The sun was just starting to make its warm appearance in the blue Cretan sky, rising above the White Mountains and spreading its gold-yellow veil over this blessed corner of the Aegean Sea. In the central square of the picturesque village of Panagia, Chania a familiar setting was already unfolding. Sifis, the owner of the local ‘kafeneio’[1] was nervously making coffee for his fellow villagers who were starting their day with their regular teasing to each other. Seizing those moments to clear their heads from the difficulties of another hard-working day in the fields was indeed a purifying procedure for them and thus grouchy faces had no place amongst them. With one exception. Manolis was 83, belonged to the elderly of the village and enjoyed the respect of everyone. He had gone through a world war, witnessed his village being burned down by Nazi soldiers and mourned 2 of his 4 brothers during the Greek civil war. A rough man, true match of the land that raised him. The loss of his beloved wife however, 6 months ago, had literally wipe the smile off his wrinkled face. An empty gaze dominated his expression and words could not find their way out of his mouth.    

As more and more were taking their seats in Sifis’ crummy, wooden chairs completing the scenery, the uproar was escalating. However, that old man monopolized my attention. He was staring at the vast olive groves that spread in the valley bellow the village. I was struggling to realize whether it was calmness or despair that crafted his face at that very moment, when

“Quite my boys…” the old man shouted!

“Open your eyes and look at these beauties. Open your ears and listen to the air playing with their leaves. Open your nose and welcome the smell of the new harvest. Year after year, they have been standing here long before us and they will still do long after.” It is gonna to be a good year..."

Everybody turned their eyes to the sun-drenched olive groves like small children looking at the stars. Manolis went on,

“ Midday July...even if there were no olive groves...I would have invented them”, reproducing Elytis[2] fine triplet.

I raised my eyes from the valley and looked at him.

“ I see father, I see…” I managed to mumble as a shiver went through my entire body. I knew exactly what I had to do.


Christos Chondrakis,

            ELIDIA Olive Oil

Head of production

[1] Traditional cafeterias found in the villages of Crete.

[2] Greek 1979 Nobel laureate 



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