Thanos Kloutsiniotis and a visitor at Ladolea's stand at the 2017 Food Expo

The annual Food Expo in Athens gathers hundreds of superb Greek extra virgin olive oils (and many other products) under one roof. It is a convenient place for food and beverage businesspeople to taste products and meet with company representatives. It also offers an opportunity to catch up on stories and news from olive oil companies from all over Greece.

Greek Liquid Gold collected many facts, tales, and anecdotes at last year’s Food Expo. For example, Aris Markantonakis explained that ABEA is part of Crete’s Land of Values initiative, which focuses on Cretan flavors and emphasizes the uniqueness of the Cretan diet. Three years ago, after a scientist from Athens became interested in the wild olive trees of Crete that have been abandoned because of their low oil yield (just 9%, vs. 20-25% for the more common Koroneiki olives), ABEA began bottling a small amount of extra virgin olive oil made from the fruits of those wild trees.

ABEA is the oldest olive oil company in Greece -- the 28th company founded in the modern Greek state. Starting in 1889 with a focus on olive oil soap, the company turned to edible olive oil in the 1920s, and it now exports olive oil and olive oil based cosmetics to 70 countries.

A much younger company, Pellas Nature, uses a unique natural method to make infused olive oils from key elements of the Mediterranean diet. Unlike other companies that add essential oils, essences, or pressed citrus fruit, Ioanna Diamanti informed Greek Liquid Gold, Pellas Nature uses fresh plants that are left inside the olive oil at a controlled temperature and low pressure for less than one hour. The result is “smoothness instead of aggressiveness. Full fresh flavor of the plant balanced with the authentic flavor of the extra virgin olive oil,” a flavor that is “sustainable over time.” There are eight choices: sage, rosemary, garlic, oregano, basil, lemon, red hot pepper, and green chili. 

Diamanti adds that their sustainable production methods preserve the health benefits of both the extra virgin olive oil and the certified organic herbs and plants. Their factory is in northern Greece “because we want to be close to the plants. We use fresh herbs with bioactive compounds, the same day we pick them.” Each plant offers its own health benefits; for example, oregano contains “the strongest antibiotic in nature, with no side effects,” while garlic “helps the cardiovascular system and boosts the immune system.” The Koroneiki extra virgin olive oil from Messara, Crete, is high in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant phenolic compounds. The result is “an advanced product -- an enriched olive oil, enriched with plants” and free of additives and preservatives.

Another relatively new company, Ladolea, was created by two brothers, Panos and Thanos Kloutsiniotis, who focus on “truly authentic Greek products” from Corinth. Thanos told Greek Liquid Gold that Ladolea offers several different single variety, early harvest, unfiltered Corinthian extra virgin olive oils in order to let each variety shine: organic Patron (Patrinia or Koutsourelia), organic Koroneiki, and the antioxidant-rich Megaron (Megaritiki), plus a unique organic sweet vinegar with bergamot. The oils and vinegar are all packaged in reusable ceramic pots handmade by Greek potters. The ceramics are based on the design of an ancient Corinthian pot called the Aryballos that used to hold the olive oil with which Olympic athletes coated their bodies. Ladolea olive oils have captured quality awards at prestigious competitions, while their striking packaging has won prizes for its design.

The Kloutsiniotis brothers visit expositions as part of a small team they have formed with the Family Beez and Golden Black. Thanos believes “it’s good to collaborate” as they do, since “you need knowledge, money, marketing; with strong connections it’s easier.” It’s good to have “partners to support your idea, help you with problems.” He thinks you “need to promote yourself through expos so they can see your product, the aesthetics, make the personal connection, make connections between the product and the producer.”

Seeing, tasting, learning, connecting: last year, 62,500 visitors from 64 countries interacted with representatives from the 1200 food and beverage companies displaying products such as olive oil at the Food Expo, and even more are expected at this year’s Expo. Below is a small sample of over 200 olive oil and olive companies that will be exhibiting their products at the 2018 Food Expo coming up soon (March 10-12).

A few of the Greek olive oil companies exhibiting at the Food Expo in 2018

  • ABEA
  • Pellas Nature
  • Ladolea
  • Andriotis
  • Anoskeli
  • Biolea
  • Cretanthos
  • E-La-Won
  • Greka Icons  
  • Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises
  • Hellenic Fields
  • Kasell S.A.
  • Kidonakis Brothers
  • Nature Blessed
  • Oliorama
  • Terra Creta
  • Yanni’s

Selected Future Events

Selected Past Events