Astrikas is located about 30 km west of the town of Chania on the highlands within the PDO area of Kolymbari. BIOLEA is an olive estate, which specializes in the traditional production of Cretan stone-milled and cold-pressed organic olive oil. Since its inception in 1994, BIOLEA has gained a high reputation in gourmet and health food markets internationally. This has been due to its unfailing dedication to a “slower” way of production, which aims at the highest quality of olive oil, while preserving all its nutritional benefits.
Astrikas Estate Agro Tour
The estate operates year round and its facilities were constructed to welcome visitors and students. The olive mill was built with a mezzanine, which provides visitors with a bird’s eye view of the entire olive oil production process. Moreover, there is a screening area with seating, where the estate’s olive oil can be sampled at the tasting bar and estate products purchased in the shop. The tour of the Astrikas Estate olive mill includes a tour of the factory, a visual presentation, olive oil tasting and olive oil appreciation, and a visit to the retail shop.
- On arriving at BIOLEA, visitors are given a brief introduction on the importance of olive oil to the Cretan people, the importance of Cretan olive oil to the world, Biolea’s contribution to Cretan olive oil heritage and tradition, and the sustainability practices of the company.
- The tour begins with a visit through the olive mill itself, where the process of artisan stone milling and pressing of olive oil is explained step by step, with emphasis on the differences in the nutritional value and taste of olive oil produced by the traditional method and the industrial method.
- Next, visitors head up to the tasting room to view a short 6-minute DVD presentation of the harvest, milling production, bottling and tasting as it progresses.
- Lastly, visitors are invited to taste the olive oil, and the two flavored oils, lemon and nerantzi (bitter orange). They are instructed on how to taste olive oil, how to read an olive oil label at the supermarket, and the criteria for purchasing the best value for their money.
Visitors are of course encouraged to ask questions throughout the tour, and have the opportunity to purchase Biolea olive oil on-site at producer's prices, should they so desire.