I met Eleni Kypraiou during an event – actually during the filming of “Elliniko Proino” (Greek Breakfast) TV programme dedicated to the island of Aegina. Fascinated by Eleni’s interventions and her radiant personality, further to her invitation to visit her estate, next thing I knew, I found myself in Aegina early dawn on the very next day.
At her mansion, over coffee served with delicious goodies, I learned that Eleni’s grandparents came from the island of Hydra and that, as a compensation for their participation in the Greek Revolution of 1821-1828, they had been given a vast expanse of land in the area of Perivolla (where the estate of Eleni is currently located). Eleni suggested we visited the estate. We set off around 08.30. Driving in Eleni’s pickup truck through earth roads, narrow and stony as sheep paths, we finally reached our destination. This is where things got tricky for me; with her sabots on, Eleni was climbing cliffs and dry stone walls, exhibiting the excellent cliff-climbing skills of wild goats, to show me her new acquisition, her new beautiful estate at Katopides as she was explaining to me that she had to preserve the stone walls from falling, as well as how she performed a drilling, how she built a stone fence at the estate, etc. As for me, I was trying to catch my breath and, totally exhausted, I was struggling to keep up with her quick pace.
Apart from the production of pistachios growing from 750 almond trees, Eleni boasts the production of another four products:
- pistachio oil, reach in Omega 3 and Omega 6, an ideal dressing for salads and fish
- pistachio butter with no added preservatives
- ground pistachio powder, ideal to add in flour, sweet and salty preparations
- olive oil made from unripe olives collected from olive trees cultivated according to an integrated pest management plan.
I forgot to mention that Eleni Kypraiou is 79 years old. However, she has the soul of a teenager. In 2005, when she stopped working as a journalist, she settled down at her parents’ estate and decided to become a farmer. Here is a short résumé of her life before she chased a new direction in her life.
Eleni Kypraiou, daughter of Dimosthenis, is an actress, a writer and the first female TV presenter. Married to late journalist Christos Filippidis, Manager of one of the oldest Greek daily newspapers “Acropolis”, she was born in Athens in 1937. Eleni followed piano lessons with Filoktitis Oikonomides, a great music educator, violinist and a prominent orchestral, choral and opera conductor, before continuing her studies at the Music School of Lyon (Conservatoire de Lyon) in France. Eleni also studied Literature at the University of Sorbonne and followed courses at Gérard (Cours Gerard Philippe Grasse) and Simon (Cours Simon) Drama Schools and at the National Drama Academy (Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique) in Paris.
Eleni has worked at the Greek Radio Foundation (1957-1966), at the National Television (1966-1972) and at the National Theatre (1958-1966).
On a last note, here is what Eleni told me when we said goodbye:
“When cultivating the earth, truth is what matters. I like fighting honest battles and this I get only with the earth. You don’t get that with people. There is no injustice with the earth; you get what you give”.