Olive Odyssey

Olive Odyssey is a quest to expose the secrets of the world’s most influential fruit. How could greedy olive oil companies kill more than 1000 people? Why do Sardinians, who consume vast quantities of olive oil, have more centenarians than anywhere else? Who picked the first olive and forever changed the world?

The humble olive, all too often taken for granted on a slice of leftover pizza, is arguably the world’s most influential fruit. First cultivated some 8,000 years ago in the Middle East, the olive tree quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean and became an important commodity for empires that would help shape the modern world. Olive oil was not only a vital food to sustain the masses, but lubricated heavy machinery, sealed wooden ships, and fueled lamps. The olive branch became a universal symbol of peace and reconciliation, adorned the heads of Olympians and accompanied kings in their grave. For millennia much of the world agreed with Homer in the Odyssey; olive oil was “liquid gold”.

Our team will travel 3,500 km by small boat from Spain to the Middle East, retracing the trading routes of early seafaring merchants to explore the lands sculpted by the olive tree and uncover how the olive first came to those shores. This National Geographic sponsored expedition will take place from August to December 2011 by bestselling authors Julie Angus and Colin Angus and will be the subject of a book and documentary.

olive odyssey map


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