an odyssey in food
There are many things I love in food blogging. The joy of making good old Greek recipes and immersing myself in cherished cooking smells, capturing light and showing off Greek dishes, that, to be honest, are not always the most photogenic (think of dark sauces and layers of moussaka entering the challenge spectrum). I love chatting with my readers (you, yes, you!) about recipes and tips, your take and your tries on Greek and Mediterranean food. In my food blogging adventure, I am certainly in very good company. Today, it’s about one of my friends, Odysea, a UK based company, and our joint food odyssey.
If you are based in the UK, perhaps the name Odysea already rings a bell. Have you ever been searching for stuffed vine leaves or spicy feta cheese in the supermarket? Or perhaps you came across an Iliada extra virgin olive oil bottle? It’s all thanks to them. Odysea is specialising in Greek and Mediterranean food since 1991, it all started from a tiny stall on Portobello Road Market. The founder of Odysea, Panos Manuelides had his stall full of premium olives that appealed a lot to locals’ taste buds. No wonder this stall was a success, back in the ’90s authentic, good quality Mediterranean staples such as olives were not as common. This tiny stall along with a lot of love for Greek food, inspired a much bigger and more delectable enterprise that is Odysea today.
The olives still feature in their range of products, firm green olives as well as the much loved Kalamata olives, excellent mixed olive vases in rich olive oil and herbs and even olives infused with spicy chilli oil. Think extra virgin olive oil, directly from Greece, pure thyme honey and also fragrant pine and fir tree honey – and the best part – are you ready? A great selection of mezze: vases filled with the tastiest spreads and antipasti inspired by authentic Greek and Mediterranean recipes. Wonderful red pepper and feta dip, rich harissa spicy mezze and velvety aubergine dip just to name a few. Of course there are stuffed vine leaves – ntolmadakia – and all of these goodies are just a click away at Odysea’s online shop. You will find saffron and wonderful roasted red peppers and caper berries for your salads as well as many pulses to stock the pantry with the essentials for a healthy and balanced diet.
As for me and Odysea, it would be hard not to meet since we both love Greek food and Mediterranean flavours so much. Nikki, the marketing manager of Odysea, got in touch to wish me good luck when the food blogging competition was running, back in the autumn of 2015. She was a fan! One of the very early ones. We slowly started chatting on recipes and before we realised there was a website that needed update and a few good recipes would come in handy. Of course, I was up for it!
We timidly started picking some of the Greek classic recipes, think of artichoke and peas and wonderful melomakarona (honey biscuits) for Christmas. Of course, the classic recipes are more or less well known to Greek cuisine aficionados. So, we decided to bring into the light the wealth of vegetarian recipes that in Greek are known as lathera. Lathera come from the word lathi – λάδι, which stands for olive oil in Greek. In essence, though, lathera are dishes that celebrate the abundance of seasonal vegetables or pulses. The olive oil is the key ingredient that enhances the natural flavour of the vegetables and adds richness and depth to the cooking sauce. Dishes that are nutritious, quick to make, easy to adhere into a busy schedule. And obviously, delicious! These recipes are ideas to make your cooking brighter, lighter and tastier and why not, bring in some of this good Greek cooking wisdom to inspire you.
As for me, I started my food blogging career with one of the best partners I could have ever had. What if the beans misbehave during the photo shoot or the lettuce has a bad leaf day, there is great satisfaction working with brands you love. Even if you have to finish with the photo shoot before you delve into one of these tasty pots, it’s all worth it. Cooking and photographing it is not just to showcase a product, but to give soul to the recipe. We talk about our recipes, about their heritage and what it means to us through pictures and words. In our cooking odyssey, we hope to give new life to recipes in kitchens that haven’t tried authentic Greek flavours before but rejoice at the flavours of the Mediterranean cooking.
As for you, thank you for reading yet another post. If you are in the UK, now you know where to find Greek products that you will cherish. You can find Odysea’s recipes here and don’t forget to join our food odyssey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
From Athens with love,