The countdown for Christmas has started. In preparation for this year’s celebrations we are bringing in store many delicious ingredients. Ingredients to cook with; ingredients to offer as gifts; ingredients to indulge yourself with.

Corinth raisins and dried figs have arrived from the Peloponnese, organic walnuts from the island of Eboea. They are a great addition to your morning cereal, yogurt or porridge. They are a very healthy snack between meals. They are amazing to add to any Christmas cheese platter. You can use them as ingredients in myriad festive cakes, puddings and bread.

But most importantly, they are what turns a salad dish from everyday, to festive. The small black raisins punch above their weight in terms of their sweetness and taste. Dried naturally under the Greek sun, the figs are succulent and intense. Pure, nutty walnuts add crunch.

Walking around the market we selected delicious green leaves to create this festive salad, and our very own artisan galomyzithra cheese, a soft white cheese made in Crete from goats’ and sheep’s milk. Of course, any salad that respects itself has a good quality extra virgin olive oil (we chose our 22oC). And finally, an aged balsamic vinegar will add the much needed acidity and sweetness. Read below the list of ingredients, we have a little secret in the end.

So here goes:

Festive Salad (For two people)

1 bunch of green leaves
A small handful of raisins (approx. 20g)
3-4 large dried figs, cut in half
A small handful of walnuts (approx. 50g)
100g of galomyzithra cheese
3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper (to taste)
grape molasses (to serve)

Place your leaves in a large bowl. Add the raisins, figs, walnuts and gently toss. In a separate bowl mix the olive oil and vinegar together with a pinch of salt and pepper. Dress the salad and place in a beautiful serving platter (it is festive after all). Add the cheese and serve, drizzling some grape molasses to add sweetness.


A creative recipe by Jackie. Enjoy!

Figs and olives are well on their way in, cherries are on their way out.
Here is something to mark the transitional period between the seasons- a bit savoury, a bit sweet…about as classifiable as the weather.

Olive, cherry, fig samosas with rosemary syrup

• I find it easiest to fold these pastries into triangular shapes, hence the term “samosa”, but there is no reason you cannot make them in different shape. Filo pastry is wonderfully forgiving.
• The recipe is meant to be a guideline, as are most of the recipes created for oliveology. Create! Be inspired by the best produce you can find.

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Figs are widely known in the Mediterranean since the ancient times; thought to have been first cultivated in Egypt and then spread first to Crete and Ancient Greece. The fruits were considered so valuable that it was illegal to export them.

Nowadays the largest producers of figs worldwide are Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Spain and California. The fruits are rich in calcium, potassium (a mineral that helps to control high blood pressure), dietary fibre (positive effect on weight management) and manganese (known for its cardiovascular effects).

It is among the richest in fibre fruits, protective against post-menopausal breast cancer and their leaves have insulin lowering properties. Dried figs can be enjoyed throughout the year and stay fresh for several months. They are best kept in room temperature in a cool and dry place wrapped well.

If you wish to revive them, soak them in boiling water or lightly steam them. They’re wonderful when chopped, mixed with other dried fruits, nuts and spices, added to tea-breads and cakes or stewed, flavoured with anise and fennel. Figs ideal matches are ingredients with intense flavours such as prosciutto, blue cheese, gorgonzola, rocket. I am just ready to prepare a fig, walnut and gruyere bagel now, wish me luck?

Buy Greek figs