They don’t have a long family history of producing olive oil, and they’re not in it for money. Guilherme and Marije fell in love with making olive oil so much, that they gave up everything. They quit their jobs in The Netherlands, packed their bags and moved to Portugal with their two little children to make the most out of their Passos grove. Everything they do is done with nothing but love and comes from a genuine passion for the green gold. They had their biggest harvest so far, they opened a restaurant in Coimbra, and they launched their first extra virgem Picual olive oil. We spoke with Marije about their success and their plans for the future.
What can you tell us about the quality of your oil?
“We harvest green, we are biological, but we are not in the process of getting the official certificate yet. We go straight to press after picking batches by hand and light mechanical sticks. We get our oils tested by the ISA(by IOOC certified institute) Only then we know our oil is virgin or extra virgin and what health benefits it has. That information we share. We are fans of mono-varieties since nature (kind of) decides the flavor and quality. We store the oil in the right conditions before bottling and selling.”
What can we expect from Passeite this year?
“We are in the process of opening our Olives & Oil shop in Coimbra. We will sell most of the top-range olive oils of Portugal but also hunt for the smallest brands with stuff you cannot find outside of Portugal. Fresh biological take-away olives and other food products made from the olive tree. The space gives us room to educate as well offering tastings, gourmet nights, sommelier courses and so on. The Grove is slowly expanding, and we will plant lots of new trees, but it will take a few years before we will get oil from them.”
Are there any cool collabs in the making?
“Yes, if all goes well we will produce organic olive tea together with Bearomatic from Evora. We are trying to start up this crazy new way of transporting olive oil CO2 neutral by Sailing ships. We are thinking a lot about how to make everything better for the next generations. So reducing plastics, packaging, etc. unfortunately the EU regulations are making things hard sometimes.”
Are you planning to launch or produce products other than olive oil?
“We will be doing ‘olive-salt.’ It’s made from dehydrated biological olives and gives great flavor to dishes and can be used as cool decoration (it is brown or black). We are working on a children’s olive oil with fun packaging. We believe we need to educate the future about health and nature.”
Is there anything left to wish for?
“Our ultimate dream is to put Central Portugal back on the olive oil map. There are wines from all regions, Alentejo, Douro, Ribatejo, Algarve, Dão, Bairrada (part of Beira Litoral or Coimbra area) but in olive oil, the industry only seems to promote the Alentejo and Douro so it would be great to have Bairrada olive oil. If you look in history, Roman times, there were large settlements here (Conimbriga is one you can visit), and they were known for the use and production of olive oil. There are many acres of old abandoned olive groves that we would like to get our hands on. But this is a long and harsh process convincing owners to use or sell. We need older farmers and producers to re-evaluate their way of farming and pressing or a new generation that wants to come back to working on the land. We have a very long road ahead.”
〰 Like Passeite as much as we do? Read more about their restaurant Passeite Taberna do Azeite here.
(text & all images © Passeite, Projectsis)
Location: Condeixa-A-Velha, Coimbra, Portugal
Founders: Guilherme & Marije Sleeuw Passos da Costa