Koroneiki – A Little Olive That Delivers a Peppery Zing In Your Throat

I’ll wrap up my look at the olive varietals that we grow with a primer on the Koroneiki olive. It produces our most robustly flavored oil. Koroneiki Olives

How so? We rate the intensity of our oils through an informal method: the “cough system.” It refers to the number of times you might cough when you swallow the oil and experience that peppery tickle in your throat.

More robust oils equal more coughs. Our Koroneiki oil is a classic example of a robust oil, producing two or three coughs among consumers, chefs, you name it.

The Koroneiki olive is the third of the three olive varieties we grow in northern California. (Click the following links to read blog posts about our other two varietals: Arbosana and Arbequina.) It’s also our smallest olive crop, accounting for about 5 percent of our total.

The small, slightly asymmetric Koroneiki olive hails from Greece. The Koroneiki olive tree has grown in that country for more than 3,000 years. The drought resistant tree is a prolific olive producer. And the olive itself is a prodigious producer of oil.

In addition to a fruity nose and a strong, peppery finish, our Koroneiki oil typically is characterized by aromas of fresh grass and artichokes. The aromatic flavor elicits words like herbaceous, green tea, fruity and ripe banana.

Unlike Arbequina and Arbosana, we don’t bottle our Koroneiki oil as a single varietal oil. Our 2012 Koroneiki olive crop, in particular, produced oil that is specifically selected for blending with our Arbequina and Arbosana. The intense flavor profile of our Koroneiki also adds something very special to our Miller’s Blend and our Everyday Fresh oils.

With the robust flavor profiles of our current Koroneiki crop, the percentages of this varietal is very low; but the impact this has on our selected blends is incredible . When tasting our Miller’s Blend, for example, you’ll enjoy the finish because of the addition of our Koroneiki. This is truly an oil unto itself – world class in every tasting note. What’s more, the complexity of Koroneiki makes it a favorite among people who enjoy a Tuscan-style flavor profile.

Like the Arbosana olive, we have to be especially careful when we harvest our Koroneiki olives. If harvested too early, the flavors are green and harsh and take time to settle out.

By the way, there’s a scientific explanation behind that peppery and pleasant tickle you get at the back of your throat when you swallow a good extra virgin olive oil. And researchers say the findings may prove useful in combating deadly diseases. (Click here to see a blog about the medical significance.)

In addition to producing that peppery notes, the little Koroneiki olive delivers a healthful punch. It has a very high level of polyphenols, the chemical substances found in plants that may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bon appétit,

California Olive Ranch Master Miller Bob Singletary