The Balsamic Vinegar Kalamata Papadimitriou differs because it is produced in Kalamata, solely from Corinthian sundried currants, which are rich in sugars and antioxidants. On the contrary the Italian Balsamic Vinegars are produced from wine. Consequently our balsamic vinegar is naturally dark and sweet, so we don’t have to use any caramel to improve its color and taste. Furthermore it doesn’t contain sulphites which are found in the wine from which the other balsamic vinegars are produced.
The production of balsamic vinegar is connected in the minds of the consumers with Italy and especially with the area of Modena. But traditionally, Greece, Portugal and Spain produce also sweet vinegars with a similar method. In Greece the corresponding vinegar is called Glykadi since ancient times and its production evidence is well documented even in years B.C..
Our balsamic vinegar contains only the natural sugars of Corinthian currants. The other balsamic vinegars, apart from these which are very expensive, aged and not comparable with the others, contain caramel. Caramel is a coloring and sweetening substance and it adds to the balsamic a thicker texture and sweet taste. Our balsamic is naturally sweet and aromatic, which is not true for any balsamic containing caramel.
The new legislation requires aging for several months, which is not easily possible for large amounts of vinegar. There is the possibility of producing aged balsamic vinegar for specified amount keeping in mind all the restrictions this entails.
Our balsamic creams are produced from our Balsamic vinegar. Their production is based on knowledge and experience that the company has acquired over time by preparing the range of our Mediterranean mustards. So the recipes are created by us and monitored throughout the process of their production. Unlike with us most commercial creams outsourced so they don’t differ in taste. The combination of the caramel and the lack of balance in flavor and texture doesn’t allow these creams to be used in a more versatile way: as an ingredient in salas, soups, roasts, marinades, cooked food and even desserts.
There are two types of black olives which in turn are divided into four categories. We have olives naturally ripened on the tree and olives which become black by chemical means. Depending on the preparation process which makes olives edible we divide the olives into:
- Spanish type: soaked in water with lye to remove bitterness
- Natural type: soaked in brine to remove bitterness
- Wrinkled: left on the tree until ripe and sweet
- Baked in oven (semidried)
- Kalamata olive turns black naturally on the tree. It is collected when dark and then it is processed in brine. Because Kalamata olive is 100% natural it can be preserved for at least two years. It is considered to be the Rolls Royce of olives.
Kalamata olives with the unique shape and the little stone grow in the central and south Greece. In the latest years Chile and Australia started to grow Kalamata olives and in the last decade Egypt did the same. Because of the climatic conditions and the elements of the soil there are some basic differences with the Greek ones. Chile’s olives are purple and soft, they color the water, are fairly blunt in taste and they can be preserved for one year. Australia’s olives are small in size and lack any special taste. Egypt’s olives are very big, with soft but again tasteless flesh and they can be kept only for eight to ten months.
Traditionally, the biggest producers of Kalamon olives are Laconia and Messinia regions of Peloponnese. Kalamon olive and Amfissa’s olive (Green and Black) were the first edible olives that Greece exported. Kalamata or Kalamon olive was named after the port from which they were exported (port of Kalamata city). In the latest years the people of Messinia region try to establish a PDO characterization for their olives and to keep the name Kalamata only for their production. If Messinia achieves that, this will signify a big problem for the rest producers of Kalamata olives. The price of Kalamata olive would increase greately and a strong brand name would be lost. The total exports of Kalamata olives exceed 45.000 tons while the production of Messinia region does not exceed 7.000 tons. The relation between supply and demand and the knowledge of simple economics shows that the separation of Kalamon olives and Kalamata olives PDO has to be avoided.
When we want to make a traditional pizza we need an intense taste of olives. Apart from Kalamata olives the rest black olives do not have such strong flavor. Due to the cost in most cases we find black oxidized olives on pizza’s which unfortunately don’t add any taste at all.
In the traditional recipe of Kalamata olives we use vinegar at the last level of the process. We can avoid this step for consumers who don’t like the taste of the vinegar by replacing the traditional vinegar with cider vinegar or acetic acid for religious reasons. We can totally avoid its usage by adding lactic acid.
The traditional preparation process and the need for a better preservation require the salt level to be around 8%. In retail packages the salt level is reduced at 4% because of pasteurization. We can keep Kalamata olives with even less salt in the fridge for a short period of time or submerged in olive oil for longer time.
The main difference is that they grow on different types of olive trees and they have different sizes. The biggest Spanish olive is of Jumbo- Extra Jumbo size while the biggest Greek is of Atlas size. The Greek green olives that are destined for exports are from Colossal to S.S. Mammoth size. Although the preparation process and the process with which the bitterness is removed is the same there are differences in taste. Last but not least we should point that Spanish olives due to their small size can’t be stuffed with whole natural ingredients but only with artificial stuffings in a form of a strip with flavors. These stuffings are very cheap and are placed in the olive cavity by a special machine. As a result of that these olives have substantially lower cost. On the other hand Greek green olives are stuffed with natural ingredients, whole (garlic, almond etc.) or sliced (jalapeno, red pepper etc.). This is a manual process which raises significantly the total cost of production.
The main difference is in their processing and preparation. Amfissa’s olives are naturally soaked in brine and Chalkidiki’s olives are soaked in water with lye (Spanish type processing) then they are washed and placed in brine. The other differences are related to their physiology as they have different shape, color, taste and texture.
The only difference is that green olives are collected earlier from the trees and the black ones stay on the trees until fully ripe and dark in color.
This type of olive is cultivated for olive oil production. Its content in olive oil is higher when compared to other edible olives. Additionally it is bigger than the other olives which are traditionally used for olive oil production. Its preparation process has three steps. At first we crack it or we carve it. Then we leave it in brine (natural process) and as a last step we add lemon and herbs (oregano, thyme) for extra flavor.
The main difference is the content of olive oil. The olives for olive oil production are small with a small stone. Their ratio between stone and flesh is almost the same. Edible olives are much bigger and their ratio between flesh and stone is greater in favor of their flesh.
The content of olive oil in these olives is very low and the quality of their olive oil is quite poor without any taste and aroma. Furthermore the acidity of this olive oil is very high, while the chemical characteristics deteriorate very fast, ending well below the standards of extra virgin olive oil.
The categories of olive oil that are regulated by legislation and recognized by the International Olive Oil Council are the following:
- Extra virgin olive oil: acidity level lower or equal to 0,8%
- Virgin olive oil: acidity level higher than 0,8% and lower than 2%
- Olive oil: mix of refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, acidity level lower than 1%
- Olive Pomace Oil: mix of refined olive pomace oil and extra virgin olive oil, acidity level lower than 1%
- Within the category of Extra Virgin Olive oil you will find
- Organic Extra Virgin – certified product of organic farming
- PDO and PGI Extra Virgin olive oils – originating from certain geographical areas which define their overall taste profile.
- Within the category of Olive oil you will find variations in the % of Extra virgin olive oil mixed in the refined olive oil. You will come across names such as pure olive oil and light olive oil.
Both of them are extra virgin olive oils, complying with the standards and characteristics that define this category. PGI extra virgin olive oils are produced in specific wider geographic areas. The climate, the elements of the soil and the types of olive trees of these areas give at the olive oil some special organoleptic characteristics. PDO extra virgin olive oils are produced in more specified areas where we usually find one or two types of olive trees. These olive trees combined with the climate and the elements of the soil in these areas create a unique olive oil with specific and distinct features.
The two main factors that influence the performance of the olive fruit are the type of olive tree and the period during which the olives are collected. On the average we need three to five kilos of olives in order to produce one kilo of olive oil.
This olive oil comes from olives collected before their complete maturation.
Olive oil before its bottling goes throw some filters which hold everything else apart from olive oil. The small bits of olive are like the bits which we find in orange juice. Some consumers prefer the unfiltered olive oil.
The Greek varieties of olive trees are traditional and without any modifications. These two elements make them different.
- Because of the varieties of olive trees and the small production capacity the olive oil in Greece is 80%-85% extra virgin olive oil. In Italy this rate is 50-55% and in Spain only 25-30%.
- Olives in Greece are collected by the hand and no with mechanical means. Also olives are processed for extraction in less than 48 hours.
- The production of olive oil in Greece is divided between too many producers. This situation results in the lack of massive processing units which reduce the quality of the final product. Most producers keep the 1/3 of their production for own consumption. For this reason they care even more about the quality of their olive oil.
Olive oil is the most healthy and tasty oil. Many chefs use olive oil in for their cooking. Olive pomace oil is considered as the strongest oil for frying with the higher smoking point. The main reason is that the olive oil and olive pomace oil are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. These acids do not produce free radicals when heated.
There are several reasons supporting this choice:
- Reduced operating expenses for the producer which in turn reduce the production cost, impacting positively on the selling price.
- Increased flexibility in order-taking and execution.
- Specialized export managers with wider knowledge and experience in exports. These managers also know how to support retail and wholesale channels.
- Knowledge of the legislation of each country and compliance on both food packaging and export formalities.
- Immediate response.
In developed economies is very common to assign an external company to undertake the export department of small or medium size enterprise. This is because inherently the operation of an export department, from its manning to its maintenance is associated with high operating and marketing costs that have a relatively longer payback period. This situation is can be explained easily as:
- It needs specialized staff.
- Increased flexibility in order-taking and execution.
- It needs participation at exhibitions and multiple international travels
- Many commercial agreements need 3-4 times longer time to conclude when comparing export markets to domestic.
The prices of the outsourced export department are lower than these of a company using an in house export department due to the following reasons:
- The producer reduces his operating costs (travels, exhibitions, salaries)
- The cost for the support of a product in international markets will decrease due to synergies.
- The outsourced export department has the necessary information for every export market and framework of the competitive prices on the shelf.
- The public relation expenses for the producer are null.
- Extensive export experience translates into a large number of available contacts in a database for business development.
- The synergies of products and customers, result in cross-selling, meaning that more than one product is sold to one distributor and with better bargaining power.
- The entry costs of a product in an export market are smaller.
- The outsourced export department has as target the increase of sales. This target can be long-term (5years), medium-term (3years) or short-term (1year).