Olive oil is a staple of the unique Mediterranean diet that has been enjoyed since antiquity, and it is without doubt that Greece produces the finest variety of olives and olive oil on the planet. The Olive & Olive Oil Museum in Sparti celebrates this rich fruit, and when in Sparti, so should you! Admission to the museum, located at Othonos-Amalias 129 in Sparta, is just 2 Euros.
Sparti’s Olive Museum captures and highlights the history and technology of oil production in Greece from the prehistoric times to the 20th century. Here, you will learn about the history of the olive tree, its contribution to the Greek economy, its use in daily life, role in a healthy diet, and symbolism in mythology. Nutrition related to the consumption of olives and olive oil are explained in one section of the museum, while another looks into the symbolisms, and worship of the olive tree. Among interesting pieces on display, the museum’s collection includes Byzantine era technology and oil presses, 60,000-year old fossilized olive leaves, texts about the olive that date back to the 14th century BC, and pieces of art celebrating the olive.
Also when traveling to Sparti, land of the famous 300 Spartans and King Leonidas, be sure to get a taste of this local snack. A favored local food, Lalagides are a fried dough-type of bread rolled thin and folded, almost like pretzels. They are best enjoyed with Kaseri or Feta cheese and olives. Lalagides are made from scratch with varying recipes combining flour, yeast, salt, sugar, eggs, milk, and of course, olive oil, in which they are fried. Tasty lalagides can be preserved up to a week, though they tend to disappear in no time!