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Two sisters in Bursa are producing pure olive oil with a special technique that was first used 6,000 years ago. They use an olive grinder of 300 years

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One of the sisters, Nazlıgül Ünal says the olive oil they produce is sent to buyers across the whole world, and is attracting interest far and wide. DHA photos

One of the sisters, Nazlıgül Ünal says the olive oil they produce is sent to buyers across the whole world, and is attracting interest far and wide. DHA photos

The Kumkaya village in Bursa’s Mudanya district is home to a traditional olive oil factory. Two sisters, Nazlıgül Ünal and Aslıhan Yıldırım, established the factory, which uses traditional equipment and a 300-year-old grinder to produce their oil. They then sell the olive oil to places as far away as France and Singapore.

Kumkaya is an old village that is famous for its olives. Once inhabited by Greeks, it has seen many changes, but the olive factory has endured for hundreds of years. Sisters Nazlıgül Ünal and Aslıhan Yıldırım are a perfect example for women entrepreneurship, using original and natural techniques for the creation and production of their olive oil. The two decided to restore and use an old olive oil factory in the 1990s, and have been producing there for three years.

The factory uses with an olive grinder dating back 300 years, but the real secret of their special olive oil taste is hidden in their special production technique, which dates back 6,000 years.

Ünal said their olive oil produce was sent to buyers across the whole world, and was attracting interest far and wide.

“The name of our olive oil is “XI.XI Sonsuzluk” (Infinity). “XI.XI means infinity in numerology,” she said.
Noting that olive trees are the only trees that are immortal on earth, Ünal said these trees therefore symbolized infinity. “We aim to produce our olive oil without using any metals and we do not use any kind of chemical medicine,” she said, adding that after the olives were collected they were transferred to the factory and immediately taken to the production process.

The olives are crushed with 300-year-old grinders, after which they are transferred to dark storage. The grinding and storage materials are historical and ancient, which Ünal said made the olive oil particularly distilled and pure.

HDN

‘The name of the brand is ‘XI.XI, which means infinity in
numerology, Nazlıgül Ünal says. 

Villages of Italy and Spain


Stressing that they were the only factory using such an old and traditional technique in Turkey, Ünal also said this technique was not very common in Europe or America. “We know that in Spain and Italy some of factories use these techniques. But it is still not common,” she said.

Such factories are also used as museums, which helps financially as it is very expensive and difficult to find a professional master who uses these techniques. “We aim to make this olive oil here because we aim to make our brand a proud Turkish trade mark,” Ünal said.

Noting that the most important thing in their olive oil was the level of purity, she added that it was usually high-end gourmet markets that purchased their produce. The biggest markets for the sisters’ olive oils are generally France, Singapore and Hungary. However, the production is limited as the sisters only have four kinds of products. Only 1,111 bottles of olive oil are produced per year on average, which is what makes the “XI.XI Sonsuzluk” olive oil a boutique product.

November/21/2013

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Basil Keilani

11/21/2013 7:03:19 PM

You can argue they were ethnically Greek because the country of Greece didn't exist exist until 1821. They spoke Greek because they were ethnically Greek. The article is not wrong in referring to them as such. They weren't really viewed as Turkish back in the old days. Anyway, good for the ladies. I hope they'll be successful.

andrea dealmagro

11/21/2013 5:30:48 PM

I wonder if their method is using a series of settling tanks where oil is mixed with water (it floats above water and all impurities sink in water layer or phase) and then the oil is decanted or scooped - called phase separation in chemistry. The BBC had a documentary about a Byzantine olive oil factory circa 600 AD where they used such method.

constantinos kio

11/21/2013 5:29:42 PM

@mr who . dont worry my friend .

mr who

11/21/2013 12:49:02 PM

Greek speaking people not Greeks

Rudi Spermon

11/21/2013 11:31:46 AM

Great article. Hope to find the oil in Istanbul too
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