A Greek goddess with a deep love for all that Greece has to offer, a commitment to good health mind, body, and soul, and a yearning for wisdom chances upon the opportunity to bottle these elements into the ultimate elixir. The liquid gold universally recognised as pure extra virgin Greek olive oil.
Greek American Krystalan Chryssomallis has seen the world, pouring her marketing prowess and photography genius into the incomparable (we’re talking groundbreaking concerts at landmarks such as the Pyramids) tours of her father, legendary Greek musician, and composer, Yanni.
Having searched the United States amidst a backdrop of widespread olive oil fraud, for pure, top quality extra virgin olive, it was serendipitous that Krystalan joined forces with an olive oil sommelier to create her own special blend, released last week. For the talented philanthropist who embodies kindness, optimism, philanthropy, and gratitude, it is fitting she labelled her blend Wise Life.
Krystalan spoke to us about her favourite places in Greece, the increasing need for wisdom and positivity in our lives, and paying homage to her ancestry in her special blend of liquid gold.
Interview by Gina Mamouzelos
Tell us about your love affair with Greece?
I absolutely love Greece. Everything about it. The people, the air, the never-ending clear blue ocean, the olive trees, the singing birds, the food, the home-made wine, and all the special coves and surprises that you stumble upon as you wander around the cobblestone streets. The first time I visited Greece I was in university studying abroad in Spain and I was able to take several weeks to go and explore and enjoy. I remember my first experience very vividly… I felt a beautiful sense of peace. I felt at home. The energy there just seemed to match my own and I absolutely loved the people I came in contact with. Even though I didn’t grow up speaking Greek, I was able to communicate and connect with the locals in a way I’ve never experienced anywhere else. There is a big sense of love and inclusivity I experienced while on the islands and it remains one of my favorite places in the world.
By far my time with my dad in our family home in Kalamata, Greece. Nothing beats waking up early in the morning and enjoying the most flavorful fresh-picked fruits, swimming in the ocean and finding the most fish, and enjoying our time together with nothing to do other than enjoy the deep blue. It is our special haven. Since we are constantly touring, working and on the go, Greece is where we do nothing else other than just “be.”
Greeks know how to have fun! There are so many that stand out, but one of my favourites was my time in Crete. I had just arrived and met some new friends who welcomed us to their home with open arms. Before I knew it, we were all up dancing and singing into the early hours of the morning. Nights turn into days and dancing is always part of the fun… which, if you know me, I’m always in for dancing.
Favourite place to stay?
There are so many beautiful places! Greece has such great hospitality, that nearly any place you go will be magical. The most incredible thing about Greece is that there is an experience for anything you are looking for. Each of the islands all have their own unique personality, cuisine, energy, and activities and there are so many of them that you can return to and have a different experience every time. If you want high energy fun, Mykonos remains the place to go. Paros has a beautiful unexplored calmness, and I’ve been interested in visiting Cana Ves Oia in Santorini for a more serene and peaceful time.
Favourite place to eat?
One of the really exceptional things about Greece is that any corner you turn into has the most unbelievable food and wine. It’s always fresh, clean and the Mediterranean diet, to me, is among the best in the world. Nothing is overproduced and oftentimes, the owner made their own wine or picked their own veggies or fished what you are eating earlier that day. There is the cutest restaurant set right in the sand below my dad’s home in Kalamata that has the most amazing fish I’ve ever had.
I love the ocean and everything about it. You can’t go wrong anywhere you are in Greece. The water is crystal blue and clear and absolutely stunning. The beaches in Crete are quite spectacular. There are so many you can go to and visit while you are there. Preveli Beach is beautiful and unique in that Kourtaliotis River ends at the beach creating a delta that makes for a rare experience. That, coupled with the beautiful lush vegetation, palm trees and soft sand make for a beautiful landscape. It does get quite crowded, so it’s a great place for early mornings or later in the season. Milos is on my bucket list. They have a beautiful sun-bleached rock coastline set against the turquoise blue waters that I’ve been wanting to photograph!
Favourite spot to get your camera out?
Greece has so many incredible locations to photograph. I hope to be able to return someday soon and really dive in and capture the beauty as I have seen and experienced it. The colors and vibrancy are what always catches my eye. My favourite experience shooting was hiking the trails in Kalamata with my family. The contrast of the trees and the cliffs with the sun setting over the ocean is one of my favorite things.
I would absolutely love to someday work alongside Greece and capture and share the beauty and magic that exists there. That is my next dream!
What do you love to cook?
Since I was travelling so much, I wasn’t cooking as much as I would like, but now, with the current situation and having time at home, I’ve really had the opportunity to bring cooking back into my life on a more consistent basis and I’m loving it! My favourite foods are healthy and simple. I believe that when you have organic fresh ingredients, you don’t need to do too much to them and allow their natural flavors to come through. One of my favourites is the traditional Greek salad! It’s so simple, yet the juices on the bottom mixed with the olive oil and Feta and dipped with some fresh homemade bread is just delicious!
How did your Wise Life collaboration come about?
I absolutely love Greece and wanted to incorporate more of the things I love about it into my daily life, in a more meaningful way. It was a natural fit when I met Theo Stepan, the owner of a beautiful olive grove here in California, to create something that not only has a positive message, but also history going back to our heritage in a way that we can share all the incredible benefits of “liquid gold.” From one Greek American woman to another, we knew we wanted to work together in some way and WISE LIFE comes out of that chance meeting. To me, being wise encompasses the ability to discern a moment in time and make a thoughtful decision. With all that is going on in our world, having wisdom in our homes is so important. Open communication and a willingness to listen and gain knowledge from one another, along with life experiences and understanding, provides the perfect combination to better understand one another and make wise decisions as we progress through life. My hope is that having a positive message and reinforcement of the powers of wisdom in your home in something you may use every day is a reminder that together, we can live a healthy, happy, and wise life.
Tell us about your delicious Wise Life olive oil?
WISE LIFE is a limited edition first cold press run. It is organically grown, hand-harvested, guaranteed fresh, and made with love extra virgin olive oil. It comes in a beautiful 500ml black glass bottle that keeps the oil fresh and also just looks great in the kitchen. It will make for a beautiful gift come the holidays! Since it’s tricky getting around all of the fraudulent olive oil that’s in the market here in the US, I was thrilled to find a solution for my own kitchen. It had been years of searching and trying various olive oils that are here, but I was not able to find anything I was confident in and just loved. Creating this special blend with Global Gardens was my solution and I wanted to find a way to share it with others. It can be found at the Global Gardens.
How should people enjoy Wise Life?
I was looking to create something that could be used easily and on anything. I appreciate a great olive oil that allows the natural flavours to really stand out and that can make any dish enhanced. I love the kitchen and it’s important for me to find products that not only taste good but are great for you. Wise Life is just that and is perfect for drizzling on salads, sautés, frying, you name it. It’s quickly become my favourite olive oil in the kitchen. I should add, I also use it in my moisturizers! It’s fresh and pure so all of the health benefits olive oil has to offer are great for your skin too.