This new drop of outstanding extra virgin olive oil, now live in more than 150 Waitrose stores around the country, is a whole new oil from a whole new region for us. And we just can’t wait to share it with you...
At Citizens of Soil, we source small-batch extra virgin olive oils from women across the Mediterranean who are farming in a more sustainable way.
We’re trying to not only to excite people around olive oils—but also champion the farmers that do them right. And then expand with more farmers, until we can start to turn more of the olive oil industry into a more fair, flavourful, and sustainable place.
So when the opportunity came along to get a single estate oil from a producer who shared our ethos into more places in the UK—we jumped. Or specifically *flew* immediately over to a woman we knew might be the right fit.
In a very short time, Marianna has dropped into the olive oil scene and quickly became an expert in the space. But this journey, and her oil itself, starts with a love story…
Marianna, a city girl from Athens, met George, a country boy from Kalentzi. George’s family has been cultivating grapes and olive trees for generations, but he moved on to pursue a career in IT. Through these two separate worlds coming together, Marianna was introduced to real, quality extra virgin olive oil. And it blew her mind. 💥
Coming from a science background with a Masters in Physics and a post as a research assistant on EU projects in sustainable mobility, this city girl transformed into a rural producer, using her research background to dive into the world of olive oil.
Fast-forward to her quitting her city job and rolling up her sleeves on the grove. She’s now an olive oil sommelier and consultant, and certified by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and the International Culinary Center of New York, as well as the Spanish School of Olive Oil (ESAO). And, importantly, she’s a champion for her special local olive varieties that George’s family produce: Manaki and Megaritiki.
Something *extra* from the Peloponnese
Greece is the OG when it comes to EVOO. It’s a land where mythical gods meet the idealised Mediterranean diet. But when we think of the specific regions inside of Greece that are famed for their oil, even amongst the Greeks themselves, it would have to be our beloved Crete and the Peloponnese Peninsula.
Here, we find Marianna & George in the village of Kalentzi—an ancient magical place on the Peloponnese Peninsula where the island life bridges with that of the mainland. And unlike the poster of what a Greek holiday typically looks like, it has more of a wild touch to it. It is where, in the land of myths, the Lion of Nemea was born to kill Hercules. The area has hidden fortresses, the ancient Corinth acropolis, monasteries, ancient temples, and traditions that are revived every year in celebration of this rich history.
And here, in the rolling hills of grapes and olives, you’ll find the village of Kalentzi, where the Manginas family farm their 14 hectares of 4,000 trees (and growing).
How to use this olive oil
Different olive oils from different places taste different. And while we have an oil from Crete, this is a whole new variety–never mind also an altogether different place, producer, and process. This particular EVOO certainly hits like your every-day staple. It’s not bitter or too peppery. It’s not bold or punchy.
We’d describe this as elegant. Something you could literally pour over anything, from sweets to savouries.
This oil from Marianna in the Peloponnese is delicate and fruity, with aromas of red apple, oregano, and a hint of basil and mint. It gives fresh herb garden notes right when you pop your nose in.
On the palate, you’ll get that elegant mouthfeel with dried herbs. The finish is long, with cracked black pepper and a gentle, lingering spice—though softer on this side. This makes it ideal for fish, potatoes, salads, and rice pairings.
Our favourite ways to use it? Here’s what we’ve been pouring it over lately:
- Pestos: In fresh, herby sauces like pesto, chermoula, and chimichurris!
- Perfect to put this over pasta, beans, potatoes.
- Salads: Marinating summer tomatoes or drizzled over fruit salads.
- Ice cream: Poured over vanilla ice cream with a bit of sea salt, or with crème fraîche over a chocolate cake with berries in the sunshine.
Want to try this oil? It's exclusively at Waitrose now, so head on over to your local and taste it for yourself...
*Note: This is available in both our 500ml bottle and refill pouch at Waitrose! And, as always, we take back our pouches to fully recycle with TerraCycle. See more about how our refills work.
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