This week we’ve got some exciting news to share with you!

The World Association of Journalists of Wine and Spirits announced a few weeks ago their World Rankings for extra virgin olive oil. These are based on a system in which each olive oil amasses points based on analysis of 28 international competition awards.

We are very proud that our Lemongrass and Tarragon Olive Oil received the highest ranking in the 2018 Condimento – Flavored Evoo category. And you have to consider, this was amongst more than nine thousand samples of olive oils from 30 countries! This is the first time that a Greek olive oil lands on the first place in this category. This is also the fifth international award that our Lemongrass and Tarragon Olive Oil receives in 2018.

Our Lemongrass and Tarragon Olive Oil is a special oil is made from semi ripe olives crushed with fresh lemongrass and tarragon. We use 1200g of semi-ripe olives to produce 100ml of this cold extracted oil. It is produced in Sparta using exclusively koroneiki olives, kalamon olives and koutsouroelia olives.

It has a very fresh flavour and intense aromas. And it pairs perfectly with fish and green vegetables. We have already prepared a vibrant zucchini, corn and feta salad with Lemongrass and Tarragon Olive Oil. Stay tuned for many more recipes using our newly awarded Olive Oil!


This week we’ve got some exciting news to share with you! Four of our wonderful products received Great Taste Awards! We are very proud to share them with you, as well as some of the judges’ comments. We look forward hearing your own comments –or tell us which of our products is a winner for you!

Pistachios – Roasted & slightly Salted
2 stars **

Greek pistachios are renowned for their wonderful flavour, their beautiful pink exteriors and vibrant green kernels. The area surrounding the island of Aegina combines optimal soil conditions and a perfect maritime climate. A pistachio growing zone par excellence, Aegina offers fresh, vibrant flavoured nuts. The judges commented on the rich, full, long lasting flavour and were impressed by their pink and green colour.

Some of our judges’comments write:
An unusually pink nut. The flavour is creamy and well balanced with just the right amount of salt; soft on the palate with the expected pale green interior’
‘Lovely charring which gives character and the fresh vibrant green of the nuts is very enticing..delightful crunch into a perfectly salted almost meaty nut was a sheer unadulterated pleasure’

Kalamata Olives with Ouzo
1 star *

These olives are from our single estate farm in Sparta, Greece. They are hand picked, unpasteurised and cured in fresh water. They are marinated in extra virgin olive oil, ouzo, star-anise and fennel to produce a unique Greek olive taste.

Some of our judges’comments write:

Very unusual innovation, and one we enjoyed. The olives are good quality and the ouzo goes right through the fruit until the last drop. The aniseed is very complementary and we loved them!’

22°C Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 star *

This mid harvest olive oil is made from semi ripe olives. It comes from our single estate farm in Sparta, Greece. It is single variety (koroneiki), and harvested by hand. Cold extracted up to 22°C and unfiltered, this olive oil has a mellow quality and a silky smooth texture.

Some of our judges’comments write:

‘A creamy mouthfeel. The flavour was subtle but with a good balance of spice and some herby, woody notes’
‘Lovely cut grass aroma; you are almost transported to the olive grove just by the nose’

Wild Thyme Honey
1 star *

Our wild thyme honey comes from the Taygetus mountains in Greece. It is a monofloral nectar honey from predominantly wild thyme flowers. It is, of course, raw: unfiltered and unpasteurised. With a lovely, golden colour, its intense, aromatic flavour lends it to a wide range of culinary uses.

Some of our judges’comments write:

‘Rich dark caramel colours with a herbaceous nose’
‘The palate is sweet with citrus notes running through it with a depth of flavour that transports you to the dusty depths of the bee keepers shed!’

 

We look forward to stocking up our pantry and cooking up wonderful recipes with these (awarded!) Greek products. Join us!

 



In November, Michalis Georgaras  from Aetheleon Farm in Nothern Greece will be joining Oliveology. On Saturday 25th of November and Monday 27th of November you will get the chance to spend time with Michalis at our shop at Borough Market.

Michalis produces our premium quality oregano organic essential oil in his small family-run farm. Driven by his love for essential oils and especially their therapeutic properties, Michalis started experimenting with growing Greek herb varieties in his small farm in Nothern Greece. Soon after, the first oregano oil production became a reality. The small farm expanded and the production gradually grew.

Oregano is one of the most popular Mediterranean herbs and has been used since antiquity as a food flavouring and medicine. Of the wider category carrying the name oregano (used to define nearly 50 plants available across the world that respond to a similar flavour profile), Aetheleon grows Origanum Vulgare ssp. Hirtum (Greek oregano). This specific variety has great antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as very potent aroma and intense flavour. Aethelon’s oregano oil is therefore exceptional not only for its unique aroma and taste, but also for its healing properties.

Passionate about organic farming and biodiversity, Michalis is dedicated to maintaining a sustainable ecosystem. Apart from his organic certification, he supports the preservation of nature’s resources, while he is a keen believer in creating connections between his farm, research universities and guests.

Read more about Greek oregano on our blog and join him and Marianna at our Borough Market Shop, where he will share with you his knowledge and expertise. You will get a chance to taste the fragrant oregano essential oil and learn all about its journey from Aetheleon farm to our London shop and to your kitchen.


We quite enjoy attending seminars and educating ourselves more about anything food related. Especially when their subject is a powerful food obsession, like fermentation and the person leading it is the fermentation revivalist. The following blogpost will make you feel as if you were sitting next to me during this workshop.

The last days of May, I attended a Fermentation Workshop hosted by Sandor Katz at Vezene Athens. The latter is a contemporary Greek bistrot, the brainchild Ari Vezené. He is a much acclaimed self- taught chef, butcher and owner of two equally celebrated restaurants in Greece; apart from his bistro bar in Athens, he also owns Trattoria Vezené on the Ionian island of Meganissi.

We have been following the events Ari is hosting for a while now, especially since he developed EMBRACE; “a new series of gastronomic events which aims at introducing some of the most important chefs worldwide to a greater local audience while promoting Greece to these chefs, as well as helping to initiate said audience to a “new chapter of Greek cuisine” through the melding of these various visiting cultural influences”.

Back to Sandor now, who has devoted about 2 decades of his life to this project, even if he is not a trained biologist or microbiologist. You might have heard his first book Wild Fermentation or the second one, The Art of Fermentation. He mentions feeling like a mad scientist at times – I definitely consider him as a fermentation demystifier. He travels the world spreading the word about fermentation and the microscopic worlds of microbes. He is a food lover, who chose to return to the land and live in rural Tennessee and not only uses fermentation to fight food waste but for its “glorious healing power”, as well. Let’s find out more about the world of cold boiling, shall we?

He started off his presentation acknowledging that fermentation is not a new concept to Greece. He mentioning trahanas –fermented pasta that Oliveology cooks loved during our Cooking Workshop- yoghurt and wine. If only he knew about our olives -you might recall our previous blogpost on fermentation, explaining why our Kalamata olives are so special. Too bad we didn’t bring some for him to try!

Fermentation might be happening with or without us; however, he focused on the intentional, the planned attempts. The protagonists of this procedure are diverse communities of micro-organisms. The simplest procedure includes getting the vegetables submerged in their own juices and letting lactic acid bacteria work their magic.

In order for his audience to realise the importance of fermentation he stated practical examples like:

  • Alcohol, which is the most widespread byproduct –think wine and beer,
  • Flavour, examples like chocolate, vanilla and cured meats –impossible to lead a delicious life without them,
  • Preservation –an excellent and very Greek example would be homemade preserves –γλυκά του κουταλιού- among others,
  • Perceived health benefits –through this process extra nutrients are generated. Furthermore, in some cases, foods that used to be dangerous are made edible.He elaborated for a while regarding our relationship with bacteria, nowadays. Even if we’ve got about 1 trillion bacteria in our bodies and there’s no form of life without them, we’re still terrified. Bacteria in our contemporary minds equal with danger, disease and death. Did you know that serotonin –vital for your mood, dreams, appetite and even the flow of thoughts- is regulated by indigenous bacteria from the gut? I had no idea!

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We are over the moon as 6 of our products have been awarded stars at this year Great Taste Awards. Great Taste Awards are organised by the Guild of Fine Food, the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink. They have been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and the ‘epicurean equivalent of the Booker prize’.

We are really grateful for the wonderful feedback. Big thanks to the judges and of course our wonderful Greek producers that make us proud every year with their consistently superior quality and unbeatable flavours! Below you can read some of the judge’s comments.

18C evoo “Deep green unfiltered oil with a curiously creamy as well as green herbs, grass aroma. Greek mountain herbs on the palate; the bitterness does not overwhelm, despite the ‘green-ness’ . The pepper spike is sound. There is sweet fruit present also. This is intriguing. We do love the wealth of herbal flavours here. It’s certainly complex and balanced.”

21C “Really good aromas of rosemary and fennel on the nose, the oil has good texture, balanced flavours that marry well, the oil is fresh, interesting and very versatile.”

Apple Oil ‘Apple and cinnamon notes on the nose, the sage is well judged and doesn’t dominate. Smooth texture and well balanced flavours.”

Kalamata Olive Plain “Deep black and shiny in a lovely deep green oil with pepper and vinegar on the nose. Juicy yet firm with easy to pit fruit..”

Kalamata Olives with Lemon  “Beautiful, clean fresh lemon, delightful..”

Chestnut Honey  “A powerful yet subtle flavour that’s a welcoming difference from the norm, plus a really appealing appearance.”

 


Over the years many of you who come to our shop or contact us ask for our recipes, tips and advice on how to use our ingredients. Inspired by all of your questions and interest, the time has finally come for us at Oliveology to share our passion, knowledge and spirit of Greek foods with all of you! How? We’ve got many things planned for the future. Think cooking classes, food tastings, wine workshops and many, many more.

How do we kick it off? Well, how else? Teaming up with guest chefs who share our vision, we are beginning a series of cooking workshops. These will have various formats and themes. Some will be shorter, others will be longer. Some will be focusing on specific themes or produce. Others will be focusing on learning different cooking skills. All however will celebrate seasonal Greek cooking. Putting forward healthy, easy recipes you will learn how to create delicious dishes with a hands on culinary experience. Most importantly, you will experience Greek hospitality (yes, there will be lots of food and drinks on offer!) and the way food is used to bring people together. At a warm, social environment you will interact with our guest chefs, us from Oliveology and your fellow cooks having a fun experience, while learning what Greek food really is. Did we mention there will be a surprise goodie bag with Oliveology ingredients for you to take home after the class? Yep!

For our first series of workshops, we will be teaming up with the amazing Greek chef Despina Siahuli who has put together a purely vegetarian cooking experience for all of you. We will be focusing on star ingredients. These are unique artisan produce sourced exclusively from small producers all over Greece. These star ingredients represent the uniqueness of the Greek terroir and culture. During our cooking workshops you will learn how to taste and use them in very creative ways. Our first series of cooking workshops will take place at The Cookhouse, a lovely space at the heart of Borough Market. Full of light and with a fully equipped professional kitchen, this space is ideal to host our culinary adventures.

So join us for a celebration of Greek seasonal cooking. Sign up now for a fun and interactive way to discover the secrets of Greek cuisine and improve your cooking skills.

Price: £45 per person (including food, drinks and a goodie bag)
Duration: 2.5 hours

Location: The Cookhouse, Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL

Workshop #1 – Thursday 18th May
10am-12.30pm | 2pm-4.30pm | 6pm-8.30pm

Book your time slot

For more info email us at: cookingworkshops@oliveology.co.uk


Greek Orthodox religion calls for fasting during the Holy Week. The week before Easter, most families in Greece would opt out of using most animal products, meat, fish, dairy. In a country where eating is very much based around vegetables, this week is not much different than others when it comes to main meals. Instead of preparing slow cooked meat, one eats slow cooked vegetables. But of course, as with any dietary avoidance, new ideas need to come forward. Cooks use ingredients in different ways to create new recipes.

For us at Oliveology, baking is the thing which changes the most around this time of year. We have already shared with you Kalliopi’s Olive Oil Cake which uses olive oil instead of butter, but alas include eggs.

This week, we have a vegan recipe for you. One that uses no animal products whatsoever. It is made with tahini, orange juice, spices. And of course sugar and flour-it is a cake after all. You can add nuts or raisins if you wish. But you don’t have to.

You can incorporate it in your cooking rituals this Holy Week. But it’s so interesting that I know you will definitely make it again. After all, changing your diet every so often is a good thing. No matter what the reason behind it.

So let’s bake this cake and get ready to celebrate Easter!

You will need:

300g tahini
350g orange juice
300g sugar
400g flour
30g baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
zest of 1 orange
50g raisins (optional)
50g walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Beat tahini and sugar until sugar dissolves completely. You can use a mixer or a fouet. Add the orange juice and stir. Sieve together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients to your mixture. Make sure everything is properly combined and there are no lumps of flour. Add the orange zest and raisins or nuts if using. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Grease a baking dish with some olive oil and sprinkle with flour so that the cake does not stick. Transfer your cake mixture into your baking dish. Bake at 180C for 30 min and then lower the temperature and bake at 160C for another 30-40min.

Happy Easter Everyone!


Jay Rayner and his panel visit Bermondsey in London. The panel that week was Dr Annie Gray, Sophie Wright, Andi Oliver and Itamar Srulovich.

In this first programme of the new series, the panel discusses the local history of biscuit production, sample the full gamut of olives, get under the skin of rice pudding, and hear a confession about inventive dill repurposing.

Marianna had the chance to have been invited as guest at the show and briefly talking about Oliveology’s real olives; that come with a stone, as nature intended. The recording of the show took place in the beautiful St Magdalen’s Church in Bermondsey.

Listen to the show


Voroina is organised annually by the winemakers and members of the wine producers association“Wines of North Greece”. The event features an impressive selection of indigenous and international grape varieties cultivated at the famous vineyards of the area.

It is a wonderful opportunity for Greek and foreign wine professionals and wine lovers of course, to meet with producers and taste wines as well as wine spirits. In the event context, a series of other events such as workshops, seminars, tastings and special dinners in restaurants or hotels took place, too. Voroina is a first class opportunity to watch the Sommelier of the Year 2017 competition, but that’s a whole different story.

This year, this brilliant trip to the region of North Greece culminated to the tasting event at Hilton Hotel on 30/01/2017. You might remember reading about its Cretan equivalent, Oinotika wine fair previously. With Greek wine on the rise, warm and exhilarating wine tasting events like this get really popular. This makes absolute sense since with an 8€ entrance fee (or 5€ for pre-registered visitors) the visitor can taste the best that 25 regional wineries have to offer. Especially, when it takes place at the central located Hilton hotel there’s no doubt it’s going to be a smashing success.

Wine producers are thought to be generous and charismatic and the Greek ones especially -if we may add- as they choose to go against all odds and create wonderful products with passion and ingenuity. The visitors seemed quite delighted and kept engaging in conversations with the producers mostly about the winemaking procedure as well as regarding food pairing.

The vineyards of Northern Greece, Drama, Kavala, Halkidiki, Goumenissa, Naoussa, Amynteo, Rapsani, Zitsa, Metsovo and other areas, cover a total of approximately 100,000 acres. These areas have many international varieties, producing some of the best wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Syrah in Greece, but also indigenous varieties such as Debina, Savvatiano, Limnio. Topography, soil, climate, varieties are all the necessary ingredients to create a great wine that coexist harmoniously in North Greece.

The flagship variety of Macedonia is Xinomavro, the “Greek Nebbiolo” is considered aggressive, austere and complex. Its high acid, high tannin character as well as its vegetal, rose petaly and sun dried tomato aromas make it a brilliant food wine. This multifaceted variety can yield different types of wine. We are quite excited for the future as sommeliers contend that the variety hasn’t reached its full potential, yet.

White wines, rosés and reds, fresh and older vintages, varietals or blends, dry, sparkling and sweet, as well as wine spirits, were presented at the event, from internationally recognised to niche boutique producers, introducing their newest and finest selections.

We allowed ourselves to indulge in a number of other varieties as well, indigenous and international, always for research purposes, of course. While I am writing these lines, I am still smitten with the glorious wines I tasted. Beyond the classics, I highly recommend the following wines: Oneirikos (Malvasia aromatica) by Foundi Estate, Rapsani Grand Reserve 2010 (Xinomauro, Stavroto, Krasato) by Tsantali winery, Chrysogerakas (Gewurztraminer, Malagouzia) by Kyr Yianni winery.

We’re off to Peloponnese wine festival next, stay tuned!