branches full of olives and olive trees in the foreground, foothills and mountains in the distant background

For over five generations, the proud Giannakos family cultivated their olive groves in Vasilaki, Peloponnese, Greece. As times changed, the Giannakos family migrated to North America, settling in Canada and the US. Wherever they went, fresh organic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) extracted from home-grown olives from the sunny land of Greece went with them.

Thousands of years ago, according to Greek mythology, the beautiful goddess Athena created the first olive tree to win over the people of what is now Athens. Since then, olive oil has become a hallmark of Greek and Mediterranean life. In line with that tradition, Ilias Giannakos brings authentic, top quality EVOO to Canada.  

Everything started with Giannakos Farm in Greece, where some of the olive trees are over 1000 years old. For more than a century, the family has been the top producer and distributor of olive oil in their area. Instead of focusing on quantity, the Giannakos family strives for quality. While their olive groves include seven types of trees, they cultivate two types of organic, GMO-free olives for their unfiltered extra virgin olive oil blend: Athinolia and Koroneiki olives. With the Giannakos blessing, the marriage of these two olive varieties creates a uniquely delicious EVOO.

There is more to their EVOO’s great taste than its blend. The olive fruits are also handpicked carefully just before they ripen. This further increases the value of Ilias and Sons EVOO, because early harvest olive oils are known to be superior to their conventional counterparts in both flavor and health benefits, including a particularly high phenolic content. So it is no surprise that the family’s extra virgin olive oil has enjoyed roaring success.  

The story took a new turn after part of the Giannakos family settled in Canada, bringing olive oil from their Greek homeland along with them. At first, they imported just enough olive oil to use for their daily meals and to share with friends. But as the years passed, the Giannakos EVOO received so many word-of-mouth recommendations that a new business was born.

Ilias Giannakos founded Ilias and Sons in 2014 to bring extra virgin olive oil to people who desired it. Few other products have had their quality proven by the health of their owners like Ilias Giannakos’s EVOO. His family tends to live between 96 and 110 years, and they believe this is largely due to daily consumption of their own EVOO. For example, Maria Giannakos, mother of Ilias, lived to be 110 years old.

Maria and Ilias walking in their olive grove

Ilias Giannakos did not need to wait long for his company to succeed. In 2016, he won the Foodie-Approved™ Award, with his extra virgin olive oil named one of the best tastes in Canadian food and drink by, a respected community of Canadian food lovers.

Still, Ilias Giannakos had a greater goal in mind: transparency. The olive oil industry in Canada and around the world has often been plagued by corruption and scams, with oils either produced from low quality olive oil but mislabeled as “extra virgin” or, even worse, made from other kinds of oils but marked “olive oil.” Olive oil frauds are estimated to be as profitable as selling cocaine.

Against all odds, Ilias and Sons has defied the big guys in the industry to help customers gain access to real extra virgin olive oil. Ilias and Sons ensures that all steps, from the olive grove to fulfillment of the business, are carefully managed and monitored: everything from cultivating the trees, handpicking the fruits, and extracting the oils to bringing them to Canada in 17-liter tins. This is the reason their customers have absolute confidence in what they pay for.

It might seem like a David vs. Goliath battle, but the good news is that David is winning. In 2019, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), alarmed by the intensifying frauds, carried out an extensive program to identify dishonest olive oil producers and protect the law-abiding ones. Ilias and Sons EVOO was among the first products to pass rigorous CFIA tests, proving itself pure and authentic. Then Ilias and Sons’ tireless efforts to ensure authenticity were praised by Edible Ottawa, a well-known Canadian cuisine magazine.  

In addition to extra virgin olive oil, Ilias Giannakos expanded his business by moving on to other product lines, such as olive oil-based soaps and flavored olive oil, Greek balsamic vinegar, and spices. Ilias and Sons products are currently available on their website and from Amazon, where several of them have received the Amazon’s Choice badge. Amazon customers have provided over 100 reviews of Ilias and Sons products, with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Ilias and Sons also offers a one-of-a-kind service: infused olive oils made to order. In spite of a huge demand for olive oil infusions, customers usually have few choices but to buy mass-produced bottles of olive oil with some ubiquitous flavors. If they want olive oil infused with original tastes, they have to go through a difficult process in an attempt to make it themselves. Ilias and Sons makes things much easier by inviting customers to choose their favorite flavors, wait for the store to prepare the infusions, and have them home delivered.

With Ilias Giannakos, olive oil is safer and more flavorful than ever before. The gods might have created olive trees, but it is the Giannakos family who makes them produce some of the best olive oil. It is fantastic to have a man like Ilias Giannakos to carry the torch and make sure there is always EVOO out there to enjoy.