`Expo Abounds with Quality Greek EVOO - Olive Oil Times

Expo Abounds with Quality Greek EVOO

Mar. 25, 2015
Athan Gadanidis

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The pop­u­lar­ity of Food Expo Greece last year laid the foun­da­tions for the estab­lish­ment of this annual event for the food and bev­er­age sec­tor in Greece. The sec­ond edi­tion of this well-attended event took place March 14 – 16 at the Metropolitan Expo hall near the Eleftherios Venizelos air­port in Athens.

The Expo was housed in a 215,000 square-foot facil­ity, with over 600 exhibitors and 35,000 vis­i­tors attend­ing, accord­ing to the orga­niz­ers. With lower than usual ceil­ings and inti­mate light­ing, it pro­vided a com­fort­able and easy going atmos­phere for buy­ers from around the world to sam­ple top qual­ity Greek prod­ucts.

A long list of Greek spe­cial­ties such as olive oil and olives, seafood, wine, spir­its and other del­i­ca­cies were show­cased. The best of Greek extra vir­gin olive oils were well rep­re­sented by major brands through Sevitel (the Greek asso­ci­a­tion of olive oil proces­sors and related indus­tries), as well as by many inde­pen­dent pro­duc­ers and grow­ers.

There were olive oils in well-designed pack­ag­ing to high­light the unique­ness of their brands and cap­ture a piece of the pre­mium olive oil mar­ket.

Efforts to pro­duce high-qual­ity EVOOs in the midst of eco­nomic cri­sis were finally pay­ing off. Most of the exhibitors I met said they have sub­mit­ted their EVOOs to the New York International Olive Oil Competition this April and are eager to join the ranks of the very best olive oils in the world.

At the Expo, vis­i­tors had the oppor­tu­nity to meet pro­duc­ers them­selves and taste a num­ber of high-qual­ity EVOOs.

The Governor pro­duced by the Dafnis fam­ily from Corfu pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity olive oil with award­ing-win­ning taste. They were the first Hellenic EVOO to place the EU label­ing health claim on their bot­tles. The Hellenic Food Safety Agency (EFET) has received wide­spread crit­i­cism and is under pres­sure from olive grow­ers across Greece to allow high-phe­no­lic olive oils to place the health claim on their labels.

Tasos Dafnis, Yannis Prodromou, and Nikolaos Chatzilias of Perrotis College

Yannis Prodromou and fam­ily pro­duce the Yannis Olive Grove brand in Nea Potidea, a coastal vil­lage in Halkidiki. They offer a robust EVOO from the large Hondroelia olive vari­ety which DNA test­ing has con­firmed was orig­i­nally grafted on to Halkidiki wild olive trees. They col­lab­o­rate with Perrotis College from Thessaloniki in mar­ket­ing and devel­op­ing best prac­tices for grove man­age­ment. Perrotis College has signed a let­ter of coop­er­a­tion with the UC Davis Olive Center to encour­age joint research and teach­ing, from cul­ti­va­tion to pro­cess­ing, mar­ket­ing and the use of by-prod­ucts, for the ben­e­fit of Greek and U.S. olive oil pro­duc­ers and con­sumers.

Nikoletta Tzianoudakis

Cretanthos is pro­duced by the Tzianoudakis fam­ily from early har­vest Koroneiki olives which give their EVOO its strong green color and robust taste. They hail from Aggeliana of Mylopotamos — an area offi­cially pro­tected for its name and loca­tion.

The Kidonakis fam­ily-owned olive mill pro­duces the Premium Select brand EVOO. They are in full con­trol from the har­vest to bot­tling thus ensur­ing the qual­ity of the prod­uct and have man­aged to pro­duce a high phe­no­lic EVOO, tested by HPLC and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). They also have an excel­lent eco­log­i­cal pro­gram in place to recy­cle olive mill waste into ani­mal feed, fer­til­izer and fuel.

I was impressed by an emerg­ing sense of col­lab­o­ra­tion between small and larger inde­pen­dent com­pa­nies to extend their reach to inter­na­tional mar­kets by shar­ing infor­ma­tion and resources. The Dafnis fam­ily from Corfu and the Kidonakis fam­ily from Crete are col­lab­o­rat­ing to mar­ket their unique EVOOs abroad.

Konstantinos Kidonakis, Maria Daskalaki, Giorgos Dafnis, Prokopios Magiatis, Ioannis Mouchalos, Eleni Melliou

The Divine Mount Olympus and the 2 Drops brands by Nature Blessed owned by Ioanna Damianaki have unique taste pro­files that I could not even begin to describe. I am not an organolep­tic expert by any stretch but the fruity taste was so strong it resem­bled a fla­vored olive oil. Their olive groves are sur­rounded by fruit orchards and this may explain the unique taste pro­file.

The ener­getic Kostas Peimanidis of Agrovim seems to be attend­ing every show on the planet. I met him pre­vi­ously at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January where he gave a rous­ing speech at the Great Olive Oil Odyssey sem­i­nar on the high qual­ity of Greek EVOO and pro­posed more imag­i­na­tive ways to increase mar­ket share in the USA.

Kostas Peimanidis

At the Food Expo, Peimanidis was with Sevitel who had a well-orga­nized booth for their mem­bers. Peimanidis is the invet­er­ate ambas­sador for high-qual­ity EVOO and has just released a lim­ited quan­tity small inde­pen­dent olive grow­ers Single Estate brand. Meeting the indi­vid­ual grower is made easy via a QR code on the label which show­cases the indi­vid­ual pro­ducer.

The Food Expo show­cased the har­mo­nious blend of tra­di­tion, mod­ern sci­ence and organolep­tic qual­i­ties of Hellenic EVOOs and a renewed sense of pur­pose and col­lab­o­ra­tion between pro­duc­ers across Greece.

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