Thursday, 30 July 2009

Interview with Apostolos Patounis, the owner of the unique Soapworks in Corfu

The shop and soap factory of Patounis family are located in a central spot of Corfu town, at SanRoco square. It is easy to find since it is near the Dassia bus stop, on the way to Ionian University. Don’t expect to see something big or spectacular; it is a pure traditional place that is worth visiting as it promotes natural products. Both residents and tourists should visit it and learn all about the soap making process.

We visited the soap factory for you and interviewed Mr.Patounis. We met him at the shop which is the front part of the building. Behind the shop there is a huge, oblong room which is the actual factory where the soap production takes place.

Would you please tell us about this place?

This place was built at the end of the 19th century and still operates the same way it used to, while at the same time it maintains a big part of the old equipment. As a result, last year it was listed with the Ministry of Culture as a monument of Industrial Archaeology along with its equipment and use. This place is a live museum which is being visited by both Greeks and tourists. We welcome school visits and other educational groups.

Tell us about your family. Where did they start this business?

The first soap factory was set up in Zakynthos in 1850. It dates back to 5 generations! The soap business was started by my great-great grandpa in 1850. That was the first soap business in Greece, and we are now the last we keep on making traditional green soap.

The Corfu plant built in 1891, preserved with its functioning tools and equipment, constitutes a living memory of an old splendid local tradition.

Let’s talk about the soap you make. Any important details you would like to share with our readers?

Pure soap is considered the most adequate skin cleanser since it unblocks skin pores by effectively removing dirt, oily substances and dead cells.

The special characteristic of our soap is that it is being made from natural raw materials and the final product does not contain any additives.

Mr.Patounis is now showing us the inner place-the factory- where the visitor can see the production of soap, stacks of dried soap and the equipment.

As you can see, we still operate in the same traditional way. You can make your own soap at home if you wish. It is easy. It only takes one hour to do so. Here, it takes 10 days. We’ve got 3 types of soap.

• We use local 100% pure virgin olive oil to produce soap suitable for the face and baby care. This type has limited lathering capacity but it is distinguished for its mild action on sensitive skin. This is the Olive Oil Soap.

• Another type of soap is the Olive-Palm Soap that contains 80% pure virgin olive oil and 20% edible Palm-kernel oil. This is a mild soap with rich smooth lather.

• The legendary product is, however, the Green Olive Soap. It is made of olive pomace oil which contains the olive Chlorophyll and is distinguished for its disinfecting properties and wide range of applications.

The above soaps are made using only the basic raw material of traditional soap manufacture, (oil, soda, sea salt and water), with no additives.

I have a question about the Green Olive Soap. Why is it called Green soap-it looks brown actually!

This kind of soap is produced via the heated process. When fresh it is green but later on when it dries it turns to brown. This soap is practical as it is very cleansing. There is also the Green laundry soap which is very effective.

We noticed some tools on a counter. One looks like a hammer.

There are two tools over there. What are they?

The one that looks like a hammer is the stamp of the product. We stamp the soap bars with it. The other one with the long handle and the knife at the edge is for cutting the soap. These tools are the original ones.

How often do you have a production?

In winter we usually have it once a week. In summer, every two weeks.

Any other product you plan to make in the future?

We are preparing a formula suitable for the washing machine. But it will take some time. Soap flakes are used for aphides in the fields.

What else do you sell in the shop?

Apart from soap we sell items for farmers.

Thank you very much! That was a very interesting and educational interview.

Contact info

If you would like to contact Mr.Patounis, email him at

Tel.No. +30 26610 39806
Fax.No. +30 26610 20704

The shop/factory is at

9, I.Theotoki,
49100 Corfu

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Film evening event

Last evening we had a wonderful film evening event at Mythodia art cafe at Kanoni in Corfu town.

Title: Sita Sings the Blues
by Nina Paley

Learn more about this film at

The cafe is located just off the runaway of the airport and offers a unique view to the visitor who can relax listening to pop music and play board games at the same time! It is ideal for cool summer evenings outside and cozy indoor games in winter time. The menu includes delicious icecream, drinks and snacks for all tastes.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Coming up soon...

Watch out this place for the next interview that is coming up soon.

We visited the Soap Factory in Corfu-did you know about that? Many residents are not aware of its existence though it is very old...and it is a sight no one should miss.

If you are sensitive about natural products, then you should learn about it. Soon on this blog, the full interview with the current owner of the Soap Factory.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Go green

Corfu is a green paradise, but yet, working indoors can make you feel you are under pressure. But there is a way to alter this feeling wherever your office may be. Just read on!

Fourteen tips to an Eco-friendly office!

So, you are working in an office and feel you are destined to be confined in a cement environment for the rest of your life! But office life doesn’t mean you can not be in the eco spirit! There are several ways you can improve your working environment and then feel satisfied that you have finally contributed to a greener and healthier office life. It only takes a couple of steps and some determination.

Step one: Use your car less.
How can you do that? Arrange with a colleague to use your cars in turns or use public transport (which is the best solution as it causes less pollution).

Step two:
Get plants.
Fill your office with plants. They not only enhance the atmosphere but also lessen the effects of radiation emitted from office equipment. Ask the florists about the best interior plants that need little care. Plants will also make you feel relaxed and happy.

Step three:
Find the light.
Place your desk in the spot that is best lit. If there is a window, place your desk nearby as a source of natural light is always best.

Step four:
Become paper aware.
If you use a printer, print on both sides of the paper. Waste less paper and contribute to less deforestation. Also, use recycled paper.

Step five:
Ban felt pens.
Avoid using felt pens and use ball point pens instead. The latter contain less chemicals and do not smell.

Step six:
Pins vs tape.
You can use pins or clips instead of adhesive tape which produces toxins and it is not bio-degradable.

Step seven:
Save files.
Save your files on USB as CDs are disposable. In this way you produce less waste.

Step eight:
Glass vs plastic.
You can use plates and glasses made of glass or china and avoid plastic altogether. Help the environment get rid of unnecessary waste that adds more pollution.

Step nine:
Turn off your PC.
When you are not working, turn off your PC. Do not leave it on waiting mode. Save energy and lower your electricity bills.

Step ten:
Lights off.
If you are the last to leave the office, don’t forget to turn the lights off.

Step eleven:
Use the recycling bins near your office. Sort out the waste you produce during your office hours. Get in the recycling habit now!

Step twelve: Rest room changes.
If you run your own business, replace the faucets in the bathroom with taps having a photocell, and buy lamps that save energy. Also, install hand driers and do not waste paper.

Step thirteen:
Charity aware.
Start a co-operation with WWF that has got special programs for businesses, at

Step fourteen:
Beware of snack packaging.
Avoid aluminum foil, plastic bags or one use dishes for your snacks. Choose a package that you can reuse. Why not get your own lunch box from home?

So, you see there are many ways to be eco friendly and enjoy a better office environment. It’s up to you to make some changes in your life and encourage others to follow you. Remember that this planet needs our co-operation to survive!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Water color display at Anemomylos

Yesterday I had the opportunity of visiting Anemomylos area in Corfu. Anemomylos took its name from the windmill that used to be there in old days. Nowadays, a reproduction of the original mill has been constructed that houses art exhibitions during the summer.

The current art exhibition of the well known Corfiot painter G. Zervos started on Wednesday 1st of July and was organized by the cultural and environmental group of the area. The water color exhibition will last till the 15th of July.

Opening hours:

10:00 to 12:00 in the morning
7:30 to 10:00 in the evening.

Mr Zervos has organized 60 exhibitions so far, both in Corfu and other places in Greece, and specializes in water color. However, he also paints in oil color and the visitors now can admire his unique color pallet in that medium too. All of his pictures depict well known Corfiot landscapes that are so characteristic.

His paintings show his apparent sensitivity in color and construction (he is a civil engineer)and the visitors will be fascinated by the variety of hues that he uses to depict Corfiot nature. The buildings he paints are in great detail and look like photographs. His price list is decent and caters to all art lovers.

If you love art and would like to get a painting to remind you of Corfu island, don't miss this exhibition!

(Here is the view from Anemomylos)