The Olives Et Al Story
In 1992 Giles and Annie Henschel set off on a year-long adventure that would be the inspiration for Olives Et Al (and now Loaf & Larder as well). Travelling on two motorbikes through the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa, they fell in love with the food they ate along the way.
They couldn’t gather many souvenirs, being on bikes, but did gather recipes from the folk they met along the way. They say, "We learned that food is really a social lubricant - sitting down and sharing a meal is the best way to get to know each other - strangers relax and friends result".
On their return, England proved a little disappointing as the search for good quality, basic ingredients was fruitless. Particularly frustrating at this time, was the lack of decent Olives. Throughout the trip, they enjoyed a vast array of properly prepared and authentic Olives but those available at home lacked flavour, texture and aroma. All a bit rubbish, really.
So, using all the knowledge they’d collected during their travels, they launched Olives Et Al in 1993 to satisfy their own cravings and to share quality olives with a wider audience. Olives Et Al was born! They began by producing authentically and traditionally Marinated Olives using some of those “souvenir” recipes and methods they'd seen at first hand and threw themselves into a non existent market - after all, who liked Olives in 1993? They say, "We made the inedible, edible!".
Over time, the range of products has grown and now includes top notch Oils, Speciality Olives, Sauces, Snacks, Kiln Roasted Nuts and Dressings and Marinades. They're also always keen to push the boat out a bit and develop new stuff hence the Craft Gin they developed made from left over Olive Brine. Boy, oh Boy does this taste good... From first hand knowledge - one is never quite enough.
They call it Oliveering and we are all Oliveers. Now, over 27 years young and they're still here, producing food which tastes and looks just the way it should without using artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives. Annie and Giles are still at the heart of the business and despite being a bit greyer they are nonetheless colourful, energetic and a bit fruity with the same dedication that saw them risk everything to create the business in the first place.
Talk to them today and they'll admit to being totally unemployable elsewhere, "After all, what else would we do?" Their mantra remains: Live More And Eat Very Happily.
Oh, and that's them, Giles & Annie, on the original trip back in '93 somewhere in the Western Desert... They like to call this one Lawrence & Florence of Arabia.