Saturday, 2 March 2013

Tales from a Corfu olive press

We are driving out of the village when we first see them. Pick-up trucks piled high with bags fit to burst, with waggy-tailed dogs pacing up and down on top and looking rather excited.

We follow them to Vistonas, where a ramshackle collection of buildings is currently the centre of the local universe.
Inside, the place is steeped in the smell of olives.  A pick-up truck reverses, the driver stops, gets out and goes around to the back to take off the sacks.
The Alfa-Laval machinery, bright green and gleaming steel, clangs and spins and whirs as it is fed with the olives. The whole thing is a Mediterranean version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Down a chute they go and then up a steep conveyor belt before being shaken and washed and whooshed off to the macerator, where each section is labelled with the name of a customer on a chalk board.
No danger, then, of anyone getting the wrong batch at the business end.
The pulp shoots off to the press, with the residue whizzing upwards and out.
And the golden nectar that is the pure olive oil pours out into a container of shiny steel.
The oil is weighed and poured, glug-glug-glug, into massive containers and then the customer puts it back on the pick-up truck to take home.
But not before a bit of Feta sprinkled with paprika, some crusty bread soaked in fresh olive oil and a glass or two of home-made wine.
 That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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