Olive Odyssey

Searching for the Secrets of the Fruit that Seduced the World

Olive Odyssey Cover

Publisher: Greystone Books
Format: Hardcover, 344 pages
Pub Date: May 17, 2014
Price: $28.95
ISBN: 9781553655145

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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.



“It is a pleasure to try to keep up with this book; like its author, it covers an enormous amount of territory.” —Christopher Bakken, Wall Street Journal

“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… ” —Vancouver Sun

“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.” – Bob Blumer, gastronaut and Food Network host

“A well-researched paean to the magical olive, a scrumptious romp through history, agronomy, DNA science, cuisine, business, medicine, religion, and politics—all told through a young couple’s Mediterranean sailing and travel adventures with their toddler . . . This entertaining olive saga covers it all.” —Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Changed Our World

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.” —Literary Review of Canada

“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.” —Georgia Straight

“[An] unfailingly interesting odyssey.” —Philip Marchand, National Post

“[Olive Odyssey] is an engaging mix of history, food travelog, and botany lesson . . . There is much to enjoy here, especially for foodies and armchair historians.” —Library Journal

“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.” —Publishers Weekly