As we go into autumn, we feel less and less nostalgic about summer and more excited about the months to come. All of us at Oliveology are impatiently waiting for the new season ingredients to arrive, and for our workshops and dinners to begin! This autumn we are going to learn how to make Cretan food, baklava, cooking with no-waste, and of course, our Christmas workshop will prepare us for the holidays.

For the first time we have some very unique dinner experiences! Amaryllis is cooking a delicious vegetarian menu with amazing autumn produce, Lida is preparing a festive meal with mostly surplus fresh produce from Borough Market and I will be sharing stories from my research at Athenian delis and fine-dining restaurants, while I prepare for you traditional and modern Greek foods.

As we all are now back into our post-summer schedules, what we need is lunches that we can make ahead and enjoy cold, at room temperature, as well as heated up. So this week we have a filling potato salad for you. Oh and check out this potato salad too!

For this recipe, we found some colourful beans at the market and will use these too! And what makes this dish more special is that we will cook everything together in our 3-star awarded 17 olive oil! This is a limited production oil made from unripe olives, crushed with fresh lemons, oranges and thyme. Yum!

Serves 4 for lunch

½ bunch spring onions
500g fresh beans (we used a combination of green and yellow beans)
700g potatoes, peeled
6 tbsp 17 olive oil, plus more to serve
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
salt, pepper
½ tub unripe lemon olives

Cut the potatoes in rounds, 1cm thick. Trim the edges of the beans and cut them in half.

Place the potatoes in a large pan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the beans. Cook for around 10-15 minutes, until potatoes and beans are tender. Drain and set aside.

As your vegetables are boiling, finely chop your spring onions. In a large frying pan add 6 tbsp of 17 olive oil and over medium-low heat cook the onions until tender.

Once the vegetables are cooked, place in a large bowl. Mix in the spring onions and toss them around, seasoning with salt and pepper, lemon zest and juice. Add the olives.

Serve immediately or let the salad cool and enjoy at room temperature. It is perfect served with a few boiled eggs cut in half.

Moving away from the most famous wine regions, another small yet unique area of viticulture is waiting to be explored, through this excellent 2013 Icarus Black Dry Red Fokiano. In Greek mythology, Icarus, the son of the great craftsman Daedalus, fell into the sea close to a beautiful Greek island on the eastern Aegean Sea. This is how the island, Icaria (a.k.a. Ikaria) gained its name.

This seems to have set the tone for the viticulture and winemaking in the island: long history. Wine made in Ikaria was called the ‘Pramnian’ which is associated with the God Dionysus. In fact, archeological discoveries in modern days unveiled traces of the widespread Dionysian rituals in the island. This ancient winemaking method, did not use stainless steel containers or oak barrels but stored wines in huge clay jars which were buried in the ground. This tradition is still well-preserved in the world nowadays, and can be found in areas such as Georgia, where winemaking techniques have been serenely yet vividly passed on for several thousands of years.

In spite of this long history, however, it was not until the 1970s that the grape variety Fokiano was allowed to be cultivated on the island. The first geographical indication of Ikaria in wine came in 2006. To some extent, one could regard the story of winemaking in Ikaria as the Greek winemaking history in a nutshell: glorious history, late revivals lagging behind its Mediterranean peers, and innovative approaches attempting to adapt to the modern wine world.

The 2013 Icarus Black Dry Red Fokiano, as a PGI wine of Ikaria, is made from 100% Fokiano grapes grown on the island. Besides the benefits of the Mediterranean climate, the vineyards located on the Ikarian highland also make full use of the cool temperature for their vine growing. The winery still follows the traditional winemaking techniques of the island and ferments wines in their clay jars that are buried underground, giving visitors a “piece” of heritage to experience. Meanwhile, as we wrote earlier, winemakers in Greece are proactively seeking new ways to fit their traditional recipes into the international standards of  the modern wine industry. Boutique producers, organic methods, small production and oak barrels, are all the trendy elements that have enabled the development of this wine so as to release its charm. The fact that around 800 bottles a year are produced definitely makes this one rare and quite special.

In the glass, this wine has a clear and bright pale garnet colour, indicating its development stage as a matured wine. On the nose, it firstly releases aromas of red berries, then toast and vanilla of the oak barrel, mingled with cigar, leather and slightly gamey notes. Let it sit for a few more minutes, and you will also get hints of soy sauce and sea wind, reminding you of some savoury notes that are usually associated with umami. In a word, perfectly developed. On the palate, this wine has high acidity, delicate tannins with a medium body. It is slightly gamey and savoury, yet more fruity comparing to the aromas on the nose (red cherries, white pepper and dried dates), with a long finish. Complex and well balanced, this elegant wine can be seen as a thin version of the aged French Pinot Noir.

The wine is probably at its best stage to drink, and I do not suggest ageing it. It is best served at 16-18°C, in a large globe Burgundy style glass, without decanting. Just like Pinot Noir, this one can be paired with a wide range of foods, from tuna, chicken, duck or rabbit, to lamb, pork and beef. On top of that, BBQ or roasted food with spices such as rosemary and thyme will also taste great with the wine.



by Celine

This week we’ve got a somewhat unusual recipe for you. August and September in Greece are usually months of preserving in our household. We make tomato passata to last all winter, and jams using very ripe fruit, like figs or peaches, as their season is coming to an end.

However, it is not a preserving recipe we’ve got for you this week. It is one that you can make using any overripe fruit you may have. It works great with apricots, but you can also use peaches, plums and yes, figs!

Here, we have combined apricots with dried apricots (how surprising, I know!) and almonds, but you can mix and match, depending on what dried fruit or nuts you love most. We baked these in the oven with olive oil, our balsamic cream with mandarin, and a bit of honey. The result is soft fruit, bold flavours and the perfect pairing to a grilled manouri or halloumi cheese. This recipe is also perfect to accompany a cheese & cured meats platter, or your morning yogurt. It really is the best way to make use of the wonderful last fruit of summer and welcome autumn.

We are serving this with one of our favourite summer ingredients: rosemary floral water!

We spent most of the summer spraying this aromatic water on our body and hair after the beach, but who says we can’t ‘perfume’ our dishes too? Floral waters are absolutely perfect to use in the kitchen too! So as you are serving this dish, spray on each plate -and on each guest if you dare! Trust us, you are in for a treat.

Serves two

150g apricots
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic cream with mandarin
30g dried apricots
30g almonds
1 tbsp vanilla fir honey
pinch of salt
rosemary floral water (to serve)

Cut the apricots in half, removing all stones. Cut the dried apricots in small pieces and roughly chop the almonds. Place everything in an oven dish. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic mandarin glaze, honey and salt. Mix with your fruit and nuts, so that everything is coated with the liquid.

Cover with tinfoil and bake at 200C for 30 min or until the fruit is soft and the flavours have blended.

To serve, place on individual plates and spray rosemary water over each plate.