Feature room: Andreas Papaspyrou, Co-Founder of Papa’s Grove
One of the most elaborate Easter celebrations around the world actually takes place in Greece, with feasts often taking days to prepare and hours to eat. This year, we’ve decided to pay homage to two Greek brothers whom are producing their own label of extra virgin olive oil: Papa’s Grove.
Using mostly unripe green olives from their family’s olive groves in Peloponnese, Papa’s Grove has created an exceptional, well-bottled extra virgin olive oil that will change the way you appreciate real EVOO.
We speak with one half of the Papaspyrou brothers, Andreas, on everything related to their brand of liquid gold and Easter festivities in Greece!
1. What is your favourite dish to make using/ thing to eat with olive oil?
Grilled fresh fish marinated and drizzled on top with in Papa’s Grove olive oil. Or just simply dipping (my wife’s) freshly baked bread in our oil.
2. Can you share one secret/ lesser known use of olive oil?
For those who suffer from severe eczema, sensitive skin or contact dermatitis, olive oil is a good choice to assuage dry, flaky skin. Or… A soup soon to cure hangover!
3. What are some health benefits that you believe to be a result of consuming olive oil regularly?
The health benefits of olive oil are unrivalled! An essential nutritional mainstay for the world’s longest-living cultures. Many of the health-promoting effects of the Mediterranean diet have been attributed to olive oil consumption.
Replacing other less healthy fats with olive oil has been shown to aid in the prevention of a myriad of diseases and counter effects of aging. Prominent cardiologists recommend at least two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day to enjoy the many ways olive oil can be beneficial to your health and well being.
Olive oil benefits are so extensive that it is considered a functional food with components that contribute to its overall therapeutic qualities including a reduction of risk factors of coronary heart disease, the prevention of cancers, and alterations of immune and inflammatory responses.
4. How much olive oil does your family go through in a month?
We go through our 5-litre tin almost every 2 months as we use it on EVERY dish or type of cooking.
5. What do you look for when buying a bottle of olive oil?
A beautifully designed white bottle and states “Papa’s Grove”! (LOL).
Seriously, what is important is checking the “best before” date that helps identify the harvest year of the bottle. Olive oil loses its anti-oxidants and freshness gradually so you would always want the latest harvest in your bottle. EU regulation dictates maximum 24 months from the time of bottling and given that the harvest window is end October to January, so fro example, a bottle that expires in Sep 2017 has been bottled in Sep 2015 so it is definitely from a 2014/2015 harvest. For us, we put down an expiry of 18months as we want you consume it as fresh as possible.
6. What is the most interesting thing you’ve seen/tasted/cooked with olive oil?
7. What sets Greek olives (Koroneiki and Manaki varieties) apart from those in other countries? How does this affect the taste of Papa’s Grove olive oil?
Each variety has its own characteristics when it comes to taste, smell and antioxidants. Koroneiki is the most famous Greek variety, its extra virgin olive oil tends to be bitter, robust and flavourful — perfect for bold foods. Manaki is more sweet and aromatic. Balanced and rich even when cooked. Our green Papa’s Grove is a perfect blend of both variety olives pressed together.
8. Tell us what it is like in Peloponnese. Do you still live there?
I am currently based in Singapore, my brother is the one living and producing our olive oil in Greece. Peloponnese is and has always been my sanctuary, it has beautiful mountains and hills and always within short distance to the beautiful deep blue sea.
9. Is Good Friday/ Easter Sunday a big occasion in Greece? How do people celebrate?
Easter is a big deal for Greeks, traditionally an even bigger celebration than Christmas! After having fasted for a week (or 40 days for the more religious ones!), the whole family celebrates resurrection and Easter Sunday with a massive feast, music, dancing, drinking and loads of firecrackers!
10. What is your vision for the future of olive oil/ Papa’s Grove?
Conscious of sounding somewhat unambitious, Papa’s Grove has already exceeded my expectations in only its 2nd year of commercialisation. When you already have some of the worlds top Chefs preferring you in their kitchens (we supply to in total 8 Michelin Stars of restaurants in Singapore for example) and when you have simple people on the markets recognising it and telling you how they love it, that they never knew Olive Oil can taste like this, make me proud and gives me satisfaction and fulfilment. What I hope in the near future, is to continue to expand into more interesting markets and looking to add a few more special products into our offering.
Bringing the celebrations a little closer to home, we have created a Greek Mezze Platter with chicken souvlaki, housemade feta tzatziki, hummus and flatbread using their signature, peppery blend of oil. Try it at SPRMRKT and SPRMRKT Daily, available till 16th April!