In 1868 Nicolas Alziari left the family laundry business, to purchase a few old mills in Nice and pursue his real passion. He recognised early on that in order to stand out from his competitors he would need to focus on excellence and, adopting terminology from the Champagne world, he created his ‘grands crus’ olive oils.
In 1920 Alziari set up his eponymous shop in the centre of Nice. Following the war, the next generation of Alziari took over the reins and successfully guided the business through to the 1980s; a period which heralded a boom in the sector when the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil became more widely documented. Subsequently, the Alziari product range was extended to include gourmet products such as foie gras, confiture, honey, and Champagne; as well as olive oil-based beauty products.
Today Alziari olive oil is sold in speciality boutiques in 19 countries from Tokyo to New York. The shop in the old town of Nice still exists and is popular with tourists and locals alike, who seek out the Alziari olive oil sold in its distinctive and attractive tins. The Alziari Grand Crus range from: ‘douce’ (mild), ‘fruitée douce’ (mild and fruity), through to ‘fruitée intense’ (intense and fruity).
The company website states that despite changes in the European labelling standards (the most recent being EU No 29/2012, dated 13 January 2012), one cannot always rely on the label. This comment was used against Alziari in a French television exposé that accused Alziari of supplementing its local supply with olives from Spain.
Alziari were somewhat perplexed by these ‘accusations’ as they have been sourcing olives from beyond the French borders and selling blended oils since 1900. Alziari’s Commercial Manager, David Piot noted that this was in fact what they’re famous for and what their customers seek – a claim backed by their legions of fans. What is irrefutable is Alziari’s advice on selecting olive oil: “Taste, taste and re-taste.”