culture, history, photography, technical, travel, world

Visiting an olive soap manufature

610_7743_wToday, I have another craftsman for you: a soap maker. He produces soap from olive oil following a traditional receipt. As he told us, ones there were many of them on Corfu and everywhere in Greece. He told us, he is the last one on Corfu and there were only 5 more in Greece. What a pity.

He explained the whole process of making the green olive soap for the body, the more sensitive soap for the face and the (white) curt soap for washing the clothes.

The small soap tower in front of him are soap bars from different age. The lowest one is a fresh bar and every next level above is an additional month older compared to the level below. Do you see, how the structure and the color changes? In the gallery blow, there is an image of the whole tower, where you can see it much better. The bar on top of the tower is a cut-through-bar, so that you can see the inner parts. You can see, in the middle the bar is still green and not ripe to be used. A fresh bar of olive oil soap can’t be used. It has to ripe for at least half a year.

In the image above, you can also see two of his tools: the hammer to stamp his seal in each bar in the right and in the left a tool to cut the whole soap plate in smaller pieces. Both of them are also in the gallery below in detail. The cooked hot soap is poured in the rectangular flat mould. After cooling down for some time, the hammer prints the seal in each future bar and then is is cut in pieces. He has to wait for the right moment. If he waits too long, the soap is too brittle and might break. Behind him to the right you can see one storage shelf for the rising process. These shelves are also in the gallery a little bigger.

In the gallery you can also find images of his shop and how the soap is sold.

Stay tuned!

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art, culture, history, landscape, nature, photography, travel, world

Visiting a wood workshop

 

610_7803_wIn many places you can see displays standing in the streets giving direction to the workshops of craftsmen and artisans working with olive wood.

They are producing a great variety of products from the olive wood: i.e. bowls, honey spoons, salat servers, barbecue tongs, plates and many more things for the kitchen. You can also buy some toys or a chess game. Or, even some thinks for decorating your house.

The final parts are polished and oiled with olive oil. You have to apply some oil every now and then, when the wood becomes gray and blunt.

Stay tuned!

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culture, photography, travel, world

In the Oli Mill

610_8747_wAlthough, my plans were different for today’s post, I bring up the post on the oil mill as it completes my last posts regarding the olive trees.

A simple sign beside the road offered a sightseeing of an oil mill. We stopped our car and accepted. Outside the building in modern industry style, were old mills set up.

In the pre-industry times, the olives were grinded by big round millstones pulled by donkeys. Then the mash came in the next stage. Here it was pressed, to get the oil out of the mash. In the early 20th century a steam machine overtook the donkeys job as well as the mens job at the press.

Today, we have a washing machine first, were the farmers throw in their olives. Next, they are milled and centrifuged by different machines to be filtered before bottling the native oil. The machines are cooled to keep the oil from getting to warm. That’s because the oil looses quality when getting to warm during the production process.The remaining parts from the pit shells are pressed into pellets to be sold for pellet heatings.

At this point, we were shown a documentary to learn, how the olives are collected at harvest time and how the machines produce the oil. Harvest time is in winter, and during summer there is no work to be done in the mill. So, they produced a little documentary for the visitors showing all processes in action. What a great idea.

Before we left the building, we have had to pass a table with some oil cans and were allowed (had to) taste the oil: 2 different pure oils and an oil spiced up with garlic. The idea here: get the tourists to buy some cans 🙂 I expected this. The price was OK, so I bought a can. I like cooking with olive oil, so the can is already empty. What a pity. It tasted way better than the oil available in the grocery stores around.

Stay tuned!

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culture, history, landscape, nature, photography, travel, world

Olive forests everywhere

610_7330-ef_wOn Corfu you can find many, many old olive tree forests. Corfu was a colony of the Venetian Republic for growing olive trees to produce oil. Everywhere you can find these forests, even next to the streets.

Although, I’ve read about this fact before, I was quite impressed by these forests. For me, a forests consists of high trees standing next to each other. Their treetops form a dense roof. Only few light can pass this roof during summer. Only in winter and early spring the light has a chance to reach the ground. But, these olive tree forests are so translucent.

Also the trees themselves. They are so impressive. Look at their shapes and how big they are, compared to our rental car.

We also visited an olive oil mill. I’ll show you some images in a separate post. Here we learned, on Corfu olives are not picked. The trees are way too high to pick the olives. Instead, huge fabrics are spread below the trees to collect the falling olives. In some forests these fabrics stay on the ground, in others they stay furled and in a few forests we saw no fabrics. Maybe the latter were given up or the farmer have taken them home.

At harvest time, the fabrics are spread under the trees carefully. Now, the people are shaking the tree branches with long bars to make the olives fall down. All the olives drop in the fabrics now, where they are collected for further handling. Most of them for producing oil.

Stay tuned!

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art, landscape, nature, photography, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 2-19

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Here we are again: driving  around on Corfu, stopping every now and then for having a look and taking some photos.

You can find thousands of olive trees on Corfu. This ist not so special, because this is true for Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, the Greek mainlands and other countries around the Mediterranean Sea as well. But here, the trees are very old and big. Many of the forests were planted back in the 13th – 15th century, when Corfu was part of the Venetian Republic. (I already wrote about this in one of my last posts).

In this forest, the treetops aren’t too thick. They still let some light come to the ground. So, many other plants are able to grow here. I also like the light-patches on the ground.

Do you like such monochrome photos, too? There are much more to explore here and at the blog of Leanne Cole, an Australian photographer from Melbourne. She organizes Monochrome Madness, a weekly event for lovers of monochrome photos, now running in the second year. Check it out!

Take care!

Btw. as always: click on the photo to see it in a higher resolution