February 2009

Celebrating Eight Years of Quality

Vasilios Contis offering samples of olives and olive oil at a tasting

Vasilios Contis at a tasting at City Market on Valentine’s Day

In January, Elaioladon-Contis Imports turned eight. In 2001, Vasilios Contis launched the Vermont-based company in an effort to bring the best olive oil of his native Greece to the US.

Contis stands behind his products 100%. He says, “The quality of my product has been consistent for the last eight years. In other words - it’s the best olive oil available in the world today.”

Good olive oil is a science, depending on soil, olive varieties and farmer’s tender care of their trees. The olives are always picked by hand. Contis explains, “You can see the difference in the greenish hue of the oil and its fresh olive aroma. Each variety of olive has a different taste.”

In 2005 the family business expanded, as Elaioladon-Contis Imports began importing India’s highest quality Black Tellicherry Pepper.

The Malabar Pepper Company’s select large peppercorns add a flavorful fire to any dish.

Today, Elaioladon-Contis Imports stocks co-ops and food shops throughout the Northeast with the pepper and three types of oil (organic, non-organic and unfiltered). The company also provides online sales to individuals throughout the US.

Contis recalls how it all started, with olive oil tastings at stores. The feedback was instantaneous, “People were amazed with the way the olive oil tasted.” They would often ask, “Is this really olive oil?” and Contis would answer, “Yes! It’s the real thing.” The company is proud to include Sante magazine’s food panel among its many fans.

Elaioladon-Contis Imports thanks its customers for their continued support and assures them that its prices will continue to be affordable in these cost-cutting times.

Check the company’s site for special offers. Wholesale prices are available.

Star Customer: Nectar Rorris

photo of Nectar Rorris, former proprietor of Nectar's nightclub / restaurant

Nectar Rorris

For almost 30 years, Nectar Rorris was known around Burlington, Vermont for two things. The proprietor of Nectar’s nightclub/restaurant offered a venue for a lively music scene (including the band Phish) and he made the best French fries and gravy.

Now that Rorris has retired, he makes an even more mouth-watering version of his fries at home. For the past seven years, he’s used Elaioladon-Contis Imports olive oil for frying potatoes, Greek-style. He notes his son is crazy about the result of what Rorris calls the “phenomenal” oil of his native Peloponnese.

The Rorris family also drizzles olive oil over salads and in many other recipes. “Instead of using butter in the morning for breakfast, for scrabbled eggs for example, we use olive oil,” Rorris notes.

The restaurateur says relatives and party guests alike say, “This tastes different!” when they detect the oil in familiar dishes.

Rorris believes Americans are becoming increasingly familiar with the nuances of olive oil. He likes the range – from light to rich – of the Elaioladon-Contis Imports oils.

Rorris’ friendship with Elaioladon owner Vasilios Contis spans back to the 1970s Vermont Greek community. He doesn’t hesitate to recommend Contis’ olive oils to his favorite local supermarkets.

Greek Harvest Late, but Fruitful

workers spreading nets under an olive tree at harvest time

Harvesting olives at Mistra Estates

A long, dry summer pushed back the olive oil harvest this year, reports Eugene Ladopoulos of Mistra Estates. He adds, “We picked our olives in January and February.”

The time for harvesting olives varies in Greece, depending on factors like olive varieties, climate and grove altitude. The olive oil harvest normally takes place in Greece’s Peloponnese region between November and January.

The 2008/2009 late harvest was fruitful, however. Ladopoulos proudly notes, “The quality is very high, as always, with acidity levels close to 0.2 percent.”

after a hard day's work, harvesters enjoy a meal together

After hand-picking each olive, workers enjoy a meal in the Estates’ Dizzy Bee barn

US customers will taste the quality soon. Mistra Estates company supplies Elaioladon-Contis Imports with its excellent Extra Virgin First Cold Pressed Unfiltered Olive Oil.

Mistra Estates’ groves are located on the foothills underneath the Byzantine castle of Mistra,in the Peloponnese’s Laconia region. Mistra is a popular tourist destination with abundant greenery.

Mistra Estates will be among the exhibitors at the 2nd Laconian Products Fair in Athens, Greece. The event will be held March 10-13. This year’s fair is dedicated to sustainable, ecological development.

Though some regions of Crete reported decreased harvests, olive oil production was up in Greece this year. The country normally produces between 300,000 and 400,000 tons of olive oil. About half of the oil is exported.

Olive Oil: A Breast Cancer Foe?

green olives hanging from an olive tree in the midday sun

In the lab, extra virgin olive oil was found to combat breast cancer

In December, Spanish scientists reported that extra virgin olive oil may be a good basis for the next breast cancer-fighting drug. Published in the medical BMC Journal, their report quickly swept the globe.

In the lab, polyphenols (natural anti-oxidants) derived from extra virgin olive oil combated HER2-positive human breast cancer cells. HER2 cells occur in one-fifth of breast cancer cases, according to the site WebMD.

While the study does not claim that eating olive oil treats breast cancer, it does point towards yet another possible health application of olive oil. The study focused only on extra virgin oil, because it retains the most valuable natural antioxidants.

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