We are a family business based in South-East Cambridgeshire specialising in the healthy, natural foods that make up the Cretan Diet. Yannis Borakis tells “When I first came to England over 20 years ago, there was a lot about the British diet I loved: apple pies and custard, fish and chips, Sunday roasts, cream teas, bangers and mash! But I really missed my olive oil and just couldn’t find anything in the supermarkets that came close to what I was used to.
In Crete, we use lots and lots of olive oil. We use it in all our cooking, not just on salads, we even use it in our cakes and pastry – and to cook chips! It’s much more than a cooking oil, it’s a flavouring ingredient, just like salt and pepper, herbs or lemon juice, and the main reason why the Cretan diet is so healthy.
I started importing my own olive oil from my father’s farm, a barrel at a time (we do consume rather a lot!). Pretty soon friends who came to eat with us were asking me if they could buy some from me. I decided to have it bottled and imported it to sell in the UK.
My family has been farming for generations in the White mountains of North-western Crete. After success with the olive oil, I asked my Uncle to send me some of our traditional cheeses. These are all produced from goat and sheep milk (there are no cows on Crete!) and hand-made according to traditional methods. I then asked my brother, who keeps bees to send me honey. Cretan Thyme honey has a strong flavour and is much prized in Greece and around the world.
Anne Borakis adds “when Yannis began importing Cretan food, he began selling it at local farmers markets. He had a very positive response from customers, and pretty soon there were queues forming at his weekly stall. Customers began to ask for recipe ideas, so I suggested he make pies to demonstrate how to use some of the ingredients. Our spinach pies (Spanakopita) became so popular that we were asked to supply a local café, whose clientele would also queue up to buy them.
I love Crete, its natural beauty, its people and its food. It’s so nice to know that all those wonderful flavours I’ve enjoyed over the years from my visits to Crete can now be enjoyed by others here in the UK where we live.”