`Olive Oil Maker Finds Inspiration in Ancient Words and Deeds

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Olive Oil Maker Finds Inspiration in Ancient Words and Deeds

Sep. 1, 2010
Marissa Tejada

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Elaion. Pelanos. Agiron. Three words spo­ken by Ancient Greeks. But today they also com­prise the care­fully cho­sen name for one supe­rior qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil.

Elaion trans­lates to olive oil. Pelanos is a spe­cial mix­ture of olive oil, honey and flour once offered to the ancient Greek Gods. Finally, agiron means liv­ing long. Together they embody why Con­stan­tine Scrivanos, a for­mer banker turned entre­pre­neur, believes ELAION Pelanos Agiron Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil is among the best Greek olive oils avail­able today.

These words are part of life, the phi­los­o­phy behind the brand,” explains Scrivanos, the founder of ELAION Foods from his office in Athens, Greece. We are inspired by meth­ods from Ancient Greece to pro­duce extra vir­gin olive oil with no indus­trial process. The result is the same taste as our ances­tors had, mean­while pro­vid­ing the same health ben­e­fits they had then, for peo­ple today.”

Accord­ing to Scrivanos, no one can know the exact and com­plete process the Ancient Greeks used but based on research from arche­o­log­i­cal exca­va­tions includ­ing what tools they used back then, he mas­tered a way to cre­ate ELAION olive oils and began pro­duc­tion in 2004. The ancient and mod­ern day meth­ods both start in the same sim­ple way – by har­vest­ing famous Greek vari­eties of olives. ELAION’s olives hail from the country’s ver­dant Pelo­pon­nese region.

Con­stan­tine Scrivanos

The first type of olive har­vested, kothreiki, is an early har­vest dis­tinctly known for its lime color and a fruity almond taste. Depend­ing on the taste of the har­vest, ELAION may pro­duce three dif­fer­ent prod­ucts includ­ing Agoure­laion, Agoure­laion Finest and Agoure­laion Bit­ter.

The sec­ond type, koroneiki, bears a green color, a sweet yet bit­ter taste and fruity aroma. Also depend­ing on the out­come of the har­vest, Coro­nelaion, Coro­nelaion Finest and Coro­nelaion Bit­ter will be crafted.

The olives are cold pressed the same way olive oil was in ancient times, by using a mill­stone to extract the olive juice from the olives, which saves the antiox­i­dants as well as its organolep­tic prop­er­ties.

Scrivanos says it is impos­si­ble to know how and if the Ancient Greeks deter­mined tem­per­a­ture, but he main­tains it is very impor­tant to main­tain a cer­tain degree espe­cially dur­ing the oil extrac­tion process. In gen­eral, higher tem­per­a­tures enable more oil to be extracted but results in lesser qual­ity oil in the end, accord­ing to Scrivanos, because volatile scents are destroyed. He says the higher the tem­per­a­ture means more oxi­da­tion which leads to the loss of valu­able antiox­i­dants, polyphe­nols and vit­a­mins. For first cold pressed olive oils, the Euro­pean Union advises tem­per­a­tures at less than 27 degrees °C. At ELAION, through the help of dis­tant-laser ther­mome­ters, tem­per­a­tures are main­tained
at 26 °C at all stages which may decrease quan­tity but increases the qual­ity of the final prod­uct.

Scrivanos says the Ancient Greeks likely didn’t have a com­pli­cated fil­ter­ing process and so ELAION sim­ply relies on grav­ity to sep­a­rate the heav­ier olive remains from the bot­tled prod­uct. In the end, Scrivanos says it can be a chal­lenge to con­vince con­sumers that ELAION’s olive oils are pure and untouched when there are small nat­ural bits left behind. How­ever, he says the totally clear’ oils famil­iar to most is ensured only through the use of the com­plete range of fil­ter sieves or chem­i­cals — which causes the oil to lose valu­able ingre­di­ents.

Since every­thing is based on nature, our olive trees are com­pletely un-irri­gated. How much rain or how the weather has affected them that par­tic­u­lar year has an effect, so each oil can’t help but be dif­fer­ent each year,” says Scrivanos. Despite any vari­a­tions, we guar­an­tee the finest qual­ity.”

The olive oil is then poured into their dark green glass bot­tles to pro­tect it from decom­pos­ing.

We are not mak­ing olive oil for super­mar­kets so we don’t have the same taste every year like the big guys. They are able to do that because they can put in all kinds of olive oil types and mix things around and go through mech­a­nized processes, but this is not nat­ural.” And finally, stamped on the box is a trans­lated quote from the famous Ancient Greek, Hip­pocrates, dat­ing from 432 BC. Good nutri­tion, exer­cise, proper envi­ron­ment, pos­i­tive way of think­ing.”

This for me is very wise, they are not just words. It is about health and longevity and every­one should believe in this,” explains Scrivanos who says the trans­la­tion to Eng­lish just isn’t as pre­cise and direct. What they were say­ing then is that we must eat qual­ity things in small quan­ti­ties and often. They didn’t exactly mean exer­cise rather it is all about your energy and your move­ment. Finally, the proper envi­ron­ment keeps your life in bal­ance, help­ing your thoughts, inspir­ing you to put every­thing in your life together. What Hip­pocrates said is fea­tured on ELAION’s prod­ucts because food is a key com­po­nent for a bet­ter life and olive oil can be a part of this.”

Avail­able abroad in mar­kets such as the USA and Japan, ELAION has proven to hold its own among Greek com­peti­tors. In 2009, for the top Greek food mag­a­zine Gas­tronomos,” the best Greek chefs put the country’s olive oils to the test and voted ELAION’s Agoure­laion Finest as the best qual­ity” olive oil in Greece.

It’s not about being the biggest for Scrivanos. Our goal is to always be known for our qual­ity. And if it means pro­duc­ing only a cer­tain amount of bot­tles each year that is okay with me.”

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Fore more infor­ma­tion about Elaion olive oil, visit elaion.com.

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