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Lakonia and Pasta Elias (Olive paste)

Laconia is a prefecture in Greece, with Sparta its administrative capital.

It is bounded by Mount Taygetus, to the west of Sparta, which is the highest mountain range of Peloponese (2.407 meters)  and with the Parnon mountains to the northeast (1.961 meters),  to the west with Messenia,  and  to the North with Arcadia. Among the two mountain ranges, the Evrotas is the longest river in the prefecture. The valley of the Evrotas is predominantly an agricultural region that contains many citrus groves, olive groves and pasture lands, therefore people in th rural area are mainly occupied with the cultivation of olives, animal rearing, bee-keeping and farming, as their main source of income or as a secondary job.

Part of its economy also relies on tourism. The famous cave of Diros is located south of Areopolis and is a  major tourist attraction because of its beautiful stalactite and stalagmite cave and only a small part of this cave has been explored.  The known part of the caves cover an area of around 33000 square meters, of which only 5000 meters have been explored.


Mystras is situated in the southwest of the prefecture, about 10 minutes from Sparta  and on the coastal areas Monvesia, Gytheio and Elafonissos are places worth visiting.

Dating back to the Byzantine era, Lakonia was widely known as an olive producing area and naturally the first Museum of the Olive and Olive oil, is situated in Sparta, Lakonia.

Early in March there was an Exhibition in Athens, in the Metro exhibition centre, with Laconian products which my husband and I visited.

I want to share with you some photos of the products exhibited.

One of the main products of Lakonia is olives and products produced from olives, such as its exceptional olive oil, with its high quality and smooth, rich taste, one of the finest worldwide.  This is mainly due to the ideal climate of Lakonia, with mediocre rainfalls and lots of sunshine.

As you may see from the picture the oil has a rich deep-green colour and by just tasting bread and olive oil your can distinguish its fruity, smooth taste.

During this exhibition people had the opportunity to taste or buy products produced in Laconia and there was a big variety of all the products.

Olive oil has exceptional nutritional properties and is the best oil to use for cooking.

Several studies have shown that olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats, has many cardiovascular benefits. In fact, olive oil is the protective agent of good cholesterol (HDL) and can even increase it. It also lowers bad cholesterol (LDL). Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fat in olive oil, is also more resistant to oxygen and heat and therefore much more chemically stable than polyunsaturated fats. Furthermore, a diet rich in monounsaturated fats could prevent the risk of coronary disease as well as cancer, diabetes, obesity and hypertension.

Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil is of the highest quality olive oils available and is unsurpassed in delicious flavor.

That little jar infront is olive paste.  It’s very easy to make it yourself and it’s a lovely mezes but it can also be used as a condiment, a cracker spread, in salads,  in pasta or in salad dressings.

The exhibition was not only about olives and olive oil, so stay tuned as part II will follow with the other products and a recipe I have created inspired by some of the other products.

The day following the exhibition I prepared some olive paste and used some of the picked pepperoncini I bought when I visited the market place and used some of my fresh herbs.  I couldn’t stop eating it.

Pasta Elias (Olive Paste) Recipe by Ivy

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Serves: about 1 cup




Kalamata Olives, pitted



Olive Oil



Balsamic Vinegar

4 -5

Pickled pepperoncini









Fresh rosemary



Fresh thyme



Fresh Oregano

Freshly grated black pepper



After pitting the olives and removing the seeds from pepperoncini, put all the ingredients in a food processor and process to a spreading consistency to make the paste.  Adjust seasoning to your taste.

Note:  No salt is added as olives are quite salty but if you like you may add some coarse sea salt for taste.

This is my entry for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, I am hosting, created by Kalyn, of Kalyn’s Kitchen and now conducted by Haalo, of Cook (almost) Anything at least once.

If you have any bookmarked recipes don’t forget to send them here as well.   I am sorry I am hosting two events the same week but there was a misunderstanding with Bookmarked Recipes.

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21 Responses

  1. Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  2. Love olive oil…I want to try it fresh-pressed…it’s on my to-do list!

  3. Of course I have to try this, as I LOVE olives. Sounds easy to make and I bet I couldn’t stop eating it either!

  4. Oh, your beautiful pictures remind me of my trip to Greece… I loved Mystras and the Sparta region! I took so many great pictures of that place!

    This paste looks delicious and flavorful!



  5. A wonderful, informative post Ivy…well, I am a little biased considering my parents come from this area! Love the olive paste!

  6. I love olive paste. The event sounded very interesting Ivy.

  7. The olive paste looks delicious. I just discovered there is a Greek bakery/market not far from my home and I’m anxious to visit it and see if I can some of the wonderful products you feature on Kopiaste.

  8. That sounds like a great exhbition Ivy. Love the olive paste–when I made some a month or so ago, it finished in a day!

  9. My wife’s family is from Laconia so I have a special appreciation for the region and its products. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the photos of the exhibition and the wonderful olive paste recipe. Excellent! I can taste it from here… 😉

  10. Wow the photos make me want to visit this place, looks so beautfiful and love the olive paste.
    I have posted a recipe for bookmarked recipe will send you the details, was going to send to ruth.

  11. Your country is beautiful. And the spread sounds delicious

  12. Beautiful pictures, that pasta elias looks delicious.

  13. I wish I lived in Olive wonderland.The paste sounds so yummy must be great on toasts and sandwich.I hope to send you a WHB entry by end of week:)

  14. Ivy, it looks like I’ll be visiting Laconia, through the generosity of family friends here in Canada.

    I love pasta elies and pepperoncinos but not in an olive paste.

  15. I am visiting for the first time here although I have been reading your blog for a long time and I have signed up at BloggerAid as well today. I think your recipes are great and you are very creative. I love pepperoncinis and that’s a fantastic idea to add them in the olive paste.

  16. thank you Ivy for this very interesting reportage.
    my husband worked in Macedonia for many years, and often took the ship
    from Pescara to Hegoumenitsa, and from there by car all the way through the north Greek mountains..
    he always said that it was very very special, a long way with narrow roads but an incredible beauty.
    as a matter of fact..
    Greece is not just the Ciclad Isles..
    Greece is so much more.
    I will try your paste


    brii’s last blog post..ricette leguminose per letissssia

  17. Great post. I loved seeing the olive trees when I visited Greece. I was there for only two days, and now I’m very much wanting to come back for a longer visit someday!

    Kalyn’s last blog post..Recipe for Greek-Inspired Leftover Brown Rice Casserole with Red Pepper, Onions, and Feta

  18. Gorgeous photos! I’d love to visit Greece. The Laconian products all sounds delicious, and your olive paste looks fantastic!

    lisaiscooking’s last blog post..Crema de Guacamole with Crunchy Topopos

  19. maria yorgakopoulou

    Kali Anastasi Ivy

    Thank you for the lovely pictures of the ekthesi- I hope my husband’s cousin dispayed- theyhave an organic olive farm in Soustianous( Papadakos)- Is it your sister-in-law in Lakonia- where are they from? My husband Nikos Synodinos is from Afissou, we are from Vamvakou in the Parnon Mts & from Klada Tsouni in the valley-I love your blog!

  20. I am craving this now. Considering I’ve been fasting for a month, this is one thing that we are allowed, but sitting at work I just wish I either had bread and olive oil to nibble on, or some of this fantastic dip.

    Nice post Ivy : )

  21. Zen

    helpful post here i really learned alot from here thanks for the wonderfull post hope to hear more from you soon