Meet the Founder 1: EvooZeet
*This article was taken from a previous collaboration with EvooZeet*
EvooZeet is an Tunisian olive oil company that combines traditional practices with new technologies to produce cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Daly, the founder, explains how he decided to start up the business:
"I have lived in London since 2009. I first arrived to study and then worked in the banking sector for a few years. At that time, it was really hard to find Tunisian olive oil and we would import our own olive oil from Tunisia to England for our own consumption. In 2016 I decided to start my own olive oil business, Evoo ZEET. Back then, no one knew that Tunisia produced olive oil and so it was amazing to feel like we’d put Tunisia on the map when we received so much wonderful feedback on our oils during tasting in stores. Today we distribute ZEET in more than 150 stores around the U.K and we export to Europe and US. Since then, our olive oils received many awards in New York, Japan and London (Great Taste 2018 & 2019). Because there is so much competition we have always made sure to never stop innovating and striving to achieve the best quality oils."
In Tunisia, olive oil is central to every aspect of life. Daly explained to us a bit about its economic, cultural and social importance:
"The olive oil industry is extremely important for the Tunisian economy and employs a lot of people during harvest season. It is a crucial activity for many families and it’s our responsibility to keep our production and harvest artisanal not only for the quality but also to save jobs and put back into the economy. Many families depend solely on the income from the olive oil business.”
“Our first olive grove dates back to 1890, since then we have continued to develop & expand our production. Today we have a farm of over 250 hectares with 6 different varieties. Some of our trees are over 100 years old! In our culture olive groves are so important. Whatever job or career you choose in your life, it’s our duty to look after the olive trees forever and pass on the culture for the next generation. If you don’t want to do it as a business it must stay as a hobby in order to preserve our lands.
"Olive oil production has changed a lot since the time of my grandparents - today we use the latest technology to produce the best olive oil, but we still hand pick our olives to protect the olive trees and produce high quality EVOO. Back home we use olive oil for everything. Even if you have pain in your body, the cure will usually involve olive oil. In Tunisia, each family uses at least 50 litres of olive oil per year or even more.”
We asked Daly for a traditional Tunisian recipe:
“Shakshouka is one of my favourite dishes, it’s simple and everyone can afford it. Most family eat it for breakfast back home. It’s great with baguette and good olive oil. We always eat it on the farm during harvest time and we share the dish with our team of farmers there.”
Shakshouka are eggs poached in a tomato (and often red pepper) sauce. It is a popular pan-Mediterranean dish, especially in the Maghreb (North Africa). It is eaten from Spain under the guise of “huevos a la flamenca”, brought by Tunisian Jews to Israel which then grew popular with Palestinians. The Turkish are huge fans and even some Italians eat a variety of it.
Check out the recipe here!