Lesvos and Olive Oil
Lesvos has been a major producer of olive oil for nearly a millennium. 11 million olive trees cover 40% of this large, ecologically diverse island. Many of the groves are over 150 years old. Following the Great Frost of 1850, which killed most of the island’s olive trees, many farmers replanted the hardier Adramytianí varietal. These now make up the majority of Lesvos’ olives, but a smaller percentage of Kolóvi olives are also produced. More than half of the island’s 73 olive presses are community owned and operated.
A member of the UNESCO geological park network, the island of Lesvos’ ecology is unique and makes it ideally suited to olive cultivation. The combination of rich volcanic soil, mixed altitudes and a steady stream of sea breezes give the olive oils of Lesvos its unique characteristics: both Adramytianí and Kolóvi olive oils boast naturally low acidity (often as low as 0.4%), resulting in the mellow, lighter nature of these oils. Their distinctive golden yellow color (slightly less pronounced in the Kolóvi varietal) is the result of extremely low levels of chlorophyll. These oils are intensely fruity, with vibrant, complex aromas and a balanced mouthfeel. Bouquets can range from grassy and herbal to verdant and fresh, often with hints of green tomato or apple. Olive oils from Lesvos are only mildly bitter, with a peppery zing that varies from grove to grove and season to season. You may even find that you can taste the saltiness of the sea breezes that sweep over Lesvos from the Aegean!