Article from "Oiko Magazine" of “Kathimerini”
Date published: 9/4/2004
By Georgia Zavitsanou
Photography: Kanaris Tsiganos
Spinach pies, feta cheese pies and various other organic pies and pastries all produced from organic products are waiting in the freezer for those who are looking for pure and tasty convenience foods – oven baked in a few minutes.
This is the story of Mrs Denise Psaradelli, a biochemist from Canada and mother of three children who after a successful 12 year career as marketing manager in the pharmaceutical industry, decided to create her own business: “...my dream found its realization in the production of pure organic frozen foods... so we aimed at creating something new that would contribute to a better quality of living...” she told us. With this in mind and with the help of her husband George, she set up a workshop in 2003 and began producing traditional Greek Pies and Pitsa's ” only with pure organic products giving a new dimension to one of the most popular of Greek foods.
After searching in the local organic markets for the most suitable organic materials, she produced by hand the organic pies and pastries using traditional Greek recipes. These are not cooked dishes but are deep frozen at -40 degrees C, to become delicacies that are literally “...waiting in the freezer” for the right moment. When we need them most they can then be baked in the oven and in a few minutes we can enjoy tasty pure organic food:“...our aim is to provide a product that is useful to our modern way of living. We provide tasty delicacies that each of us can easily prepare at home and which are guaranteed to be pure and rich in nutrients”.
With the slogan “not just fast food but quality food” Mrs Psaradelli succeeded in providing several alternative solutions for many people who end up eating tasteless junk food just because it happens to be “easy” and “quick” to prepare. We may be forced to live with stress, we may not have enough time to cook properly, but we are not anymore condemned to eat food that is poor in substance and nutrients.
All is organic...
To ensure this quality all the products that are used in “Pamforos Gaia's” workshop are thoroughly checked to be exclusively organic from certified organic farms. The spinach, the leek, the yeast, the flour, the cheese even the spices are all strictly certified organic products and most of them by the Greek certifying body “DIO”. For the production phase the workshop is obliged to use only fully organic certified products that come from organic farms which have passed the initial five year transition phase.
But how does the freezing process work ? How can a frozen product retain its nutrients even after months ? “ … this is where modern food technology steps in. Once the product is prepared it is then immediately “deep frozen” in a powerful shock freezer and within the hour the temperature at the heart of the product is lowered to -40 degrees ! After this it is then sent to storage. The shock freezing method ensures that the nutrients contained in the product are “locked” inside while it stops the growth of bacteria as well as stops the formation of ice crystals in the food thus neutralizing the main agents that diminish the quality of food.
During the initial opening period of the workshop, general response from customers was immense and encouraging – but even greater was the apprehensiveness of mrs.Psaradelli, who was keen to know the opinion of her customers: “ I don't need to know the good points” she said “...I want to hear the complaints so that we can improve and get better. Due to the fact that all the products are hand made we are always very careful and this is achieved through constant supervision and meticulous sampling. We are constantly on top of the production process – and if a product does not stand up to standards then it is discarded”.
Only one test was enough to convince us …
With only one test that we made ourselves and without claiming to be taste experts we can testify that the products of “PAMFOFOS GAIA” definitely have characteristics that are missing from the range of ready made Greek traditional foods. The filling is really rich in content and the taste reminds of home made baked pies where each pie has its own special way of tickling our taste buds. The combinations of spices and vegetables is very successful while the most notable achievement of PAMFOROS GAIA is the feeling of freshness that these products give when they are eaten. The final result is a a refreshing, discreet aroma in our mouth and a happy stomach which light yet full.
Main dishes coming up soon....
Mrs Psaradelli plans in the future to expand her business so as to produce main organic dishes and also to provide special products for special customer groups. “...there are many people who follow specific diets and need specific products either gluten free, or with whole wheat or with dinkel, etc. In the near future we will be glad to cater for these groups also...”
“...As for the price, it has been common belief for many years that organic products were much more expensive than conventional products, but lately the difference has decreased and this is not true anymore for a basic number of organic products.” Mrs.Psaradelli went on to say: “...however we should not compare different things, you should not compare different qualities ! We should be cautious of the fact that the mass production industry is pushing us towards a consumer philosophy that wants us to buy anything as long as it is cheap !!! For me this is a trap ! It seems that they are trying to mend things by looking at the wrong end. When we see that we don't have enough money to buy quality food then we shouldn't we reach out for better wages ? shouldn't we strive for a better standard of living rather than abandon our health and feed ourselves and our children with rubbish ? And what about tomorrow ? What will be our future if we allow this to happen?”
Where to find these products?
PAMFOROS GAIA is at present the only Greek company that is producing frozen organic pies and pastries. The range includes many different types of pies cheese pies, spinach pies, vegetarian pitsa's, as well as sweet pastries, apple pies, cream pies and Chmas goodies. These products are generally sold in all the organic shops throughout around Greece.