Although the olive tree is not indigenous to the Americas and Australia, it has thrived in both regions for over half a century. Every passing year the quality is improving and quantity increasing substantially, particularly in Chile where terroir (combination of soil and climate) lends itself very well to the olive tree.
The Chilean terroir stretching from Ovalle (400 Km north of Santiago) and Pelequen (125 Km. South of Santiago) is particularly suitable for olive groves.
Mediterranean peoples have been cultivating olives trees for millennia, and established by trial and error the most suitable types of soils and olive varieties. In southern Italy, certain varieties yield the best quality, whereas further north in Tuscany other varieties must be planted to obtain satisfactory results. The same is true in Spain, Greece and in every country where olives thrive.
In Chile, experts have taken advantage of research conducted to date, and determined through climatic data available in conjunction with soil maps, the most suitable regions. Then matched the terroir to the olive variety best suitable. Arbequina and Picual were imported from Spain, Frantoio, Leccina, Nocellar del Belice and Biancolilla from Italy. Other experimental varieties are also planted to determine their suitability.
Chile’s olive groves are located on the foot of the Andes Mountains, and benefit from the shelter they protect against cold eastern winds. Irrigation is a must since the summers are extremely dry. Some companies employ drip irrigation to advantage and restrict the amount of water judiciously to increase quality.
All trees are harvested by hand to ensure lives that are evenly ripe. Further inspection and sorting before pressing yields excellent and consistent quality.
Agromercial Valle Ariba founded in 1999 is a modern company equipped with the most modern Spanish and Italian olive presses on three locations to process the fruit harvested from their 450 hectares of groves in Ovalle and Pelequen. Valle Ariba chose Kardamili as the brand name for their olive oil in honour of the Greek village famous of its quality and taste since time immemorial.
Chilean extra virgin olive oil surpasses the lowest permissible acidity levels (.5 per cent) of European oils with .3 per cent yielding a smooth and deeply flavoured product.
Kardamili olive oils are both varietal (Arbequina and Frantoio), and blended for maximum flavour. They lend themselves very well for salad dressings, and for cooking, particularly for pan-frying, sautéing and deep-frying.
The health benefits of olive oil were well-established 30 years ago by Italian scientists and medical researchers. Since then North Americans and North Europeans have been using olive oil in large quantities. As demand increased, so did prices.
Chile has significant amounts of suitable land, and the luxury of abundant labour at low cost. Chilean olive oil tastes good, has an excellent vibrant green colour and resists high temperatures.
Kardamili is available in 250, 500 ml and one liter bottles at the Arz Gourmet Foods and Bakery; Denninger’s Delicatessen stores throughout Toronto and the Cheese Boutique.