Tunisian Olive Oil

La culture de l'olivier en Tunisie date du 8ème siècle avant JC. Pendant des milliers d'années, l'olivier a été cultivé par les Phéniciens, les Grecs, les Carthaginois, les Romains et les Arabes.

Dans une tradition passée de père en fils, l'huile d'olive a été importante dans toutes les grandes civilisations qui ont prospéré en Tunisie, ce qui prouve la richesse du savoir-faire tunisien.

Aujourd'hui, la Tunisie est le principal producteur et exportateur d'huile d'olive dans le sud de la Méditerranée, après l'Union européenne.

De plus, pour valoriser ses vertus et pour rafraîchir la mémoire du consommateur, la Tunisie fête la fête de l'olive au troisième dimanche de novembre.

Where Tunisian olive oil comes from ?

Tunisia is the most important Olive-growing country of the southern Mediterranean region; over 30% of its cultivated land is dedicated to olive growing (1.68 million ha).

Tunisia has inherited a rich varietal heritage thanks to its location at the crossroads of many civilizations, its position on the trading routes between the Orient, Africa and Europe and themigration of the Andalusians.

Nevertheless, two varieties – ‘Chemlali’ and ‘Chetoui’ – make up the bulk of olive growing inTunisia. There are also other so-called secondary varieties specific to smaller regions such as the‘Oueslati’, ‘Chemchali’, ‘Zalmati’, ‘Zarrazi’, ‘Gerboui’ and ‘Sayali’ and further varieties grown inmore restricted locations.

Source: International Olive Council

How olive oil is made?

Olive Oil is produced by crushing the olive fruit including the stone into a paste and then extracting the oil from it. There are two ways of doing this: the traditional method using grindstones for the crushing and churning of the fruit and means of pressure to extract the oil; and the modern method using large mills to transform the olive fruit into paste and centrifuges for oil extraction.

The manufacturing process includes the following steps:

  1. Collecting and grading the olives
  2. Washing and milling the olives
  3. Creating an olive paste through malaxation
  4. Cold-pressing the olive paste to extract the oil
  5. Separating the oil from the vegetable water
  6. Storing and packaging the oil

How Tunisian olive oil is sold?

Tunisia is located at the junction of the eastern and western basin of the Mediterranean which makes it a regional hub for olive oil trade. Tunisian olive oil is sold bottled with competitive prices or in bulk.

Tunisian olive oil exports in the campaign 2015-2016 are about 115.000 Tones divided into …% in bulk and ….% bottled olive oil.

A decade ago, almost all Tunisia’s olive oil was sold in bulk to Italians and Spaniards who would blend it with their own olive oil, and repackage it under their label.

So all this added commercial value of packaged olive oil is not going back to the Tunisian stakeholders. Thus, you may consume Tunisian olive oil without knowing it!

Tunisian olive oil will be labeled from 2016; which will bring greater added value to the Tunisian’s flagship product.