"Isle of Olive", a shop specialising in natural Greek products opened its doors to the public in June 2013. The shop, located in the heart of one of the most food conscious neighbourhoods of East London, just off Broadway Market with its bustling Saturday street market, is showcasing some of the best natural food products coming out of Greece, as well as offering a relaxed environment to enjoy a herbal tea, Greek coffee and a tasty bite.
Paulina says: ‘We love the community feel in Hackney, everyone seems to want to work together and help each other. For us it’s a great place to live in and open our first shop! We have put a lot of effort and sweat into making this happen, but we feel it’s really worth it! Even though the times are difficult with the global economic crisis, we feel we are fulfilling two purposes at the same time; enabling Greek products reach a wider audience, helping the Greek economy; and, enabling the local community benefit by making available some great quality food products used in the Mediterranean Diet. On a more personal level, Isle of Olive brings together our split identity; Greece, where we grew up, a place close to our hearts; and London, the place we decided to make our home.’
Greg and Paulina are very passionate about what they do and how they do it. They work directly with small producers and agricultural cooperatives in Greece and only source products that they know to be of superior quality and that have been produced through sustainable methods. They offer a wide range of products that have been produced using organic methods, but do not limit themselves to just organic, as they feel that often knowing personally the producer can be enough!
Isle of Olive’s mission is to introduce and represent in the best way possible the finest range of natural food products that are currently coming out of Greece with a focus on knowledge, traceability and respect for the environment. Greg and Paulina put a lot of attention to the selection of their products, which come from all over Greece and value equally the quality credentials of a product as well as having a direct and honest relationship with the producer. Their areas of expertise are in extra virgin olive oil, olives, honey and herbs, although they also sell a variety of other products such as pulses, Greek cheeses, traditional sweets, rusks and various types of spreads. Some of their products such as the olive oil and pulses are available to buy loose, where the customer can fill and reuse the same container, aiming to reduce packaging and waste.
Greg says: ‘At the time when everyone was pulling their money out of Greece, we decided to move in the opposite direction and invest in our country. Both myself and Paulina have lived in the UK long enough to know that Greek products have been very poorly represented outside of Greece due to a lack of state interest and private initiative. On the other hand, we have also been increasingly aware of a culinary revolution, taking place quietly in Greece, with many young entrepreneurs and co-ops returning to traditional cultivations and crafts that have been abandoned for years and giving them a new spark of life. The result is that right now Greece is developing a distinct gastronomic offering, one that is based on traditional and, as we now well know, healthy food products, which are adapted for the modern way of life. Isle of Olive has been created to promote this offering in the UK and we hope that other efforts will follow ours.’
At Isle of Olive customers can expect to receive a lot of useful information about the products on display or they can take a break in the cosy “kafeneio” corner and enjoy a variety of herbal teas, Greek coffee and Greek yogurt based desserts. There is also a selection of pies available to eat in or take away.
For more information and general enquiries visit www.isleofolive.co.uk
Isle of Olive
6c Ada Street
London E8 4QU