast of Crete in the Heraklion prefecture.
Candias Oil has three PDO-desginated olive oils: one from Viannos, another from Sitia and the third from Peza. I am not going to get into which of Greece’s olive oils are the best but I can and will tell you Greek olive is the best and I encourage to buy a bottle of Greek olive oil. You’ll never buy anything else, your food will taste differently and simple dishes will come alive. Buy Greek!
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