Meet Rob and Pam – the amazing couple behind OliveOlive.co.uk
They started OliveOlive in 2014 to bring the delicious extra virgin olive oil produced by Pam’s family to the UK. We’re a family-run business, based in Huntingdon but the family’s farm is in Larnaca, Cyprus has been producing fantastic olive oil for generations. The farm’s unique location combines the Mediterranean sunshine and the cool sea breeze which enable our olives to grow succulent and in abundance. Our olives are handpicked and cold pressed within 24 hrs of harvest for maximum flavour. We don’t believe in adding anything to our 100% extra virgin olive oil, just the most recent harvest of olives for a smooth, rich, and creamy taste and olive oil that is perfect for everyday use.
We’re excited to be using OliveOlive.co.uk halloumi and their olive oil in our new Vegetarian Stifado recipe! You can check out the recipe (and video) here!
In the meantime here’s a chance to hear Rob and Pams story… (oh, and they have also been kind enough to offer FiveDinners members an exclusive 10% discount at their online shop – just use the code THEOM10 on checkout)
1) How long has OliveOlive been going?
We sold our first bottle in 2014, and we’re still going!
2) What do you sell?
Extra virgin olive oil from Pam’s family farm in Cyprus, and authentic old school halloumi cheese also from Cyprusunder our own brand Cyprus Village. Not like the shop stuff!
3) What’s the background story on how the company started?
Pam was always sent the family’s olive oil over the years and whenever she gave some to friends they couldn’t believe how good it was compared to what they usually bought. So when the time was right we just decided to give it a go, and here we are all these years later!
4) As it’s a family business – have you got any tips for working with family?
Would you recommend it?! No problem when they’re in a different country, it’s those closer to home you have to worry about!
5) Please can you describe the process of how olives are made into olive oil?
It’s a very simple process: Our olives are handpicked, then taken to the mill where they are washed, squashed and spun in the centrifuge. At the end of the process there are 3 exit pipes – one for the water, one for the pulpy waste and lastly one for the super fresh extra virgin olive oil.
6) How often do you go back to Cyprus, and can you describe what the area is like from where you source your olives?
We usually try to go once a year to help with the harvest. It’s a very rural area – exactly as you’d expect – hills, villages and olive trees everywhere you look.
7) What does the term ‘cold pressed’ mean?
It’s a bit of a misnomer – truth is all olive oil producers have to heat their olive oil somewhat to aid oil extraction. As long as you don’t exceed 27 degrees it doesn’t diminish the quality and can be officially classed as cold pressed. Suffice to say ours is always cold pressed which is why it tastes so good.
8) What does ‘extra virgin’ olive oil mean?
By law, every bottle should have displayed the following statement: “Superior category olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means”. In short, it is solely the oil from cold pressed olives, pure and unadulterated, having undergone no extreme heat or chemical treatment and contains no more than 1% oleic acid. “Extra Virgin” also denotes that the oil is free of defects of flavour or odour.
9) How did it feel to hear Tom Kerridge say: “fantastic olive oil, tastes amazing”, and when did he try it?
We always offer our olive oil to the demo chefs when there is a demo kitchen at any event we attend, and Tom tried it at the Essex Food Show a few years back. Some chefs appreciate extra virgin olive oil more than others and he really loved it.
10) Are there any other famous names/restaurants who have tried your olive oil that you want to shout out about?
James Martin is a big fan of our olive oil. He’s used it many times at various events and without naming us directly you will often hear him proclaim the best olive oil in the world comes from Cyprus.
11) For anyone who’s an olive oil novice, what tips have you got for recognising a good olive oil? Is the ‘taste test’ the best judge or are there other things to look out for?
Never buy what’s on offer at the supermarket, and also don’t assume an expensive olive oil is better because of the price – there are an awful lot of bad olive oils out there. Never buy if it’s in plastic or in a clear glass bottle. It’s worth doing a bit of research – can you trace the story back to the farm or is it sourced from different countries, in which case how can you really trust the contents? Check the reviews – see what other people say about it. Find a trusted supplier. Buy a small bottle and if you’re happy with it buy a bigger container and decant when needed to save yourself a small fortune.
12) Is it true that olive oil shouldn’t be stored near heat/light? What tips have you got for storage?
As stated above, olive oil should only be stored in dark containers. In terms of storage, it has 3 enemies: light, heat and oxygen. As long as it’s in dark glass you can, just keep it in a cupboard or on the kitchen worktop away from any direct heat.
13) Please can you also break down the myths about cooking with olive oil? Is it ok to heat it?/Is there a certain temperature we should avoid?
Absolutely, in the Mediterranean they’ve been cooking with olive oil for 5000 years! They don’t have dozens of different options like we do in the UK – it’s not necessary. You may not want to deep fry with it but anything else is no problem at all. This is one of the great myths, but the good news is you needn’t worry about it – we use our olive oil for salads, dipping, shallow frying, baking, everything.
15) Let’s talk about your halloumi. What do you want people to know?
Pam’s mum Chloe says it’s the best halloumi cheese in Cyprus, and you don’t argue with your mother-in-law! She’s been buying her halloumi from our suppliers for years and immediately took us to see them when we first thought about offering halloumi alongside our olive oil. She’s right – you won’t find a better halloumi. It’s full of flavour and so much better than the rubbery stuff in the supermarkets which is mass produced with mostly cow’s milk, making it cheaper but also synthetic and flavourless. Cyprus Village halloumi is handmade with 100% goats milk – the best halloumi money can buy (not just because Chloe says so!).
16) What has been your proudest moment so far?
We could say when both our olive oil and our halloumi each won 2 gold stars at the 2020 Great Taste Awards we were pretty blown away. But even more than that, nearly 800 customers have taken the time to leave fantastic reviews, and each time we see a new one we really are chuffed to bits.
17) What makes you stand out from competitors?
We like to think the quality of the products & our commitment to outstanding customer service are second to none. Our reviews speak for themselves, and we’re happy to continue supplying the UK with such great produce.
Rob & Pam
10% discount code: THEOM10