Having been in production for nearly 20 years, Lakudia is based in an area known for its highly suitable growing conditions and ancient olive varieties. It’s here that Andreas Knauss, CEO of Lakudia Olive Oil, runs the grove of 160 hectares with over 5,500 trees dedicated to producing premium quality olives and olive oil.
Can you tell us a bit about the history of Lakudia Olive Oil?
I founded Lakudia in 1999 as a company, but it all started out as a hobby in 1995.
What did you aspire to be when you grew up?
Mechanical engineer and that’s what I became after my studies.
How did you find your way into the world of being an olive oil expert?
Totally by accident. I was just travelling as a tourist in Greece, falling in love with the area of Monemvasia and Peloponnese, before finally buying an olive grove just for fun and romantic holidays.
What does it entail to be an olive oil connoisseur at Lakudia?
The love for pure, simple but highest quality food, produced under ECO relevant parameters.
What interesting trends/themes are going on in the olive oil world?
The price-driven, mass production is absolutely dominating the overall market and production.
Lakudia is working in the opposite way. Quality first and keeping every step of the production line in our hands – from the planting of the tree all the way to your kitchen or restaurant.
What makes Lakudia Olive Oil so special in your opinion?
We are just lucky to be in an area where the almost unknown old olive variety “Athinio” happens to grow. It produces an outstanding fruity and aromatic olive oil. However, this sort of olive is very sensitive and needs a lot of care in order to produce top quality oil. Therefore, this olive is neither loved by mass producers nor it is economically competitive with new hybrids, but the taste and flavour beats them all.
You work a lot with award-winning and Michelin Star chefs, can you mention a few that you have regular collaborations with?
Yes, we have close relationships with many gourmet chefs including; Tom Wickboldt of The O”Room in Seebad Heringsdorf; Florian Stolte of restaurant Köhlerstube at the Hotel Traube Tonbach in Baiersbronn, Oliver Heberlein of restaurant Landgut Falkenstein in Königstein; Cedric Schwitzer of Schwitzer’s am Park in Waldbronn; and Christian Scheler of Schloss Elmau in Krün to name but a few. We have worked closely with them for many years and they choose Lakudia as they are firm believers in the high quality and consistency of the olives and olive oil we produce. With olive oil being a basic component in many of their dishes, it’s highly important for them to use superior quality oil and this is where Lakudia comes in.
What are your indispensable oil collection favourites?
Athinio olive oil fresh from the press in November. It’s cloudy, spicy and is the so-called “Agouroeleo” (wild olive oil) of all the Lakudia products.
How would you recommend using the oils?
I cook every day and mainly mediterranean dishes, always using Lakudia. For instance, on all vegetables from cauliflower to broccoli as well as all pasta dishes and fresh fish. My favoured dish would have to be asparagus with Lakudia green olive oil and balsamic vinegar and crepes. We actually offer recipes and serving suggestions on our website.
We have just started operating our new fillery in Monemvasia, where we will push the filling of BIB (Bag in Box) containers of 5 litres. These containers are not that well known in the market yet, but they are by far the best way of keeping the oil fresh and avoiding any contact with oxygen.
Furthermore, we are planting new olive trees and recultivating old, dormant olive groves in order to bring back heritage varieties to everyday production.
For more information about Lakudia premium Olive Oil, click here | www.lakudia.com
Images (from top to bottom) | Andreas Knauss, CEO of Lakudia Olive Oil, Tom Wickboldt of The O”Room in Seebad Heringsdorf, Florian Stolte of restaurant Köhlerstube at the Hotel Traube Tonbach in Baiersbronn, Oliver Heberlein of restaurant Landgut Falkenstein in Königstein, Cedric Schwitzer of Schwitzer’s am Park in Waldbronn, Christian Scheler of Schloss Elmau in Krün and Angela Merkel with Alfons Schuhbeck and Dieter Müller for a live cooking event with Lakudia olive oil.