Meet the “oliveers” at Olives Et Al

Meet our suppliers of delicious, artisan olives 

In the second instalment of our series, we spoke to the awesome oliveers at Olives Et Al about their delicious Mediterranean-inspired olives. Co-founder Giles Henschel told us all about his love for olives and why his company is always striving for perfection.

What inspired you to set up your company?

“My wife, Annie, and I travelled across North Europe, through Turkey, Syria, down to Jordan, across the Allenby Bridge into the West Bank and Israel then back to Jordan and down through Wadi Rum to Aqaba and onto Sinai; all on a couple of BMW R100 GS motorbikes. We fell in love with the local food on our journey and collected recipes from everywhere we’d been. On returning from our epic trip, we were flat broke and living in a bedsit in Southampton. So, out of post-travel depression we began to recreate the recipes we’d found along the way and on 28 October 1993 we sold our first jar of olives at the Rural Living Show in Bath; Olives Et Al was born.”

What would be your ultimate dinner party menu featuring one of your products?

“There are so many to choose from. Our Dukkah is inspired by a recipe we came across in Egypt; it’s a versatile dip of seeds, nuts, garlic and spices. I would have bread with our Moorish olives and Dukkah as a starter, followed by lamb rubbed and roasted with our Tapenade. If I had a fish course it would be fish smothered and baked in our Red Pepper Pesto.”

Which product from your range would you most like to receive in a hamper and why?

“Extra-virgin olive oil. It’s a product you can use for everything and is the most useful and versatile product in our range.”

What would you say is the best ingredient to complement your products?

“A bottle of wine! Friends also complement our products well; get a decent loaf of bread, some good friends and a bottle of wine. Our products are very sociable; we turn ordinary into extra ordinary.”

If you could take one of your products on a desert island with you, which would you choose and why?

“Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil! I could cook with it, soothe my sunburn with it, clean myself with it, drink it; it’s such a versatile product.”

What makes your brand so unique and special?

“The people behind it: our team. We’re always doing things differently, whether it’s promotion, talking to customers or liaising with suppliers. We’re relentlessly searching for perfection.”

What’s important to you when sourcing the products for your range?

“Authenticity. I want to know the history and where the products are from. Why are they special or different? How can we make them special?”

Do you have any tips for people interested in learning more about olives?

“Pick up the phone to Olives Et Al. Anything you want to know, just ask. We’re very generous with our knowledge about olives.”

You can find Olives Et Al products in many of our food hampers, including our Savoury Heaven Food Hamper.