February 2012

Dear valued friends and customers,

We hope 2012 is off to a great start for everyone. We are happy to report that Elaioladon-Contis Imports is entering its 11th year of business. Thank you all for embracing our new line of Greek olives – but also for staying loyal to our excellent olive oil and fragrant Indian Tellicherry pepper.

Suggested Reading

Having sought out the highest quality olive oil in the world to import exclusively to the U.S. market we felt vindicated by one bestseller that had everyone talking in 2011. For years we’d warned people about inferior blends, but now Tom Mueller’s book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil lays out in lurid detail the difference between excellent olive oil and sinfully contaminated or doctored olive oil.

When people ask about Mueller’s book, we are proud to let them know that we supply the real stuff. We know the producers and they are small, family-oriented farmers who produce the olive oil that you get in the bottle with pride – and that’s 100% olive oil. We’ve been to the beautiful groves of Hermes and Mistras estates and seen the kind of dedication to quality that gives Greek olive oil a good name and makes the world healthier through its countless beneficial qualities.

At a time when the Greek economy is in dire straits, we are delighted to do our part to support it by bringing some of its finest products to the U.S.

Speaking of books, Eugene Ladopoulos, owner of Mistras Estates recently produced a handsome book entitled A Short Visit in Mistra on May 1st: Mistra Estates Flora which includes stunning photos and fascinating botanical information about the vibrant flowers that can almost be tasted and smelled in each bottle of olive oil.

Unforgettable Journey

In November, we had an incredible experience when we traveled to the source of our remarkable whole black pepper: Kerala, India.

Apart from the unforgettable hospitality of our extended family there and courteousness of the people we encountered, what we were struck by the most was the lush vegetation. Part of this greenery consists of the pepper vines of the Malabar Pepper Company, which climb up the coconut trees as they grow, their promising clusters ripening and waiting to be plucked. Surprisingly, the groves do not smell of pepper, but if you pop a kernel in your mouth and crack it open, boy is it hot and fragrant.

Being in Tellicherry County, experiencing the hot, moisture-filled climate, and seeing the careful attention and centuries-old cultivation methods devoted to each delicate vine, made us understand more about the world’s finest pepper: Tellicherry Pepper.

Visiting the source of the pepper was also fascinating in the sense of what could be learned about market patterns, which follow a 10-year cycle of supply and demand. Every few years, due to low prices, supply is curbed. As prices creep up, so too, very logically, does supply.

Star Customer: City Market

One of Burlington, Vermont’s coolest culinary spots is City Market / Onion River Co-op. Our products can be found among the rows and rows of good-for-you stuff in a place frequented by everyone from college students to retirees. The ambience in the spacious (16,000 square foot) market is clean, modern and locally-minded. The co-op, which was prominently featured in a 2011 Associated Press article, began modestly in 1973 and has in recent years really taken off as a result of agreements with the city and the support of the Burlington community. City Market boasts 5,000 member/owners and sells the goods of some 1,000 local producers. Each visit there is a reminder of how much Vermont’s food scene is flourishing. We always enjoy our interactions with City Market’s loyal clientele during our tastings there which take place about four times a year.

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A bottle of olive oil on the front cover of Tom Mueller's book

Tom Mueller's Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

Bright yellow flowers on the front cover of Eugene Ladopoulos's book

Eugene Ladopoulos's A Short Visit in Mistra on May 1st: Mistra Estates Flora

Pepper vines and lush vegetation in Kerala, India

Vasilis Contis inspecting a Malabar Pepper Company vine in Kerala, India

The City Market / Onion River Logo

City Market / Onion River Co-Op: This month's Star Customer