This week, our oregano oil producer Michalis Georgaras is writing about his new product, the amazing organic, extra virgin olive oil & oregano essential oil, awarded by the Health & Nutrition Committee of the World Olive Center for health with the Bronze standard of Excellence Award. We are very excited to read his story!
Sharing food is a ritual in Greece. It is a sacred time when family and friends gather around the table, share large platters of food, talk, fight and joke around. Indeed, food brings people together here in Greece. But we don’t just share food. Around the table we share feelings and ideas, our joys and sorrows. The most important social events, the warmest family gatherings, all of these happen over hearty meals. Food is the social glue that brings people together…and this is exactly how our new product came into being. We were inspired by this togetherness of people -and oils as a matter of fact.
The initial idea originated three years ago. We wanted to make a fine culinary product, an olive oil flavoured with the unique aroma of our oregano. Something that would be both tasty and with health benefits. It took us two years of intensive research to create what I consider to be the finest culinary oil I could possibly put together.
And it was food once again that brought people together. My wife Anastasia and myself started meeting olive oil producers from all over Greece and trying their best varieties of olive oil. After tasting over thirty different types of olive oil, some of the best our country has to offer, we found just what we were looking for:
A unique organic, extra virgin, cold pressed, single variety Greek olive oil that can only be sourced from the area of Gera bay on the island of Lesvos. The trees (olea europaea var. Pyriformis) that produce this olive oil are truly unique. They are wild olive trees, native to the land. Trees that, according to the locals, were grafted with a variety brought from southern Italy by the Venetians back in the 15th century, when they had occupied Lesvos. This variety of trees found a home at Gera, a bay with a unique microclimate. These olive trees grow next to pine trees and indigenous aromatic herbs, all of which add to the unique flavor of the olives. Centuries later, the pairing of cultures and lands has given us a variety of olives called “kolovi” (meaning “without tail” due to their round shape).
The olive oil from Gera bay is a superior olive oil that has an incredible taste, less chlorophyll than the rest (that means it is harder to oxidize), and is extremely rich in polyphenols and antioxidants (providing oxidative stress protection, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardioprotective and neuroprotective activity). Its colour is golden and its taste is rich and fruity, with a mild after-taste. It is the kind of olive oil that you can just add on a piece of bread and call it a meal. Yes, it is that tasty.
And it is to this olive oil that I wanted to add our “trademark”. The very unique essential oil of oregano that we have been producing at our a family farm. For you see, although our classic oregano essential oil is very beneficial for our health, its taste didn’t prove to be as delicate and aromatic as I wanted for this culinary product.
So, a second round of research started, with the support of our scientists. We collaborated in tracking the growth of our plants, so as to discover the peak of the balance between the aromas and the health properties. We used drones to measure, observe, and respond to the variability found in crops. Through a different process of distillation, we managed to get a small quantity of an oregano essential oil that was a lot more playful and aromatic than our classic one, but maintains its healthy properties at the same time.
We therefore combined these two exquisite ingredients to make our final product. An oil that is crafted with no compromises. The entire process is organic, not just the ingredients; from tracing the plants, using strict organic farming methods, combining traditional and modern precision agriculture, using the right violet glass bottles to help the preservation. We are proud to make a health claim on this product, based on the incredible properties of its two components. It is also certified by the Vegan Society.
We gave samples to family, friends and some very experienced chefs and the feedback we got was that our product was truly delicious! Try it on a simple bruschetta with cherry tomatoes, in your salad, or add it just before serving a bowl of soup. Not only will you be happy with the flavourful result, but you will reap the benefits for your health as well.
Our current batch only counts 700 numbered bottles. Apart from our standard 100ml bottle, you can also find our 20ml minis. Both are ideal to keep in your office drawer for your lunch break, to add in food hampers as presents, or picnic baskets. You can even take them along with you in flight as a gift for friends abroad (be careful not to indulge yourself while on board…).
This is the second product that enters the Aetheleon family, as we take our time making sure that we deliver high quality items. We resonate with Hippocrates when it comes to “letting thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine thy food”. And this is exacly what our last project has been all about. Oregano has traditionally been used in Greek cuisine as the final dash that will bring the food flavours together; a pinch of aroma that will lift both taste and spirits. The essence of all that, along with our crazy passion for natural quality in oils have been encapsulated in this product with the hope that you get a drop of Greece at its best every time you taste it!
You can read more on Greek oregano here