Not sure whether to make your next bottle of’special’ olive oil Spanish, Italian or French? Well how about going a bit further afield and  all the way to Crete?

“oi1 PDO Viannos” landed on our doorstep and immediately started a debate with some saying that while Cretian olives were fine to nibble when on a beach they were no use at all as oil.

A bit unfair the others thought and reached for some bread to dip with while someone else filled a saucer.

The olive oil is cold extractedfrom Koroneiki olives in the Viannos PDO region, one of the 9 PDO regions of Crete, regions that have been certified for the quality of their unique product thanks to the specific soil and climate conditions of the region.

The coastal zone of Viannos is fertile, as the streams and rivers that cross the mountainous and semi-mountainous zone end here, enriching the soil with their deposits and irrigating the land. Olive trees make up most of the crops.

Taste? Definitely as rich and fruity as Sid James in a chocolate shop and with some serious pepperiness and a deep golden colour. It’s tasty enough to eat with warm crusty bread, although we had to make do with some focaccia from Waitrose. Blended with some light white wine vinegar it made a robust vinaigrette to put on salads to eaten with meat and tomato based dishes.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to experiment with olive oils, and if you’re reading this you must be, then get out of your usual oil slick and try some Viannos.

Available from Tesco

Melitzanosalata (Aubergine Sauce)


  • 3 aubergines

  • 2 garlic cloves or 1 sliced onion

  • 2 tablespoons of tahini

  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar

  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil

  • Salt, pepper, oregano

  • 2 tablespoons of almonds or walnuts bleached and crushed

  • 2 tablespoons of finely cut parsley


Wash the aubergine and cook them in their skin either on the grill or on the stove wrapped in foil until they soften. While they are still warm, peel off their skin and remove as many of their seeds as possible. Place them in a blender and, while mixing constantly, add the garlic or onion, the tahini, the lemon, the vinegar and the olive oil.

Once the melitzanosalata has turned into a smooth paste, move to a plate and add the almonds or walnuts and the parsley. You can decorate with olives and capers.


This recipe was taken from N. & M. Psilakis’ book “Olive Oil” (To eleolado), 2003 (