Kalamata by Authentic Greece
Kalamata is the second most populous city of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. It is the capital of the region Messenia. It lies along the Nedon River. Kalamata has ca. 69.000 inhabitants. Kalamata is renowned as the land of the Kalamatianos dance and Kalamata olives. The modern name Kalamáta is a corruption of the older name Καλάμαι, Kalámai, the phonetic similarity of Kalamáta with the phrase "kalá mátia" ("good eyes") has led to various folk etymologies.
Following independence from the Turks and thanks to the exploitation of the fertile Messinian lands (producing olive oil, raisins, figs etc.), it developed into a wealthy urban center and a significant port. It is located 238 km SW of Athens. Kalamata has a university.
The point of reference in the city is the Castle of Isabeau where the renowned International Dance Festival takes place annually. It is amphitheatrically constructed on the site of the Farai acropolis offering a bird’s eye view of the city. Constructed in the 13th century by William Villehardouin, it underwent subsequent additions and conversions by the Venetians and the Turks. Nowadays, it is an ideal open air venue for theatre, music and dance shows. No less beautiful is the exquisite Palia Poli (Old City) at the foot of the Castle. The wider region boasts the Metropolitan Panagia Ipapanti church (1873), the patron saint of Kalamata celebrated on February 2nd, the 12th century Kalograion Monastery with the renowned silk weaving workshop, and the Byzantine church Agioi Apostoloi (13th century) with the brick enclosed masonry.
Kalamata olives are known as a black olive, although they are actually dark purple in color. Native to Greece, Kalamata olives can be eaten plain or chopped up to be used in a dish. Made from fully ripe olives, Kalamata olives are marinated in olive oil or vinegar and are widely available in grocery stores. While Kalamata olives are high in sodium, they are also rich in healthy fats and contain a natural antioxidant.
NB. General Nutrition Kalamata Olives:
Kalamata olives are generally found canned, although specialty grocers may sell them directly from the barrel. A 4-tablespoon serving of Kalamata olives, roughly 8 large olives or 10 small ones, has 39 calories per serving, negligible amounts of protein, 3.6 grams of total fat and 1.1 grams of dietary fiber. Like other olives, Kalamatas are a good source of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K. Kalamata olives also provide some magnesium, phosphorous and potassium per serving as well as B vitamins.