`Celebrating Olive Oil Culture and Cuisine in Burhaniye - Olive Oil Times

Celebrating Olive Oil Culture and Cuisine in Burhaniye

Feb. 2, 2011
Umut Egitimci

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By Umut Egitimci
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Istanbul

Even as the world’s fourth biggest pro­ducer, the con­sump­tion of olive oil in Turkey may be less than other Mediterranean coun­tries but the efforts are wor­thy. When it comes to cre­at­ing an inter­est for olive oil, Balıkesir’s Burhaniye dis­trict sets an exam­ple for the domes­tic indus­try and beyond. Located in the Aegean region of Turkey, Burhaniye is a town and dis­trict of Balıkesir Province. The town’s rich his­tory dates back to the ancient times and as of today it’s a small but nice town, mostly famous for its olive oil. And this Turkish town’s munic­i­pal­ity hosted the 7th International Olive and Olive Oil Festival in the past days.

The three-day fes­ti­val started with a great open­ing cer­e­mony which took place in the town’s cen­ter called Cumhuriyet Meydanı (Republic Square). After the national anthem, Mayor Fikret Akova made a speech on the impor­tance of this fes­ti­val and thanked the par­tic­i­pants. Folk dance per­for­mances fol­lowed by the local women with tra­di­tional cos­tumes per­form­ing cross talk of old and funny poems as well as singing tra­di­tional songs. During the fes­ti­val, there were olive oil pro­duc­ers pre­sent­ing their best oils and a culi­nary com­pe­ti­tion where local women cooked tra­di­tional dishes with olive oil.

As one of the rich­est and old­est in the world, Turkish cui­sine has a spe­cial cat­e­gory of dishes made with olive oil.” The tal­ented women of Burhaniye cooked these deli­cious dishes like Zeytinyağlı Yeşil Fasulye (string beans in olive oil), Imam Bayıldı (egg­plant is cut and stuffed with onion, green pepper/ served cold), Zeytinyağlı Kuru Fasulye (hari­cot beans in olive oil), Zeytinyağlı Enginar (arti­choke cooked with pieces of pota­toes, car­rots and peas) as well as dif­fer­ent types of pas­tries called börek”. It was not an easy com­pe­ti­tion and no mat­ter who won it proved one thing: good olive oilenriches the fla­vor of food.

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As a part of the fes­ti­val, there were also exhibitons of pho­tog­ra­phy, glass­works as well as bal­let and folk dance per­for­mances and folk music con­certs. There was even a taek­wondo com­pe­ti­tion with an award cer­e­mony. In addi­tion to these fes­tive and fun acti­tiv­i­ties, the local cham­ber of com­merce orga­nized a panel on the olive oil indus­try and its ben­e­fits to the local economy.

It’s very well known that the Aegean coast of Turkey has a rich his­tory of olive cul­ti­va­tion and since antiq­uity the region is famous for its finest qual­ity of olive oils. But Burhaniye dis­trict in par­tic­u­lar is con­sid­ered to be one of the best regions in olive pro­duc­tion which deserves recog­ni­tion and appre­ci­a­tion. And in Burhaniye, after the hard work of olive pick­ing and pro­duc­ing olive oil, there comes the time for cel­e­bra­tion. Burhaniye Olive Oil fes­ti­val is an inti­mate one com­pared with the large fes­ti­vals around the world but it cre­ates great joy for the town peo­ple. If you hap­pen to visit this lovely town next win­ter, do not miss your chance to attend this won­der­ful event and share the taste of deli­cious local olives and olive oil.


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