Local Heart, Global Soul

August 8, 2014

Diversification Comes Naturally…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are having a quiet rest day in Platania  when my sister-in-law asks me if I would maybe mind to do a favour for one of their friends in the village.

Like many Greeks, the locals here have had a difficult time in the economic crisis and we have heard many of stories of  hard times and forced diversification.

For instance after government cut-backs meant withdrawal of subsidies for physiotherapy treatments, many patients faced with the full tariff simply cancelled their treatments because they could no longer afford them.

In turn the physiotherapist has become the local odd-job man, turning his hand at various D.I.Y. needs in the local region to make his own ends meet.

He is not alone, some people in the village apparently have several part time jobs, some seasonal, some year round and many former professionals in the district now survive by the same method.

Unlike in the big cities, people here have the advantage of  having their own garden plots and chickens as an important way to keep within budget.

The tourist trade, partly because of bad press about Greece and unrest in cities like Athens at the time contributed to a roughly thirty percent downturn in tourist trade (at least this was so in 2012) and local businesses across the board were feeling the pinch.

Nikos, The owner of  Des Roses Hotel in Platania has been interested in ecologically friendly tourism for a long time now a some years back began hosting local eco-tours and then int0 making his own soap products with local organically grown herbs, flowers and spices and fresh local olive oil.

The favour that is being asked is that Nikos’s website needs updating and could I maybe help out by taking some photographs for him to use please?

I was delighted to be of help and immediately got a demonstration from Nikos on how to make natural, organic and amazing soap. The process begins with his own crops of organically grown thyme, lavender, myrrh, bay-leaves, roses, camomile, rosemary, mint and geraniums. Each of these is harvested and put into large jars, which are then filled with pure olive oil. This is then closed and left to infuse for at least two months.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The colours in the jars are like jewels. the smell when the lid comes off is amazing…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Let the soap making process begin…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The infused oil (in this case it’s lavender)  is strained though a sieve into a large pan…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You need to get every drop of oil but sieve out the lavender bits (they have done their job).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

More olive oil is added…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now starts the stirring process… the liquid at this stage is very yellow in colour and thin in consistency…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The stirring process thickens it very slowly…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the colour slowly but surely changes to a soft creamy yellow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now it’s noticeably thicker…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Time to add a little bit of Vitamin E oil…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And stir well until it’s well mixed…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The tray for the bars has been lined and prepared…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the mixture is now poured into the tray…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are too many photographs for one post so I will continue with Nikos’s demonstration tomorrow…

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

4 Comments »

  1. This is really interesting – I had no idea that soap can be made just with olive oil. I don’t think I had thought about it really, but heated olive oil would not have come to mind! I was recently given some home made, all natural soap, which makes me feel really clean when I have used it. 🙂

    Comment by I used to be indecisive — August 13, 2014 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

    • Elaine,
      I didn’t know soap could be make with olive oil like this either, and by the way the oil wasn’t heated… they use a “cold” soap making method (although how they get that to set is still a mystery to me and I saw it happen!) The feeling on your skin once you’ve used it IS amazing, I agree you feel really clean (and not dry).

      Comment by kiwidutch — August 14, 2014 @ 10:50 am | Reply

      • I must have assumed it was heated because it was in a pot. I wonder who first discovered that stirring cold olive oil would eventually thicken it?

        Comment by I used to be indecisive — August 15, 2014 @ 8:40 am | Reply

        • Elaine
          I’m not entirely sure but I think the ingredient in the red bucket was water…Like you I have no idea what causes the thickening process in the cold soap making method,but somehow it works!

          Comment by kiwidutch — August 16, 2014 @ 10:18 am | Reply


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