Olive oil is a household product and a staple-piece of Aegean & Mediterranean cultures. Anyone who has tasted an olive prematurely knows the bitterness of the fruit. So how did people think to make such a rich, flavorful product from something unsavory? Historical periodicals say the answer is in the local olives from the Urla Peninsula:
The fruit of the Erkence olive or the hurma olive, as it is widely known.
The olives from the Erkence olive tree ripen while they are still on the branches. Off shore winds carry a fungus vital to the life and the ripening process of the olive fruit. This causes the olive to change color from black to yellowish-brown. With the change in color, the fruit wrinkles to resemble a dark date. This process is so naturally perfect that a person can pluck the fruit and eat it right off the branches.
Today, this quaint town showcases a harmony of old-world tradition and a hidden gem of modern beauty. Boutiques and restaurants of fine local cuisine line the pier on the sapphire Aegean. Wine lovers taste exquisite products from local vineyards that are putting Turkey on the map as a renowned wine country. Shop in markets on ancient streets where artisan crafts are a common commodity.
But what truly makes Urla a place unlike any other is the people. Here, where old meets new, there is a hospitality shown to others that has long fallen out of practice elsewhere. The locals appreciate the gift of their land, its beauty and the bounty it offers them. Drive by in a modern vehicle and see women in the olive forests tending to the fruit as their ancestors did. These are a welcoming people who eagerly share the richness of their quiet home. Experience this hidden gem of the Aegean on your next trip and experience a flavorful culture and town unlike anywhere else.
For more information on the history of Turkey and olives,