Text by Nina Prehofer
A story that started with an adventure: the story of Marc Schmidt and Amadeus Tzamouranis, who, together with Simone Artale, are behind the new olive oil brand OEL. A good story that was the start of an excellent product.
“It was a wild ride. I am sure those images are imprinted on my mind forever”, says Marc Schmidt about his first trip to Greece with his pal Amadeus Tzamouranis. Back then, both were in their early 20s, Amadeus had had his driver’s licence for all of two weeks and Marc didn’t have one at all, and they couldn’t afford the insurance for their hired van. Yet this “wild ride” turned out to be a truly successful adventure for both of them. Once safely arrived in Greece, they helped Amadeus’ family with the olive harvest, learning everything they needed to know about the production of olive oil – knowledge that would shape their future. On their return to Berlin, they immediately started taking the cans of the premium olive oil they had made around high-end restaurants.
We sold 1.5 tonnes within the space of just two months. 1.5 tonnes!
Apparently, the olive oil tasted good. For Marc Schmidt, this wasn’t just a not-so-subtle hint, it was a huge kick in a very specific direction. They needed to build on this success. The money they earned was carefully put aside. They set up a company, brought the Italian Simone Artale onto the team, bought land and even a mill in Greece. A name, OEL, was also soon decided upon and registered as a trademark.
A steep curve: Form 1.5 to 55 tonnes
Waiter, Christmas tree seller, barman, water filter sales rep, baker, Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union worker, construction worker, full-time backpacker and theologian – the two young men exercised all of these “professions” before discovering their true passion, olive oil. And it was all thanks to Amadeus’ grandmother, Anthoula. She had the trees and the expertise. That is why it is her likeness on the elegant black olive oil can.
Making her portrait our emblem and thus the central element of our design is a thankyou,explain OEL’s founders
a tribute and a focus on rare values in today’s world.
Anthoula was also the one who cultivated the very special Koroneiki olive. This is the olive that produces the fantastically wellrounded, fruity and harmonious oil with its fantastic aroma and great colour. The variety that does not have the often strong bitter notes or sharpness of other olives. “The olive really hits the spot; it is exactly what the human palate craves.” Huge demand for OEL has allowed the team to join forces with olive growers, complete with olive mill. This has enabled the company to produce more and the original team to focus on sales.
Olive oil and gin
Another step was organic certification. The organic oil is already available to buy in Germany and will soon also be available in Austria, Switzerland and Denmark. Olive paste and olive jars have now been added to the product range. Together with another partner, Marc Schmidt also produces a gin infused with their olive oil, OEL’s 3 Gin. They found the perfect gin for the project in Kalamata. The oil gives the gin a wonderfully mild note and creates an interesting symbiosis with the botanicals. “We are the first company in the world to do this”, says Schmidt proudly.
And just so you know: when OEL is finished for the year, it is finished. This is a little lesson to us that resources are finite and raw materials are becoming scarcer around the world. But for the OEL that is produced, the team of three and all the others involved do their very best. And you can taste it.