Olive Oil: Health Bottled Up in Pure Art
Olive oil consists of multiple beneficial components including antioxidants, phenols, vitamins and more. This so-called “green gold” has been cultivated and processed since 4000 BC. Today, Amadeus Tzamouranis, one of the three partners of OEL Zoe, takes us onto their journey. He explains how olive oil contributes to a healthier lifestyle, and why it was decided to combine olive oil with pure art.
A Harmonic Project
Amadeus comes from a family of artists, some of whom still live in Kalamata, Greece. His great-grandfather was a church painter in his day, his grandfather replaced engineering with painting, and his father, Dimitrios Tzamouranis, has been dedicated to art since childhood. Amadeus, on the other hand, always had a passion for olive oil and dreamed of combining art with culinary. His goal was to put olive oil, discredited by adulteration and blending, back to the pedestal it deserved.
By combining the family’s two greatest passions, art and olives, the concept of OEL Zoe was born. “When we created OEL, we didn’t want to focus solely on the olive oil as a product. For us it’s all about the olive oil culture, the connection we have with the olive trees, the balance we seek with nature, and the fact that everything is created with great wisdom in mind. OEL Zoe brings together tradition and modernity, agriculture and art, simplicity and complexity, and last but not least, father and son. The product makes it possible to cross thematic paths that might otherwise have run parallel to one and another forever.”
The Building Blocks
OEL Zoe is a one-of-a-kind olive oil made from organic Koroneiki olives. These fruits grow and thrive on the trees found on the family’s own land in Greece. “The olives used are hand-harvested exclusively from trees that are more than 500 years old, some even over [a] thousand years old. Because the fruits are harvested before the beginning of the usual harvesting period in the Messenia region (early November to late February), the olive oil remains very aromatic and fresh.” Anyone who tries olive oil from Koroneiki olives will be captivated by the Peloponnesian flavor.
“For us, it is of the greatest importance that the valuable ingredients are preserved and protected by our packaging as much as possible. That’s why we opted for a bottle made of MIRON Violet Glass, which reliable shields the harmful rays of visible light.” Looking closely at the label, you will see Dimitrios Tzamouranis’ painting Decameron, which depicts his youngest daughter Zoe (meaning ‘life’). The artwork was inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, which was written in the 14th century and became the style-defining model for almost all Western novella collections. The artwork tells the story of seven women and three men who have left Florence to seek safety from the plague (the Black Death) in a country house. “With OEL Zoe we want to focus on strong values like faith, hope and love, because without them we lose our ground in times of crisis. In addition, the artwork celebrates the abundance and richness of life surrounded by nature. What better fit for this oil?”
The Essence of a Greek Lifestyle
The Koroneiki olive has been cultivated and processed into olive oil for more than 3,000 years. It is not just a piece of history; it is also an expression of the Greek lifestyle. A cheerful gathering of friends, lively stories, and good food. “My grandmother always said to me when I was a child: oil is better than gold. And she was right, in a way it is green gold. It is the healthiest fat we can consume.”
“A high-quality Koroneiki olive oil always guarantees an incomparable wealth of components. And these can have serious effects on a person’s health.” The Koroneiki olive is the superfood of the Mediterranean. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, contains a lot of oleic acid, and has a particularly high content of polyphenols, which are extremely healthy antioxidants. Because of this, extra virgin olive oil is first and foremost a healthy investment for the body and should be a daily luxury that everyone should enjoy.
The Koroneiki olive is the definition of small, but mighty: These relatively small olives are among the most productive varieties and already account for over 60% of Greek olive oil production. It can be found on every table, in almost every dish, it is used to protect our body against ageing and diseases, and it gives us valuable antioxidants that contribute to a healthy life.
Protection from Light
“Light is the source of all life on this planet. That’s a fact. But although we olive producers are fans of light, we also have a few problems with it.” When olive oil is correctly produced and processed, it is uniquely rich in nutrients. To preserve these nutrients, they must be protected from light. Indeed, radiation from visible light spectrum can greatly accelerate the molecular disintegration and breakdown of olive oil’s components.
“To protect our OEL Zoe from this breakdown, we pour it into violet bottles of MIRON glass. The violet glass acts as a filter against the harmful rays of visible light. Since we attach great importance to preserving the quality of our products during their production and processing, it was logical for us to bottle OEL Zoe in violet glass. This way, all the properties and bioenergies of our olive oil are naturally preserved.”