One of the most beautiful ingredients in my kitchen is olive oil. Olive oil represents so many things for me, from baptismal use and for medicinal purposes, to cooking with it on a daily basis, it is an ingredient with which I feel very close If you ask any Greek person what olive oil means to them, I am sure they will tell you many things. I feel connected to olive oil on so many levels and am very passionate about it. As I walked through my friend’s olive grove back in 2016 in Filia Kalamata, I felt a sense of emotions rush over me. I immediately became sentimental from smelling the elies (olives) in the air; it brought back memories for me with my family in Greece. As the quote says if Greece is completely destroyed, all we need is one olive branch to build the country back. This is true, as Greece has so many olive trees growing all over their land.
Please welcome Oleosophia all the way from Kalentzi, Greece.
Oleosophia Q & A
How did you start your beautiful Oleosophia adventure? What’s the inspiration?
In short, love is the inspiration! It all started when I met my (now) husband, George! I was a typical city girl that enjoyed traveling and trying new things and experiences. I met George at a celebratory event and we enjoyed discussing for hours on end about creating new things and combining the old with the new! As the romance grew and I met his family, which happened to be based near the place where I spent most of my childhood summers, I was reintroduced to nature! I learned a lot about the land, the history, and the olive trees…and I smile when I say the olive trees… those grand, majestic trees that give us so much through their fruits and their olive oil! When I discovered all the aromas and the actual freshness and authenticity, that had nothing to do with the olive oil I used to consume in the city, it just clicked. I just knew this was something life-changing for me and I felt the need to share it with the world! So, along with the man of my life, I found my purpose and through our love, OLEOSOPHIA blossomed! I designed the concept, the values I wanted to communicate and built a network of partners. At the same time, and as I come from a scientific background, I actively pursued my further education, gaining my certification as an Olive Oil Sommelier.
2. How did the name Oleosophia come about?
It came quite naturally, to be honest! Understanding how beautiful the circle of life is for olive oil, we felt humbled by the wisdom of nature and we felt the need to communicate this feeling. OLEOSOPHIA comes from the words Oleo (oil, in Latin) + Sophia (wisdom, in Greek). So for us, it expresses the wisdom of olive oil that embraces tradition, nature, science, culture, memories, and experiences, connecting us to each other!
3. Where is your family farm located in Greece? Can you tell the audience a bit more about the cultivation of the farm?
Our family is based in the village of Kalentzi, in the Corinthian region. Kalentzi sits at the foot of Mt. Fokas, the mountain where according to Greek Mythology, the Lion of Nemea was born – one of the Herculean Labours! It is known for the olive groves and the grapes that are cultivated around it. So, the olive groves – and the Manaki olive variety that we cultivate – are found in semi- and mountainous locations.
The cultivation of the farm is a family thing. Olive trees are strong trees indeed, but they need to be taken good care of, in order to reward us with their liquid gold. We make sure they remain healthy throughout the year by tending to them when they need it: appropriate pruning, giving the right nutrients, overseeing the growth and the development of the olive fruits, identifying the level of maturity of the fruit, collecting the olives by hand and immediately transferring them to the olive mill to be pressed under the right temperatures. Then, and only then, do we enjoy the fresh, healthy and tasty extra virgin olive oil! To achieve all that, we need to keep up to date with the best practices, build on our education and knowledge and work with respect to nature!
4. Can you explain to us the process of extracting the oil?
Sure! First of all, let’s explain that olive oil extraction is the process of separating the oil from the other fruit contents. After the olives are picked from the tree, they are transferred within a few hours to the olive mill where they are cleaned. Then, they are crushed into an olive paste so as to tear the flesh of the olives and help the oil to come out. The next step is the malaxation – the mixing, basically, of the paste for some minutes (can range between 20 to 45 minutes usually) to help small oil droplets merge into bigger ones. Finally, the oil is then separated from the rest of the olive components.
OLEOSOPHIA Extra Virgin Olive Oil is pressed in low temperatures to ensure high quality, high content in antioxidants, the richness of aromas, and fine organoleptic characteristics – that is, the fruitiness, bitterness, and pungency (that “bite” in the throat) of the olive oil.
5. Oleosophia specializes in the Manaki variety. Can you explain in detail about this olive variety?
Yes! Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) can come from many varieties of olives – each with its own characteristics. We cultivate the Manaki variety, a variety that is rare, sensitive, and is found in only two regions of Greece and nowhere else in the world. This makes it a truly unique experience that you can either enjoy by traveling to our area or, through your OLEOSOPHIA bottle!
The Manaki EVOO has a mild profile with a rich aroma of fresh, green olive leaves and unripe olives. It is well balanced with medium intensity of bitterness and pungency and a predominance of green fruitiness – a sensory profile that is easy to use in your kitchen and makes it loved by our consumers. A taste of OLEOSOPHIA Manaki brings you to the Corinthian area, amongst the olive trees with its freshness and unique aromas and that is an authentic experience for olive oil lovers and fellow Oleosophers.
Moreover, OLEOSOPHIA has been awarded the Health Certificate and Olympia 2020 Award for its monovarietal phenolic content further reinforcing its profile, as it may be consumed to enrich our body with antioxidants and phenols and it is also awarded GREAT TASTE 2020 award! Finally, OLEOSOPHIA’s minimal design and approaches aim to communicate nature’s powerful simplicity, making it ideal for everyday use as well as a personal or corporate gift. OLEOSOPHIA is a family product, meaning consumers can reach out to our family, speak with us and get to know us in order to build trust and reliability.
6. What is your favorite process of making oil? Is it watching the olives bloom, the process of the olives coming off the trees, or the making of the oil? Or all of the above?
I enjoy all stages of the olive oil lifecycle but I think I would separate 2 phases in particular: one is the blooming of the olives, as walking through the olive grove when it’s blooming gives me a sense of inner peace and optimism, making me think that everything is possible in life and the second would be the tasting of the olive oil as soon as it comes out of the olive mill – that first sip holds within it a sense of eagerness, anticipation, and bliss and it feels like the olive tree is silently thanking you for taking good care of it. There are so much respect and love in that first sip.
7. What does Greek cuisine mean to you?
Home. It means home and a sense of belonging. I have been lucky enough to have traveled to many countries, have studied abroad, and made friends from so many places around the globe. And of course, tasted and appreciated different cuisines! The Greek cuisine, however, speaks to me like no other – it embraces all the memories of smells, aromas, and feelings that I have from my home, my mom, my grandma, and the food that I cook for my family now.
8. Can you please share your favorite Greek quote.
Oh, there are so many… but the first and most favorite would be from Socrates “Know thyself”. It speaks to me on many levels: know yourself, explore, understand and respect yourself, your mind, your body, your needs, your thirst for life! And with that knowledge, make the best choices for you, for your health, for your growth as a person. This is why we have shared this quote on our bottles so that our fellow Oleosophers know themselves and choose high-quality extra virgin olive oil OLEOSOPHIA!
9. What is your favorite go-to Greek recipe when using Oleosophia?
Fish with boiled vegetables – broccoli, courgettes, and carrots! The delicate freshness of OLEOSOPHIA compliments the delicate flavor of fish while its aromas embrace my vegetables, throwing a party for my sense of smell! That, and the traditional ntako!
10. Marianna can you tell us a little bit about your educational background.
OLEOSOPHIA does not stop there! It is not just a product – it is our hard work, our love story, our home’s aromas and flavors in a bottle, but also, it is our passion to spread knowledge about extra virgin olive oil! And we start with ourselves. Being fascinated by the way nature works, I studied Physics in Athens and London and worked in industry and in EU research projects. When turning to olive oil, I realized the complexity of it – science, technology, tradition, art, culture. So my background definitely helps me with a different approach and mindset. And, being the geek, I studied to become a certified Olive Oil Sommelier, enriching my knowledge on high-quality extra virgin olive oil, food pairing, production processes, and sensory profiles of different varieties. Today, we are proud and happy to welcome people in our olive grove for olive oil tours and olive oil tastings under the trees, to discuss and connect, and to become a bigger family with them. We offer a well-rounded, authentic, and memorable experience that will unfold all senses! We also bring you OLEOSOPHIA through our webinars and workshops on the farm-to-table, Mediterranean diet, food pairings, olive oil myth-busters, and more! Together, we explore the importance of extra virgin olive oil as a consistent, daily habit, its contribution to our sustainable way of living and our economy, its range of culinary applications, etc. Just make sure you follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter to get informed about all the collaborations and upcoming news! By joining our community of Oleosophers, you can enjoy the personal relationship that we build with you and have your olive oil family extension to Greece. After all, OLEOSOPHIA comes from our family table to yours.
Are you an Oleosopher?
Tag Oleosophia on social media and use hashtag #oleosopher!
Connect with Oleosophia
Stay tuned as we are brewing up some recipes & classes to come!! 🙂