Dipping bread into olive oil with red pepper flakes and thyme is a great tradition in Turkish culinary culture
It is said that there are two trees in Paradise: The fig and olive. The olive is the “Tree of Life.” The olive is no doubt an “immortal tree” that is eternalized in symbols, myths, legends, poems, novels and paintings. It is a symbol of holiness, plenty, justice, health, pride, victory, prosperity, wisdom, intelligence, purity and rebirth.
Olives are loved in the Mediterranean, Aegean and southern Turkey for the many vital byproducts. The olive and olive oil sector in Turkey occupies a major place in the country’s industry, trade and agriculture. Turkey is the world’s fourth largest olive producer. Approximately 3 percent of farmland in Turkey consists of olive groves and the Aegean region ranks first in olive production, followed by the Mediterranean and the Marmara region. In general, olives from the Aegean coastal town of Ayvalık are considered the best in Turkey.
On a typical Turkish breakfast table, olives and olive oil are indispensable for many because dipping bread into olive oil with red pepper flakes and thyme is a great tradition in Turkish culinary culture. Olives are commonly eaten at breakfast and used as a snack with bread, tea, cheese or tomatoes. There are also dozens of cold Turkish meze (appetizers) called “zeytinyağlı,” in which the main ingredient is olive oil.
Virgin olive oil “sızma,” is the most natural, least refined oil and derived from simple cold pressing. Another kind of oil is “Riviera,” which is a mixture of pure and refined olive oil.
In addition to its great taste, olive oil is considered a healthy oil because of its contents and is used in a wide range of fields including cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, soaps and also as fuel for traditional oil lamps. It protects the bones, joints, skin, liver and heart and is said to slow aging! That’s why Mediterranean cuisine, which is based on olive oil-dominated dishes, is considered to be one of the world’s most healthy cuisines.
The ancient Greeks used to bathe with oil. You can likewise apply a small amount of extra virgin olive oil daily directly to dry spots and stretch marks in order to moisturize dry skin. Olive oil is also used in lip balm, shampoo, bath oil, hand lotion, soap, massage oil, dandruff treatment, etc.
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