What can one say about the Peloponnesian olive oil? Olives are everywhere and the best of them are found in the mountainous regions generating about 120,000 tons of olive oil per year. It is true that the quality of olive oil is influenced by many things: from the moment the fruit forms on the tree, all the way to the time of consumption. Depending on factors such as climate and soil, the Peloponnesian olive oil and olives are renowned for their flavor characteristics and antioxidant properties.
They are considered valuable to man because they contain monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Year after year, because of the region’s favorable environmental conditions and the zeal of local olive growers, the Peloponnesian olive oil remains one of the most unique, flavorsome and delectable olive oils in Europe and is a Protected Designation of Origin product.
The region of Peloponnese is also known for the production of grapes. No wonder the leading role in the Peloponnese belongs to the wine, which accompanies traditional dishes, either as is, as an ingredient in sauces, or in the form of vinegar. However it is the cheese of the Peloponnese that stands out: gruyere, myzithra, and feta with a designation of origin are extremely tasty cheese. “Sfela” from the South parts, or the “fire cheese” as it is called, is a special cheese with a strong character and a peppery flavor. Cheese is an integral part of the Peloponnesian tradition. It is a food with high protein, rich in calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, vitamins A and B12. The herbs of the Peloponnese are also a real treasure. Herbs with unique qualities grow in the mountains. Laurel, mountain tea, “St John’s wort”, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, chamomile and many other plants form the rich world of Peloponnesian herbs. Their use in cooking and pastry boost the pleasure of taste, while creating an arsenal to be used by the human body against diseases. A huge variety and an infinite wealth of seeds, fruits and vegetables are also part of the Peloponnesian banquet: pomegranates, oranges and apples with a unique scent. The citrus fruits of the Peloponnese (oranges, lemons, grapefruits) are the real stars and an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of amino acids, potassium, calcium, iron, iodine, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, chlorine and zinc with strong antioxidant properties.
To the visitor of the Peloponnese, the list of unforgettable tastes goes on and on. Traditional pasta (noodles, trachanas), combined with local meats, generate unique dishes of high nutritional value and gastronomy, as they are cooked using local recipes and natural ingredients off the rich land of the Peloponnese. A characteristic example is the rooster or the chicken with tomato. The delicious tomato of the Peloponnese is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, potassium and manganese, metals, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and beta carotene, with strong antioxidant action, mainly due to its high lycopene content. Tomatoes also contain trace minerals that protect against cancer, regulate sugar levels, help reduce cholesterol and strengthen the bones. Enjoy your meal !

By Maria-Sofia Pelagidou
Dietician Msc