Inspired by her Syrian forebears’ intimate relationship with the olive, Julie Angus embarks on a voyage around the Mediterranean to unlock the secrets of the fruit that meant so much to them. Accompanied by her husband and their ten-month-old son, Angus collects samples from ancient trees to determine where the first olive tree originated; feasts on inky black tapenades and codfish drizzled with olive oil, among many other delights; witnesses the harvesting of olives in Greece; and visits perhaps the oldest olive tree in the world, on Crete. The result is a fascinating history and biography of this most influential and irresistible fruit.
Olive Odyssey – Searching for the Secrets of the Fruit that Seduced the World
Guaranteed to move readers from casual consumers of olive products to enthusiastic aficionados, Angus’s book, which sparkles with the sights, smells, tastes and stories of the Mediterranean olive, is as informative as it is infectious.
An engaging mix of history, food travelog, and botany lesson . . . There is much to enjoy here, especially for foodies and armchair historians.
Watch the Olive Odyssey Trailer
Olive Odyssey is also a beautifully written travelogue, describing in enticing detail some lesser known places along the Mediterranean coastlines of Spain and France, the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and Greece. Angus writes with an engaging narrative voice, often sharing personal thoughts and emotions…
A fascinating exploration for olive lovers, foodists, and culinary adventurers alike. Olive Odyssey is yet another impressive conquest on Angus’s enviable list of super-human accomplishments.
Olive Odyssey has many strengths: its contribution to scientific and historical research on olives, good food and travel writing, a sense of humour and an eye for detail, and a sense of adventure and exploration.
Angus excels in tracing the history of the olive: any botanist or cook will walk away from Olive Odyssey well-informed on the plant and its products.
See Photos from the Expedition
Read an Excerpt from the Book
I inhaled deeply, savoring the smell of roasted garlic, browned lamb, and exotic spices that perfumed my aunt Noura and uncle Nabi’s apartment in Aleppo. Their faux-wood coffee table with its skinny aluminum legs struggled under the weight of pomegranate-infused lamb stew; chicken baked in a creamy yogurt sauce; salad topped with fried triangles of pita bread; bowls of steaming lentil soup; and platters of cigarlike rolls of meat and rice tightly wrapped in vine leaves, stuffed baby eggplant, and torpedo-shaped patties of fried bulgur and ground beef known as kibbeh. This feast was to celebrate our arrival, my first…