Homer, the greatest Greek poet in recorded history and author of the epics Iliad and Odyssey, referred to olive oil as “liquid gold”. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, proclaimed it “the great healer”. And although oliviculture has been a staple of the Greek way of life since the rise of its civilisation, one small corner of the country prides itself in creating premium extra virgin olive oil for millenia. Laconia, the region of the ancient kingdom of Sparta has been renown for its olive oil throughout the centuries.
The village of Metamorphosis in particular, named after the Orthodox Christian temple and monastery dedicated to the “Transfiguration of Christ”, in the area of Molaoi, close to picturesque Monemvasia town of Peloponnese, has been historically recorded for producing EVOO ever since 1301. That year is referenced in a so-called “chrysobull” or “golden bull”, i.e. an imperial decree, by the Eastern Roman/Byzantine emperor Andronicus Palaiologos II.
Further historical data record it being an active monastery under the Republic of Venice in 1699 following the Morean wars, under the guidance of an abbot, with 2 priest-monks, 4 monks, 3 workers paid for by the monastery, and 5 children leaving under its roof. The presence of children suggests that it played a parallel active role as a so-called “hidden school” for teaching Greek children their native language and Orthodox Christian doctrine under Ottoman rule.
Government documents of the new-found state following the Greek war of independence in 1821 mentioned that the monastery is to “be taken good care of, for the benefit of the Nation”, as a reward for its vital role in aiding Greek freedom fighters, with the state’s top officials issuing “intense and strict orders securing the above purpose.”
Having survived years of war against the Ottoman rule, a cultivated land of 300 acres with 587 olive trees remained untouched, which was considered a huge quantity at the time. Thus, one of the oldest varieties of olive trees was established and became known as “the Monasterian” variety, enjoying a reputation of excellence ever since.
That long-standing tradition in olive oil production led to the establishment of “Gold Metamorphosis”, a private company with a vision to promote and deliver to consumers only top quality agricultural products with an authentic and rich taste, particularly extra virgin olive oil and honey, from the area of Molaoi in Monemvasia. As the people of “Gold Metamorphosis” explain: “We believe that a healthy lifestyle and diet should never be a privilege; it should be a right, accessible to all. Our ‘recipe’ is pure and simple: quality, quality, quality -and respect for consumers.”
What the company has to offer is premium quality and special flavor, a result of ideally combining two very famous Greek olive oil varieties, Koroneiki and Athinolia. And you don’t have to take our word for it company products have already earned a respectable share of the domestic market, while also being exported in European markets, mainly UK and Denmark.
And if authentic extra virgin olive oil from a historical region is not enough to convince you, then the fact that it has been proclaimed a product of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Laconia, while earning 4 national and international awards, might do the trick.