중앙데일리

Olives are the kimchi of Spain: ambassador

Mar 26,2007
Spanish Ambassador Delfin Colome
When the JoongAng Ilbo recently met Spanish Ambassador to Korea Delfin Colome, he talked enthusiastically about olives. He said that olives to the Spanish are what kimchi is to Koreans.
Mr. Colome expressed his wish for Koreans to know more about olives, which he said are beneficial to one’s health. In fact, Mr. Colome said he requested the interview for that reason.
Spain, the number one producer of olives in the world, harvested 800,000 tons of olives last year. This is 45 percent of the world’s olive harvest. Spanish olive oil is familiar to Koreans, as more than 80 percent of all olive oil imports to this country are Spanish.
Mr. Colome noted that his grandfather always said eating olive oil is like lubricating one’s body, referring to the Spanish belief that olive oil is a source of strength in that country. He revealed that he dips his bread in olive oil every morning, instead of using butter or margarine and that for lunch and dinner, he eats a salad with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar as dressing.
Olives, the ambassador continued, have many anti-oxidants, which help prevent the side effects of aging, and they help digestion and circulation.
Besides being used for food, olives are said to have been used for enhancing beauty and as home remedies. He recalled his childhood, when his mother would mix olive oil with sugar and feed him a spoonful whenever he had a stomach ache. He laughed as he said this always worked as a fast cure.
Talking about olive oil also brought back memories of harder times in his life.
The ambassador remembered the 1960s, when he was a poor student in Germany, when he and his friends would gather all their money to purchase a small bottle of olive oil to share. Mr. Colome asked if the same isn’t true for Koreans studying abroad, who do their best to find a source of kimchi.
He added that Spanish olives are both more nutritious and tastier than olives from other countries. He attributed this to the temperature and soil in the Mediterranean region, as well as centuries of experience producing olives.
Mr. Colome, who has been ambassador to Korea for 20 months, said that he would like to stress that consuming olive oil is like investing in your health. Health-conscious Koreans ― who mainly eat kimchi, herbs and wild vegetables ― would benefit from this product, he said.


By Park Hyun-young JoongAng Ilbo [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]


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