Food & Drinks

A taste of Greece in Nairobi

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Fresh basket of bread accompanied by Marinated olives, sun dried tomatoes tapenade, Altis extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar. Picture taken during the launch of Altis Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Upfield at Mövenpick hotel in Nairobi on July 20, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

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Summary

  • Chef Athanasiou, who has lived in Kenya for five years, has been preparing Mediterranean cuisine at the hotel’s revolving restaurant- The View - using the edible oil due to its health benefits.
  • Mediterranean countries including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Italy, France, and Morocco prefer olive oil as the base for their fish, vegetables, fruits, cereals, and grain dishes.
  • Kenya has recorded a steady demand for edible oils such as peanut oil, sunflower, and olive oils driven by health and wellness concerns.

A bun served on a wooden plate comes with big chunks of marinated olives and olive oil before the main meal.

The trick to this kind of starter is pouring some of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a plate then scooping the mix with a piece of the bread to taste. The taste is a rich mix of fruity and yeasty and I have to remind myself to just enjoy a small piece not to be full before the main dish.

The next course includes grilled prawns served with avocado mousse mixed with olive oil and orange essence. It is as delicious as it sounds.

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Food served during the launch of Altis Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Upfield at Mövenpick hotel in Nairobi on July 20, 2021. PHOTO DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

“When cooking, most of the olive oil is included in our courses. I am from Greece as is the olive oil we use here. It is part of our DNA,” Movenpick Hotel executive chef Aris Athanasiou says.

Chef Athanasiou, who has lived in Kenya for five years, has been preparing Mediterranean cuisine at the hotel’s revolving restaurant- The View - using the edible oil due to its health benefits.

Olive oil’s nutritional value includes preventing heart disease and strokes. It also contains antioxidants, vitamins E and K, helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins (D, E) from food, and it is not associated with weight gain.

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Mövenpick hotel in Nairobi Executive Aris Athanasiou Executive Chef during the launch of Altis Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Upfield at Mövenpick hotel in Nairobi on July 20, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Mediterranean countries including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Italy, France, and Morocco prefer olive oil as the base for their fish, vegetables, fruits, cereals, and grain dishes.

“Since I came to Kenya, I have been using olive oil because it is healthy and has fewer calories. It is a matter of taste and health, yet natural,’’ says chef Athanasiou, adding that it also helps that “Kenyans preference is also moving to more healthy diets.”

The restaurant will be using Altis, a new olive oil brand that has Greek roots, in the Kenyan market.

The oil is ideal for sauces, marinades, and salad dressing.

“We can use it to steam fry, deep fry, bake, and for salad dressing to make healthy tasty food.”

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Authentic Greek salad. Tomato and cucumber chunks, green bell peppers, dry red onion, feta cheese cubes, marinated Kalamata black olives. Picture taken during the launch of Altis Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Upfield at Mövenpick hotel in Nairobi on July 20, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Global plant-based consumer products company, Upfield introduced the Altis Extra Virgin olive oil as it seeks a share of the growing edible oils market.

The oil has an aroma of fresh olives, chamomile green herbs, and apples from the Greece farms.

Kenya has recorded a steady demand for edible oils such as peanut oil, sunflower, and olive oils driven by health and wellness concerns.

The olive oil market is expected to reach over Sh25billion by 2023, according to Euromonitor International.

“We want to give consumers a plant-based oil as they continue to shift to healthy living. Altis is a high-quality extra virgin olive oil which has nutritional value and makes food palatable with the authentic taste of Greece,” Linda Capwell, innovation and marketing manager for East and Southern Africa, Upfield says.

“When millennials post food pictures on social media, they care if it looks good and healthy.”

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Food served during the launch of Altis Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Upfield at Mövenpick hotel in Nairobi on July 20, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

The firm behind the popular Blue Band brand hopes to introduce the oil in other hotels, organic markets, and retail stores.

The 500ml, 750ml and 1 litre packages are retailing at Sh950, Sh1,420 and Sh1,820, respectively.

For the main dish chef Athanasiou served beef moussaka made of layers of potatoes and eggplant with rich tomato beef bolognese and gratin béchamel sauce.

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Food served during the launch of Altis Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Upfield at Mövenpick hotel in Nairobi on July 20, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Next was marinated white snapper fish fillet in olive oil, grilled zucchini, lemongrass creamy sauce, and later grilled prawns, calamari, tilapia, and rice cooked with herbs.

“In our Mediterranean cuisine, we use spices and herbs like oregano and rosemary for aromatic feel. The fish can be grilled or baked while the sauces are made to be elegant without butter,” chef Athanasiou adds.