"It is a law of nature that fainthearted men should be the fruit of luxurious countries, for we never find that the same soil produces delicacies and heroes." ― Herodotus.
Perhaps Herodotus was not wrong to suggest that where the land is harsh the people are more likely to become heroes. Comfort is certainly not the key to unlocking the highest dormant potentials - in flora and fauna alike. We all know that those who challenge themselves are able to withstand greater setbacks, and so realize greater visions.
One land famous for its formidable nature since ancient times is Evia. Dating back to mythology it was said that Agamemnon’s fleet was detained there by contrary winds. More recently it was one of the lands that put Greece on the world map when the raging fires of 2021 took months to extinguish. Positioned on a layline, Evia has always been notoriously feared by sailors traveling to Athens, for the fast-changing tide that could swing violently from one direction to the other in moments.
It takes a certain character to face her temperaments. Herodotus’ rule may be challenged, however, for the soil of Evia is producing both a delicacy and a hero. Extra Virgin Olive Oil producer Charilaos Gounaras, the founder of 8:26 Histories named his brand in honor of the role of the olive tree in Greek history, as well as after the text 'Histories' of Herodotus, and to serve as a reminder that we are all the authors of our own lives. As promised by the winds of strife, there are rewards in the soil for those who stay to work on it. Today, 8:26 Histories is consumed in the USA, Germany, Greece, France, Spain, Romania, and Lithuania, and at only two years old.
So we will tell the story of this premium product. The nectar comes from the fertile area of Psachna, close to the sea and entirely exposed to constant sunshine. Gounaras has there cultivated the rare varieties of Manaki and Throubolia olives, as part of an inheritance steeped in the secrets of the groves’ hand cultivation methods transmitted over 6 decades of tradition. The line proclaims a very limited edition of 1000 bottles only and is available in elegantly designed 500ml bottles. If it sounds like a piece of art, that’s because it is. In fact, Gounaras produces only for passion, working in pharmaceuticals and living with his family in Munich, returning to Evia to care for his olives.
With excellence as the primary motivator, the moment you taste 8:26 Histories you will realize this is a purely organic yield, chemically unblemished. Rather, with the knowledge passed down through the generations of olive breeders, Gounaras uses natural means of cultivation. He collects each olive with the touch of the hand rather than with machinery, hence preserving and nurturing the rich health benefits available in the juice, rejecting modern techniques standardized by industrial manufacturing.
The harvest is collected between late October and early November, depending on the weather. The malaxing process always takes place at a low temperature of 25-27°C, which happens on the day that the olives are picked, eliminating any chance of deterioration of the fruit before the juice is bled. As such, the olive oil has very low acidity. The 2022 harvest has only a 0.1% and a good polyphenol content at 472mg per kg. It is no wonder therefore that 8:26 Histories won the bronze in the Health Claim from the World Olive Center for Health in Athens. Another silver award in Berlin Global Olive Oil Awards was added to the distinctions of the brand. Recognized for its superb levels of antioxidants and subsequent health benefits by the highest qualified Greek scientists, the local hero of Evia is producing a world-class taste, in homage to the complex climate and terrain of Evia. The sensory analysis identifies aromas of green vegetables (tomato leaf, ruccola, fresh-cut grass), fruits (ripe banana, berries), herbs (tea, chamomile), spices, walnut, almond and flowers. This is medium-intensity olive oil with a long-lasting aftertaste on the palate that pairs perfectly with almost any food like leafy green salads, steamed vegetables, fish, poultry, pasta, risotti, and many desserts.
As Gounaras says, a love of nature converts into a nature that loves one back.
This is what we sense in the essence of 8:26 Histories.