Living in Central London for many Greeks can feel quite far away from their beautiful country. But it’s good to know that despite being so far away, we don’t lack that little bit of uniqueness when it comes to our food innovation and community. I’ve recently heard of a new store in London called “the life goddess” that specialises in our most loved products from unique olive oil, olives, yogurt, rice, free range cheese from our islands, fish, quality feta, honey and of course Krokos Kozanis commonly known Saffron.
I asked the owner of the life goddess store Nikos Nyfoudis to give me an interview on what made him take advantage of Greece’s natural food produce and to come to London and open the store, as well as the story behind it all.
What made him to believe that Greeks in the diaspora have open minds that lead to this kind of innovation and what made him to take the risk. When interviewed he mentioned how he felt there was a lack of “High quality Greek delicatessens in Central London” and he wanted to provide “High quality produce only from Greece”.
The main aspect of the store that I myself admire, is the concept that everything must be produced in Greece and then imported here in UK. This was an amazing idea that went very well as he describes.
“People think differently about Greek produced food. What makes our store unique is the way we don’t operate like big supermarkets, we keep things simple and high quality.” Keeping things simple in my view was a good way of portraying the business, customers love the thought of knowing the products they bought have come from Greek farms, and that they are helping Greek producers,” he said.
He explained how he came up with the idea with his brother George and friend Ilia’s, and how family members gave their full support in the opening of the store and hoping it would portray a family run friendly atmosphere that people would feel comfortable with. The employment of his own family members he describes makes the workplace more “relaxed”.
Niko said to me the method he is using, is an amazing example of how Greeks of the Diaspora can benefit financially by using their local knowledge in UK and in Greece, as well as helping Greek farmers by exporting more in EU. Being in Central London, it’s rare to find a shop that sells just Greek products.
The owners of the store spent time traveling from Thessaloniki, down to Create, covering the whole stretch of Greece just to find the best products for their store, to taste them before putting them on the shelf. You could say travelling Greece just for food would be exhausting, but he describes it as a “beautiful way to taste food, and to explore the country more.” That quote to be honest, made me jealous.
He told of a myth he considers “unique” and “different” to others. To say that a store is selling myths sounds a bit different, but according to ancient Greek legend, the foster-mother of Zeus, a sacred goat named Amalthea, nurtured the infant Zeus with her divine milk into being the strongest entity of his time and the later “king and father of the gods”.
Amalthea was a descendant of the Sun and her horns had the godly power to produce unlimited sustenance of superior quality for gods and mortals alike. The goat Amalthea is a symbol of nourishment, abundance and life.
It’s not every day you walk in to a British supermarket, and discover a myth is behind its products. This is an amazing way of referring back to history, and teaching people that in many things a Greek does, there is always a story behind it.
His philosophy is that good quality products, and most of all “Greek” products, are the key to healthy and happy life, that is, The Life Goddess.