Many of you ask where we get our vine leaves. Our producer, Marianna has been producing vine leaves for more than 20 years. They are collected from the family’s vineyard in Chalkidiki, Nothern Greece. Their stems are removed and the vine leaves are carefully rolled and packed in brine. The entire process from farm to table only lasts a few hours, so that they retain all of their freshness and nutrients. We really like this ingredient! So this week we decided to experiment a bit with it.

And here it is, a somewhat unusual recipe for you. Think: dolmades meet cheese pie. What does this mean? It means that we are using vine leaves, but not stuffing them in the classic way! When looking into what else we could do with those tasty leaves (our) Marianna suggested: why don’t you stuff them with cheese? It was brilliant!

And watch this space, we will soon share with your our classic dolmadakia recipe, stuffed with rice and plenty of herbs!

Makes 35
1/3 jar (around 40) vine leaves
Zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp dried thyme
250g manouri cheese*
200g graviera cheese*
5 tbsp olive oil

In a bowl grate the graviera and manouri. Season with thyme and add the lemon zest. Mix well.

In a chopping board or clean surface, lay a vine leaf, veins down, bottom side down and the pointy sides facing away from you. Place a large teaspoon of the cheese mixture in the middle. Carefully fold the vine leaf bottom edges forwards, then the two sides inwards. Then roll it away from you, like a cigar.

Place the dolmadakia tightly together, seam side down, in concentric circles in a pot and in one layer. If you have more and need to continue to a second layer, place some vine leaves between the two layers.

Pour over the dolmadakia enough water so that they are just covered and 5 tbsp of olive oil. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and let the dolmadakia cook until the vine leaves are tender, for around 40 minutes.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

*you can find graviera and manouri cheese at our chop at Borough Market.

 

 

 


It was autumn a few years ago, when I first joined Oliveology. I was about to make one of my first recipes for this blog. Marianna had given me a few produce to experiment with. I looked at the tin with our apple oil. I was fascinated. Who would think of that, I wondered. Who would combine apples with olives? I loved it before even opening the tin. And when I finally tasted it, and poured it over this pumpkin soup, it was, and I am not exaggerating here, one of the most interesting things I’d ever tasted in my life.

It is perfect with sweet things, of course: drizzled over cake, and over your morning porridge -yes, try it!

So this week, we’ve used our favourite apple oil to make soft oven-baked sweet potatoes! We just love this autumn ingredient. Do you remember our vegan lentil soup with sweet potatoes? Or our sweet and sour winter vegetables? Delicious!

Serves 4 as a generous side

1kg sweet potatoes
1/3 cup apple oil
5 spring onions
smoked salt
black pepper
50g roasted hazelnuts
balsamic creme with mandarin (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 200C.

Finely chop your spring onions. Scrub your potatoes under running water. You can peel them, but we’ve left them with their skin. Cut them in rounds, around 1cm thick. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside for serving.

Place the sweet potatoes and spring onions into a baking tray. Drizzle the apple oil. Season generously with the smoked salt and pepper and toss everything together. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 200C for around 30-40min or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Serve with the hazelnuts, drizzling some balsamic cream with mandarin.

 


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.

References:

http://www.natenadze.company/history-of-georgian-wine.html

https://afianeswines.gr/en/

 

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 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.


Have you tried our ospriada? It is a mixture of various beans, lentils, yellow split peas, chickpeas and bulgur wheat. Produced in the organic farms of Nestoras in northern Greece, it is ideal to turn into a hearty soup. But we prefer to save soups for winter days.

This week we are using handfuls of this nutritious mixture of pulses to create a filling salad. You often ask what is the inspiration behind our recipes. Often, it is the desire to use everything that we have in our fridge and cook with no waste. It is a philosophy many of our chefs share and first and foremost, Lia. Lia is one of our favourite Greek chefs. She is passionate about quality and low impact food and is part of a collaborative food pop-up focussing on food waste reduction. You can meet and cook with her in our November Wasteless Greek Cooking Workshop.

So in this case, we had small bunches of herbs left from last week’s bulgur salad. We store our fresh herbs in small jars with water, like you would with flowers. That way they last longer. But their time had come. So we decided to whiz them with plenty of olive oil and voila, our salad was born! Some pistachios for added saltiness and crunch and there you have it.

This is a salad that takes a bit of time to make. But it’s perfect for the end of the summer, as you can slowly cook the beans, slowly shell the pistachios and generally it requires no rush. And as September is just around the corner, we can spend the last days of summer at a slower pace.

Serves 4 as a side

100g ospriada
a small bunch of parsley
a small bunch of dill
a small bunch of coriander
1 bag of roasted and slightly salted pistachios
½ cup olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

The night before put the ospriada in cold water to soak. The morning after, drain and place in a pot with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cook until all beans are tender, around 1-2 hours. Drain and set aside to cool.

Roughly chop all the herbs and place in a blender with the olive oil and vinegar. Blend everything together, until you get a smooth paste.

Gently mix together the beans and herb mixture.

Shell and crush the pistachios and toss into your salad.

Serve at room temperature.


As a wine writer, one of my favourite moments is when people share their thoughts on the wines I’d previously recommended to them. Wine lovers from all over the world always enjoy talking and writing to each other, exchanging ideas and thoughts on wines. And this happened this week and brought me a considerable amount of joy. A colleague of mine, with whom I keep in touch only online, usually talking about tasting notes, took a cruise trip to Santorini earlier this year. He tasted the wonderful Gavalas Santorini as well as the Gavalas Voudomato. When I asked what he thought of these wines, he said “ Awesome, indeed.”

Awesome, indeed. This is also my comment about this 2016 Gavalas Voudomato. Romantic colour, crispy acidity, and fresh red berry aromas. We can say this is an excellent piece of art, refreshing as a white wine, but also with the red-fruit flavours of red wine.

On the label, Gavalas Voudomato also demonstrates the geographic indication (GI) of PGI Cyclades. Cyclades is a group of islands in the Aegean sea and include islands such as Naxos and Santorini. For a wine to be qualified as PGI Cyclades, grapes for winemaking must be 100% from this area, and vineyards are required to be located above 30 meters of altitude. The name ‘Voudomato’ is taken from the grape variety, as the wine is made from 100% Voudomato grapes. Gavalas winery has become the only one in Santorini to cultivate ‘the indigenous rare’ variety of Voudomato.

Just in case you do not know how rosé wine is produced in the winery, here is a little review. Normally, there are three methods in rosé winemaking, none of which involves the use of an oak barrel. This is why the rosé wines available at the market are all refreshing for summer, and do not benefit remarkably from aging. The first and also the cheapest method is blending red wine with white wine. Such approach usually can be found only in the new world, as it is forbidden in Europe. The second one follows the process of red winemaking, but only shortens the time of maceration depending the winemaker. Therefore, in theory, this method can result in a wide range of styles, and is able to produce a rosé that is unlimitedly close to a red wine. Such method is prevailing in the Southern Rhone Valley, France. The last one which produces some of the most delicate rosés in the world, is more predominant in South France and Provence. It crushes black grapes as if it were white ones, and thus follows a white winemaking process.

The 2016 Gavalas Voudomato follows the third approach, but also has a pre-fermentation skin contact which is also used in some white winemaking to extract more colour and body. In light of this, it is definitely a rosé with character. In the glass it shows a clear, bright and pale ruby colour, just like a glass of cranberry juice, but also like a glass of pure sea water being dyed with red rose petals. On the nose, it has pungent aromas of apple juice, accompanied by notes of fresh strawberry, raspberry and violet. On the palate, it has a crispy acidity, light to medium body, medium alcohol, a touch of tannins, and mouthfuls of flavours of raspberry, pomegranate and strawberry. The finish is medium-long and full of minerals.

The wine is ready to drink. It is best consumed at the temperature of 8-12°C, and with savoury foods. Light cheeses, dishes with poultry or seafood in tomato sauce are ideal pairings. To be honest, as a rosé of 2016 vintage, well developed and fresh as it is, this wine is not suitable to age any longer, so drink more, and drink now.

by Celine

References:

http://www.newwinesofgreece.com/lista_oinon_pge_perifereiakon_enotiton/en_pgi_cyclades.html


With summer in full swing, this week we have for you a very fresh salad. It is great served cold, but equally delicious at room temperature. We are using bulgur wheat, an ingredient we love, as it turns all salads into filling, nutritious meals. Remember last year’s salad with almonds and prunes? Or the oven-baked bulgur wheat with feta cheese and tomatoes?

And we can’t think of a better way to celebrate summer than with a selection of summer vegetables: Zucchini and green beans are at their best at this time of the year. And so is cucumber. And we loved using them raw in this recipe. Chop them into small pieces and add them to your salad for more crunch and freshness. Plenty of fresh herbs and a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing are all you need. It is summer after all, cooking should be very simple and enjoyable!

You can serve the salad with some yogurt, feta cheese, or roasted summer vegetables like aubergine.

Serves 4 as a main

Salad:
1 small onion
3 tbsp olive oil
100g bulgur wheat
1.5 cups of water
150g zucchini
150g green beans
1 cucumber
1 small bunch of dill
1 small bunch of coriander
1 large bunch of parsley

Dressing:
5 tsbp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt

Finely chop the onion. Place the onion in the frying pan with the olive oil and over medium-low heat and cook until translucent. Add the bulgur wheat and stir until the bulgur is coated in olive oil. Add the water and cook until all the water is absorbed for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool.

Finely chop all the herbs and place in a large bowl. Chop the zucchini, beans and cucumber in small bite-sized pieces and add them to your bowl. Add the bulgur wheat, season with salt and and mix everything together.

In a separate bowl whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Dress the salad making sure that everything is coated with the dressing.

Serve immediately with more olive oil.

 


Did you hear the wonderful news about our 17°C olive oil?
Yes, it has been awarded with three stars, the highest accolade in Great Taste 2019!

We are σο excited and proud.

And of course, this week we couldn’t but create a recipe using our awarded olive oil. Cold extracted with fresh lemons, oranges and thyme, it has always been one of our go-to summer staples, perfect with grilled white fish, or drizzled over fresh vegetables. The salad we’ve created for you today uses a classic summer vegetable combination, but adding our 17 olive oil transforms these familiar flavours.

What is it, you may wonder? Tomatoes and corn, of course! We absolutely love cooking with fresh corn on the cob during the summer. Remember our zucchini, corn and feta salad made with our lemongrass and tarragon olive oil from last summer?

So go on, give it a try, cooking with fresh produce when in season is the most wonderful thing to do! And if you make any of our recipes do take a pic or two. We have an exciting competition coming up, more info soon to follow!

Serves 6
900g grape tomatoes
2 pieces of corn on the cob
1 large red onion

4 tbsp 17°C olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
a few pinches of dried thyme
salt

fresh herbs such as parsley (to serve)
lemon and orange wedges (to serve)

Following the same instructions as last year, place the corn in a large pot of salted water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the kernels are tender, around 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, remove the kernels. To do so, place your corn vertically against your chopping board. Running the knife parallel to the corn, remove all kernels. They should fall on your board. Collect and place in a large bowl.

Cut your tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place in the bowl. Finely slice the onion. Toss everything together. Season with thyme and salt. Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar and mix well.

Serve with lemon and orange wedges and fresh herbs.

 

 


Today we are extremely proud and excited to share with you some wonderful news! We are thrilled to announce that this summer of our 10th anniversary, we have received our very first 3-star award in Great Taste 2019! Our favourite 17°C organic extra virgin olive oil has been rated as a 3-star product, the highest accolade in Great Taste 2019. From a record 12,772 entries only 208 products achieved a 3-star award, so as you can imagine this feels like the most beautiful anniversary present!

Our 17°C extra virgin olive oil is a limited production olive oil made from unripe olives, crushed with fresh lemons, oranges and thyme. It is single estate and single variety, made exclusively from Koroneiki olives, in our farm in Sparta, Greece. It is hand-harvested in early December every year, cold extracted and unfiltered.

Awards of the past include the LA International Olive Oil Competition of 2015 and of 2017 (Silver Medals), The Great Taste Awards of 2015 (1-star), and the Olive Japan in 2017 (Silver), gaining the second place in ranking for the Best Flavoured Olive Oils 2017 Worldwide.

We love pairing this olive oil with fresh white fish, roasted colourful vegetables and use it to create wonderful dressings for our summer tomato salads. We will have more recipes on our blog very soon, so watch this space!

And some of the judges’ words:

The epitome of what is possible when a product is made honestly with the highest quality ingredients. Simply superb. The lemon, and orange come through separately, but with symbiosis, to deliver a long silky citrus aftertaste.

The explosion of the individual flavours is really attractive, and yet the oil is piquant but also balanced and smooth, lacking the peppery hit at the end. This oil gives a flavoursome experience…The aromas are clean and a good length on the palate.

This oil has a beautiful golden colour and a smooth, rich buttery texture with clear discernible aromas of lemon and orange rather than any generic citrus. On the palate it’s a delicious, complex oil with the same citrus notes clearly apparent as well as the presence of thyme. There is a pepperiness that is well-balanced and not overpowering, so the other flavours can still be enjoyed. A true flavour journey and a great product that is long on the palate and leaves you wanting more.

And we are even more proud to share that this is not the only awarded produce!

Two of our olives received a two-star award! Our Kalamata Olives with Herbs and our Kalamata Olives with Lemon and Herbs received two stars each.

The judges’ words for the Kalamata Olives with Herbs:

Good shiny appearance and a pleasing aroma of herbs…The vinegar used with its addition of herbs adds fragrance and acidity, offsetting the olives’ richness…Beautiful soft texture with a pleasing meaty natural texture and flavour complemented by notes of herbs. A delight!

And for the Kalamata Olives with Lemon and Herbs:

…appealing to look at, uniform in size and a nice colour. We liked the zesty aroma in the oil. …they have an enjoyable texture and a juiciness and bite. We loved the zesty lemon flavour, the aromatic herbs and notes of honey blossom.  The kalamata olives here are tender, plump, and delicious, and worth an an award in their own right. The olive oil in which they sit, is simply delicious, and delivers a really authentic citrus edge. Overall a quite wonderful flavour combination. 

Have a look at exciting recipes with olives all around our blog.

And last, but definitely not least, our Orange Blossom Honey was also awarded with one star! Read a few of the judges’ own words below and find exciting recipes with honey here.

A beautiful texture, golden colour and a very elegant floral aroma of the orange blossom. The texture was smooth and melted in the mouth nicely. The flavour was rather beautiful, with lovely balance – plenty of the orange blossom flavour comes through, and there is a rich sweetness making for a very rounded and delicious honey.  

We promise to continue to offer you unique foods of exquisite taste, crafted with respect for the land and the people.