A couple of weeks ago, a London-based company called P S Lambis started following me on Twitter. The name caught my attention, clearly looking very Cypriot, having grown up in Cyprus myself. The second I visited their website, I was in love with their products and everything their business stood for. Landing on the homepage, with a looped video of a Cypriot hillside landscape, I was transported back home.
P S Lambis was set up by the Lambis family in memory of their father, Pambos, and the company produces olive oil, honey and coffee, (all made in Cyprus) under the brand ‘ΟΣΟ’ (OSO). In Greek this means ‘as long’ or ‘as much’. All of these products played a key role in the life of Pambos Lambis. The company’s website has a ‘stories’ section written in a script form, re-enacting moments of his life that explain why these food items were so important to him. ‘The Journey‘ especially brought a tear to my eye. I related to this through my own family’s comings and goings from Cyprus, from our arrival as a family in 2001, my departure for university in 2006, and my mum selling up and leaving earlier this year after my dad passed away last summer. He is now buried in a beautiful cemetery on the island that he loved so much, surrounded by olive trees, orange trees and vineyards, so this is all very close to my heart.
Marios (Pambos’ youngest son and Director of the company) was kind enough to send me some olive oil and honey to try out. I was immediately impressed by the packaging and branding of the products. They come in fresh-looking white boxes that wouldn’t look out of place on a high-end perfume counter, they’re elegantly designed.
This blog post is the first of two, with this one focusing on the olive oil.
As P S Lambis explain on their website, and as I experienced first hand as a teenager, the olive tree and its harvest is seen as a very sacred thing. As the company puts it, “it embodies respect for the land and its fertility, love and honour of shared heritage and, of course, taste; everything it is to be Cypriot.” So needless to say, it has to be done right!
This Olive Oil is the first ever Premium Single Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Republic of Cyprus and is produced from the highest quality, hand-harvested Koroneiki variety of olive, grown on an estate owned by the same family for generations.
The team at P S Lambis cold press the olives on the same day as picking and the oil is then left to rest for several months to allow the natural separation of the sediment, to retain its quality and taste. It is bottled and labelled by hand – no big factory production lines here!
I decided to bake some focaccia bread to eat with the olive oil. I realise this isn’t Greek bread, but it just goes so perfectly with olive oil (and it’s one of the recipe ingredients). I hadn’t made it before, so I went with a slightly easier option of using a garlic and rosemary mix by Wright’s to start me off.
500g Wright’s bread mix,
310ml (11fl oz) of lukewarm water and
90ml (6 tbsp) of ΟΣΟ olive oil
Place mix in a bowl or food mixer, add water and 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil, mix together for 5 minutes to form a ball of dough.
Use 15ml of olive oil to oil tin(s). Place the dough on a floured surface and leave for 5 minutes.
Knead and stretch for 2 minutes. Divide into 3 and mould into balls. Place into 3 pre-oiled warmed sponge tins, or a single 30x25cm (12×10″) oiled roasting tin. Rest for 10 minutes.
Press the dough to fill out the tin(s). Cover and leave to rise for 15 minutes in a warm place.
Drizzle 15ml (1 tbsp) of olive oil on each dough or 45ml (3 tbsp) for single large tin, and dimple the surface with your fingertips. Leave to rise in a warm place for a further 15 minutes.
Rosemary or Mixed herbs can be sprinkle on top before baking if desired. Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F) or 210°C (410°F) for fan assisted ovens or Gas Mark 8.
At £22.00 per bottle, this olive oil isn’t cheap. But I promise you, it’s worth it! The oil is rich and full of flavour, without feeling greasy like cheaper alternatives on the market. It gave the focaccia a deep, delicious flavour, both from cooking with it, and drizzling it on top. I would thoroughly recommend it.
Keep an eye out for my next blog post focusing on the honey – I’m planning on making a baklava to accompany it, hopefully next weekend.
More information can be found on the gorgeous P S Lambis website.
I was given the olive oil and honey by P S Lambis but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.