The Olive Table: Bringing Authentic Greek Favorites Directly to You
When you shop for olive oil in the aisles of your local grocery store, or even specialty food store you typically find popular Italian brands or perhaps a few specialty oils from France or Spain. Most of what you find on the shelf are blends, particularly from Italy, made of a combination of oils from Italy, Spain and/or Greece. Single source oils are harder to find, and single source oils from Greece are even more rare on the shelves of American markets. Enter the Olive Table.
Each year, Dianne Hinaris’ mother-in-law would send her a 20-liter tin of oil straight from the family’s olive groves on the southwest coast of Greece. The Messenia region is known for it hot summers and mild winters and it is here that the Hinaris family has been producing olive oil for more than 100 years. After repeated suggestions from the Hinaris’s friends that they sell the oil, and extensive research on how to go about it, Dianne launched her company the Olive Table in 2011. “It was a steep learning curve, but we were determined to figure out how to bring premium Greek oil to American consumers at a reasonable cost,” notes Hinaris.
The Olive Table currently sells two types of oil, both made from the Koreneiki olive. This varietal is grown almost exclusively in Messenia, and the Hinaris family oils come specifically from groves surrounding the ancient coastal town of Kyparissia. Koreneiki oil is prized for its peppery flavor profile and high levels of polyphenol antioxidants. Natural polyphenols are linked to a number of possible health benefits including reduction in heart disease. The Private Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil is from olives from the family’s own groves, while the Organic Early Harvest Single Estate Oil is from olives supplied by family friends in the same region. Early harvest oil, known in Greece as “agoureleo” is considered to be the best oil available due to its high polyphenol count and unique flavor profile. The aroma of this oil is of green herbs with a touch of honey. These oils are best used in their pure state for finishing – drizzled over your favorite fish, salad, cheese or grilled bread.
The Olive Table’s oils were met with such acclaim, that Hinaris decided to introduce another staple of the Greek diet to her product line, honey. The Olive Table’s honeys are unique and exceptional, sourced from family friends in Greece – father and son beekeepers who have been practicing apiculture for generations. The Fir and Pine “forest” honeys are rich and carmelly in texture with woody flavors, while the orange blossom honey is light and fresh with citrus undertones. The honeys pair well with cheese. The forest honey also contains lower sugar content than traditional flower honey, and as a result rarely crystallizes.
The Olive Table has succeeded in introducing American consumers to some of the finest authentic Greek products, and our hope is that there are more to come. The next time you shop for oil or honey, choose carefully, and consider buying Greek, from the source.