Journal Travels

Cretan olive groves & olive oil tasting

September 21, 2016
koroneiki olives

For the last 6 years, I have been spending my summer holidays in Crete and, each time I have always brought back olive oil for my own consumption. It is one of my favorite olive oils to date! So this summer, once again I have carried back about 5 litters (mostly organic) from different estates around the island. Last week when I was at Ophelie’s for our photo session, I took the opportunity to organise a little tasting session (the more the merrier!). I was wondering if we would be able to notice the difference between the oils despite the fact that we are not olive oil ‘sommeliers’! I had brought my Greek olive oils plus one extra bottle I found in my Mother’s cupboard. It is from another region of Greece: Peloponnese.

olive groves_crete

Olive groves – Rethymno region

olives ripening

Koroneiki olive

As you can see from the images below, we tried 8 different olive oils. Some are produced from small family estates and others from big groups that export internationally. I bought metal tins for ease of transport and rebottled the local one #1. They are extra virgin oils, five of which are organic and all are made from the Koroneiki olive, which is the most popular variety in Greece.

olive oil tasting

Tasting selection

olve tree evening light

Olive tree and evening light – Agia Galini

olive groves messara

Olive groves – Messara region

olive groves sitia

Olive trees – Sitia region


All oils have their own taste and among the 7 Cretan oils, we could distinguish their subtleties however they pretty much all have a fresh herbal taste in comparison to the oil from Peloponnese, which has a citrus flavour #8. Some are spicy (#1, 2, 4 & 7), some others bitter (#2, 6 & 8), herbal (#2, 5, 6 & 7) and/or fruity (#3).

olive oil tasting_makers

Green colour palette

Actually, I really enjoyed doing this informal degustation, being able to compare all of them at once and tasting the differences. Ophélie preferred the olive oil #4 from Creta Verde. As for me, I picked the one from Gaea Krista Fresh #5, which is a limited edition of olive oil, bottled from the first pressing within three hours of olives being harvested. All in all, they are of great quality; so if you are planning to go to Crete soon, make sure to allow for space in your suitcase to bring back a few bottles.

Cretan olive tree

Old olive tree – Agia Galini

koroneiki olives

Koroneiki olives


Koroneiki olives

Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are independent from any of the mentioned olive producers. All olive groves photos were taken in Crete.


More olive oil news

Olive News

Olive Oil Times


About other Greek olive varieties

You can find more information here:

The Olive table



Where to shop

In London and the UK

Agora Greek Delicacies

Athenian Grocery

The Greek Larder

The Greek Deli

Hellenic Grocery

Food Philosophy, 106 George Street, London W1U 8

Isle of Olive

My Olive Branch

Maltby and Greek



In Australia

Check the blog Mulberry and Pomegranate for a list of delis in Sydney and Melbourne.


In Paris and France



Lakonis produits grecs


Ulysse et cie


Greece, Europe and beyond

Ergon foods


This list is not exhaustive and I am sure there are more great delis and online shops, so if you know some good ones, please share them here!

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  • Reply Carlota September 26, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    You had a great idea! There are some degustations in my town and I have never had the idea of going. I think I am going to join one as you bring me to curiosity after reading your post!

    Last week I bought some Greek olives in a recent opened store in my town and when I arrived home I was wondering which olive oil the owner did add to the olives as it was wonderful.

    As a consumer of only organic extra virgen olive oil I have lots of curiosity around all of this. Do you know if in Crete you can find a degustation of this?

    • Reply Sandrine September 27, 2016 at 7:42 am

      Thanks for your comment. It would be interesting to compare with Spanish oils!! I am not sure if there are proper degustation comparing other oils in Crete. I know in Paris they do. You can even find training to become a sommelier!

      • Reply Carlota September 27, 2016 at 9:22 pm

        That is so cool! ☺️

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