Did you know that Kalamata olives are one of the healthiest foods in the world? They're found in the Greek city of Kalamata, so why not taste them while you're visiting? The hot, sunny weather here is perfect for growing all kinds of fruit and vegetables. But, none are as famous as the world-renowned olives, and after one bite, you'll know why they've caused such a stir. Packed full of vitamin A, adding this dark cherry-sized fruit to your diet will do you a lot of good.
What makes Kalamata olives so special?Thanks to the hot Greek sunshine, olive trees in Kalamata flourish and prosper for most of the year. The olive itself is usually a brown or black colour with a smooth but meaty texture. They grow from the olive trees in both Laconia and Messinia. You can spot this type of tree a mile away due to their large leaves. Don't forget to bring a few of these tasty olives back home for friends and family to try. If you want to preserve them for longer, keep them in olive oil or even wine vinegar. People seek Kalamata's olives because doctors have sung their praises for years. They're incredibly healthy, providing you with lots of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. If you add them to your regular diet, studies have proven that they can help reduce your risk of various cancers. They'll even decrease your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
Try olives in a local restaurantYou've got a few options when it comes to finding and sampling Kalamata olives during your visit. The easiest is to find a restaurant or taverna that serves them. Thankfully, most cafes and local restaurants have olives on the menu. So, you can try them with your meal or order a variety of Greek foods to mix things up. They pair well with cheese, so try adding them as a topping to your pizza at dinner time or as part of your salad.
Tour olive millsTasting the olives is one thing but seeing what goes into growing and maintaining them is an entirely different experience. If you want to learn more about the olives, you can take an enjoyable tour of an olive mill. You'll see how the growers gently pick the olives by hand, before taking them to be prepared as table olives or even olive oil. If this sounds like a tour you would enjoy, head to the rural village of Parapougki. Here, you'll find the Andelea Benakopoulos Olive Mill. It's just a 25 minute drive from Kalamata. If you take a car, you won't have to wait long before you can start touring and tasting the fresh olives. But, there's also buses that can take you close to the mill. When you arrive, you'll tour the entire estate and explore the century-old olive grove that has been in the same family for over four generations. Once you're done exploring the trees, you can learn how olive oil is made in the private mill. Your tour guide will take you through the entire process from the moment the olive is plucked to when it finds its way inside a bottle in your cupboard. The best part is that you can go and pick some olives to create your own homemade bottle of olive oil to take away with you.
Try other dishes in KalamataAlthough the olives are superb, you may want to branch out and try a few other local fruits and dishes during your visit. After all, Greece is known for its delicious cuisine. While you're exploring the city, follow the fresh scent of baked goods until it leads you to the Bread Bakery and Deli in the town centre. Here, you'll find a variety of homemade buns, bread, cakes and everything in between. If you're looking for something a little more filling, try a delicious Moussaka in the Ta Rolla restaurant. The Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish that looks a little like a casserole but tastes a thousand times better. It's made with fresh ingredients, so you can be sure you're in for a treat. Of course, you'll have an entire menu of great dishes to choose from so you'll definitely find something for everyone. Try the stuffed tomatoes and peppers with rice. Or, serve up some fried cod topped with a mouth-watering garlic sauce and wash it all down with a glass of house wine.