One aspect of the reconnaisance for projects in Greece included embracing and honoring past experiences. The place of foodways and cuisine in the narrative of lives can never be underestimated. The taste and aroma of a specific food brings back floods of memories, crossing the bounderies of time and space.
Visiting Laconia, the region in the Greek Peloponnesus that year after year receives accolades for both it’s olives and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) was in many ways like coming home. Coming home to family heritage, coming home to living in other olive producing countries and how we embraced those cyclical events that humans have engaged in from time immemorial.
In the village of Soustiani in Laconia we met Nikos Papadakos and his wife, after a 6 year hiatus, to again talk about their company, Lithos. In this region of olive excellence they form a cooperative of organic farmers, collecting the harvest into one source and both pressing the fruit into EVOO and packaging the olives in both jars and vacuum packed sachets for easy transport. The olives in their tiny green immature state are like gems of encapsulated sensory memory, delicate and evocative. The larger, more meaty, mature olives are delicously familiar as well. (The fact that the Greek word Lithos translates to “a precious stone” makes this all the more relevant.)
Olive groves and hospitality fit together in a numerous, experiential ways, creating new sensory memories and connections, like a breadcrumb or pebble path to follow.
We’ll keep you posted on where they might lead.