When I was a little girl, my mother tried relentlessly to instil in me a love of Greek food. Our dinner table was an Odyssey of Greek dishes... slow-cooked lamb, fresh feta drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and oregano, giant red beans in salsa, moussaka, taramasalata, lightly fried calamari... the list is endless.
I, however, was a steak and chips girl, and though I loved pasta, just plain spaghetti tossed with butter was my idea of gourmet. No one could convince me to take a second bite of anything else, no matter how many variations of beef ragu, dolmades, spanakopita or zucchini fritters were recreated to tempt me.
And if there was any semblance of olive oil on my food, I preferred to go without, proclaiming fervently that "olive oil was the absolute worst ingredient anyone could possibly use" and "who ever invented it in the first place!" "No wonder the ancient Olympians rubbed it all over their bodies," I’d protest, "that’s all it could possibly be good for!"
It took a trip to Greece in my early teens and subsequent trips to other parts of Southern Europe to finally reconcile the reasons behind my aversions to the exquisite tastes of the Mediterranean.
It was a simple realisation, and one most of us in this day and age as world travellers and lovers of good food have come to know. That is, it's near impossible to impart authenticity to a dish or to appreciate the nuances of its flavour, unless you use authentic ingredients from the lands of its origin.
Yes we used imported extra virgin olive oil on our food here, but this bulk commercial product was a gastronomical world apart from that which featured in my relatives’ simple Greek village spreads.
When I first tried olive oil in my dad’s ancestral home, I was dumfounded by the richness of colour and the fresh green, yet fruity and sweet aromas that permeated the entire room as the cork was popped off its bottle. This was not the same product I had protested against for years, this was a gift from the Gods!
I wanted more of this liquid gold and not just in my salad or on my gran’s strange wood-fired bitter yellowish bread (aka sourdough), I wanted a Greco-Roman bath full, one that I could dive straight into!
Fast-forward a couple of decades and many more trips later, I have become a true, gourmet Mediterranean foodie. I now choose a crab, garlic and chilli linguine for my pasta, figs wrapped in prosciutto finished off with a gorgonzola sauce and caramelised balsamic as an entrée to my ‘steak with rosemary potatoes’ and of course, an authentic, single estate, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil that comes straight from the olive press, across the seas, here to Mediterranean Gourmet.
While I’ve yet to indulge in an extra virgin olive oil bath, access to artisan products has led me to indulge in the best the Mediterranean has to offer.
From exquisite balsamic vinegar pearls, to truffle risotto and red wine infused fettuccine, to black garlic sauce and gourmet Mediterranean cheeses, the team at Mediterranean Gourmet and those who work with us, seek to discover traditional tastes that have been handed down for generations.
Our producers are mostly boutique and bespoke farmers and artisans, whose creations are born from a passion to remember the old, while envisaging the new.
We hope you enjoy the selection of products featured here on our website, which hail from across the Mediterranean.
We trust they inspire your own Mediterranean Dish Odyssey and we look forward to continuing to add new gourmet Mediterranean innovations here for you.