Knowledge about the science of food is suddenly sexy.
It is pure currency at dinner parties that can score you bucket loads of social cred. Forget the awkward gibberish on ‘Come Dine With Me’, we’re talking about relevant food facts presented just at the right time. Think ’Did you know that the sugar for jam has to be heated to 104 degrees to set?” just as the scones and jam arrive.
Pepper your spiel with the science behind food and flavour, and suddenly, you are the most interesting thing on the table.
I recently used the phrase ‘Food Geek Cool’ to describe the current trend of foodies that are obsessed with the science of food. Not that ‘food geekism’ is anything new; the study of food science has been taught for decades, but the ‘Cool’ element has now become far more mainstream since Heston Blumenthal made it his niche. My supper club explored this theme a few years ago but I never knew it would become so novel and popular.
So here’s a helping of ‘Food Geek Cool’ that you will want to share with your dinner companions. Oliveology make organic artisanal products that celebrate the underlying science of each product, including these stunning cold-pressed virgin olive oils, made at super-low room temperatures. But how are they different to any other olive oil? Most olive oil producers press olives at temperatures as high as 75 degrees to wring out as much oil as possible in mass production, and thereby destroying a lot of the goodness.
So just like the Raw Food Movement, the lower the temperature, the more natural the flavour and the higher the nutrient content since they havent been ‘cooked out’. Makes good sense to me!There is something of its exactness of temperatures that makes each of these oils so attractive. Just like when James Bond in ‘You Only Live Twice’ said:
James Bond: “No, no. I like sake. [sip] Especially when it’s served at the correct temperature, 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit, like this is.”
Tiger Tanaka: “For a European, you are exceptionally cultivated.”
It shows authority and knowledge - a standard that specific can only hint at the clevercloggs connoisseur within. Each oil has a completely different flavour. Marianna did a tasting at my supper club last year and we were blown away at just how unique each oil was. No whimsical names for these products – each tin of olive oil is named after the very temperature at which the olives have been pressed. Simples.
Marianna, the founder of Oliveology, has a weekly stall at Borough Market where you can sample the oils yourself. As an ex-designer from the prestigious Central Saint Martins, it really shows – the packaging is just stunning as well as functional - olive oils were traditionally packaged in metals tins to protect it from sunlight that affects its unique properties.
I am completely addicted to the taste of these oils - a sweet richness that reminds me of stewed apples and pears, with a pleasant grassy pepperiness undercutting it. My favourite is the 22 degrees which I douse my salads and grilled veg in.
From a brand perspective, Oliveology is just gorgeous. The packaging is really memorable, the name is clever, and it hits all the on-trend notes like organic, limited production, artisanal, hand-made, healthy etc, Oliveology is hard to fault. The typography is modern and the hand-drawn illustrations add a hand-made quirkiness to the brand.
Most importantly, there is authenticity and genuine expertise behind these products that gives ‘gravitas’ to this brand; the olives are pressed at the start of the year, when they have the highest levels of antioxidants and polyphenols.
The brand’s social media has taken a progressive direction; giving away their olive tins and running a competition to re-use them; it’s the sort of consumer interaction that truly engages. Fun, easy and relevant to the current eco trends:
As a business it has been clever in building a sense of exclusivity – volumes are small since cold pressing does not extract a lot of oil – and Marianna often takes advance orders for the first crop of oil each year. Rarity and Limited Edition are hot trends for food brands now and Oliveology is working it.
So go on, drop this into a conversation today.
Above – A range of Greek honey, Olive Oil soap, and Olive leaf teas have been added to their collection. You can buy all these products from their website.