Olive oil is an integral part of the history, economy, and culture of all Mediterranean countries, especially Greece and Cyprus. For Cypriots, olive oil remained an indispensable product for centuries. Along with the Greeks, they are the most significant consumers of oil per capita, and it’s 70% of the total amount of fat consumed by Cypriots.
We will not talk about factory manufacturing, but we can talk about the village olive oil production which, of course, is the most valued. In the harvest season, the local residents take the olives, collected from the trees, to small rustic hangars where the oil mills are located. Jumping ahead to the end of the extraction process, the customer receives the oil he collected himself. This oil is the highest grade, the first direct extraction, or extra virgin oil. First the olives are weighed and then sent to the sink on the automatic conveyor. Thoroughly washed and cleaned of debris, the olives are placed in a special container with millstones, where they are mashed. Then the resulting mash is diluted with water and loaded into a special apparatus where the mixture is separated into three fractions: water, dry pomace and the oil itself. Next the oil passes the final stage of processing – filtration. This is when the oil begins to flow. It is the long-awaited moment – the olive oil begins to drip, slowly at first, then faster, into the vessels. The whole extraction process takes about 3-4 hours. Customers aren’t bored during this time. As a rule, the small oil mills have a self-service kitchen where you can make Cypriot coffee, toast with rustic bread, and taste the olive oil, dipping the bread in it. You can discuss the latest news with other customers waiting their turn. There is sometimes zivania and local homemade wine available too.