The European Commission gave the green light to add Agourelio Chalkidikis (Αγουρέλαιο Χαλκιδικής) to the list of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO). The European Union classification of a PDO product is given to highlight the uniqueness of a product that is produced in a specific geographical region. Agourelio Chalkidikis is the 28th Greek olive oil to be granted the special certification.
The Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Chalkidiki requested the designation for their local product three years ago. Agourelio Chalkidikis is known for its low acidity and distinct, bright green color and pleasantly bitter characteristics.
“The designation gives us more opportunity and adds more value to the product,” said Zacharoula Vassilaki, who produces the extra-virgin olive oil Ladopetra in the town of Polygyros in Chalkidiki. “Now, our olive oils must be produced and bottled right here in Chalkidiki so the true value stays with the product when we export it worldwide.” Vassilaki currently exports Ladopetra to Germany, Sweden and Slovakia.
Chalkdiki is located in the Greece’s northern province of Macedonia, just east of Thessaloniki. The new PDO designation of Chalkidi’s extra virgin olive oil follows the PDO certification of the region’s green olives last year. The large, oval, pale green olives are known for their slightly tart flavor.
“Chalkidiki producers create a special kind of olive oil. The olive harvest starts in northern Greece where the climate enables us to produce the first olive oil of the year in our country,” said Vassilaki. “The characteristics of the green olive from our region make our extra virgin olive oils an extremely healthy product.”
In a public statement, the Greek Minister for Rural Development and Food, Athanasios Tsaftaris, pointed out that the PDO designation is a great benefit for Greek olive oil producers and a boost for the economy. “The competitiveness of Greek agriculture cannot be based on low production costs, but the quality and uniqueness of its certified products. Europe and the whole world are turning towards quality agriculture and it is really an opportunity for our country to exploit the comparative advantages and the excellent quality of these products.”