Learn more about our recent collaboration with Daphnis and Chloe as we speak with the brand’s founder, Evangelia Koutsovoulou. Having spent the last decade exploring the herbal richness of Greek islands, working close with small, organic family farms and local foragers in search of the finest Mediterranean flavours and aromas that you would ever taste and smell, Evangelia has learned that herbs will only give their best when grown and harvested with respect towards its true nature.
When and how did Daphnis and Chloe start?
I grew up in Greece, but I moved to Italy in 2001 to study and stayed in Milan until 2014, when I returned to Athens and launched Daphnis and Chloe.
The idea of founding an artisan herb company was born in 2012, around a Christmas table at the Dolomite. I had recently become curious about Greek herbs, the ones I grew up around, and that I would sometimes bring from my summer vacations as gifts for my Italian friends. I was surprised to find out that such a bounty stays hidden. Ever since, it has been all happening gradually, one herb at a time.
What is it about herbs that you love so much?
Heirloom crops that are grown with respect towards their true nature will usually have superior qualitative characteristics. I admire the richness that earth gives back when humans show appreciation. I love observing it when we receive a good harvest, and that's what we pursue through our sourcing and partnerships.
When did you first learn to appreciate them? Do you have a favourite?
I spent my childhood in the Greek countryside, so I've been surrounded by nature since a young age. However, it wasn't until my late twenties that I realized how special Mediterranean herbs are. Until then, I was taking them for granted. I don't have favourites, I'm pretty liberal when it comes to cooking, and it might even depend on what we're sourcing next!
How do you source and select the best herbs?
It's a long ongoing process. Sometimes it might take years to find the right place and people for a specific herb. So both the origin and ethos of the growers are critical for the outcome.
What have you discovered about your country when working with small farms and local producers?
Well, it's curious: Greece is a tiny country and a very touristic one, but it's full of little-known, untouched corners. And getting to visit these beautiful places, where very few people have even been, is one of the best parts of my job!
Tell us about the Sweet Marjoram in The Green Ceremony gift pack. What do you love about it?
Marjoram is a ceremonial plant with a very long history, worn for centuries in matrimonies and used to cast love spells. But historical trivia aside, Marjoram is an herb that helps you relax and induces a sense of well-being with its soothing, floral fragrance.
I'm a strong supporter of loose leaf teas, as they make more justice to the herb than any tea bag ever would. Preparing a cup of loose leaf tea is a ceremonial act by itself!
What is the best way to use and prepare it?
Herbal teas are generally straightforward to prepare: infuse them in freshly boiled water for 3-5 minutes, then strain and serve. In the case of Marjoram, 1/2 a teaspoon will do for a large teacup. I prefer most herbal teas without sweeteners, but Marjoram is also good with honey.
What is the best time for drinking tea?
The time you feel like it is the best. Herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free, so they aren't restrictive.
Are there different teas for different moods? Can herbal tea change your mood?
Yes, of course, scents and flavours can affect our mood! For instance, Marjoram is used in aromatherapy for its anxiety-reducing effects. So considering that a significant part of the herbal tea drinking experience is olfactory, yes, of course, a cup of herbal tea can positively affect your mood.
Do you have a favourite tea or tea ritual?
I'm an early bird, and I'll often wake up around 6:30. I begin the day with a small cup of coffee, but I drink herbal infusions after that, as I find it comforting to have something to sip while organizing my day. So this time of the day, early in the morning, is my tea ritual.
Photography by Daphnis and Chloe