Praised by the best olive oil experts and such internationally-renowned chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Maltese olive oil has unique characteristics which distinguish it from the rest.
Archeological discoveries show that 2000 years ago, the Romans were already producing olive oil in Malta. Immanuel Grima, who has inherited a passion for agriculture from his father, said that there has been a recent revival of interest in the olive oil industry.
We met with him at Wardija where he cultivates olive trees. He explained that one cannot compare Maltese olive oil with others which are imported and sold at a lower price.
“When you are using high-quality olives and obviously do not produce a large quantity such as in Malta’s case where the production is very low, and when you only use one variety, the product is going to have less volume,” Mr Grima pointed out.
He explained that just like in the wine industry, even in the olive-pressing industry there are factors which contribute to the high quality of olives one uses.
“Olive trees known as ‘tal-Bidni’, which are Maltese trees which have been growing in our country for many hundreds of thousands of years, produce a particular taste in the oil which is made from them. The taste is spicy, peppery, and has a lot of antioxidants and elevated Polyphenols which give it a unique taste.”
Mr Grima said that in Malta the production of olive oil is low, however he noted that oil producers are collaborating between them to promote the local product. He said that while ten years ago there was only one olive press in Wardija, today there are around ten even though it is not an industry from which one can make a living.
Mr Grima said that from 13 tumoli of land on which he has 600 olive trees, every year he produces between 200 – 250 litres of olive oil.