Melies Olive Oil from Greece

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

Delicate, delicious, and ready to eat!

One of the great things about artisan olive oil is that, as with wine, each region and each producer yields its own distinctive style. And as with wine, there is a place for each style—food pairings and personal taste can lead one’s palate from big, fruity, bold, and peppery to gentle, buttery, and delicate. In the spirit of diversity, all are delicious; the key is to use them where they fit best. The Melies oil is one of the latter—like a lovely bit of harp or lute music, it’s especially awesome on freshly broiled fish and delicate lettuces.

The Melies olive oil is one of the many great artisan Greek products we get from friend and supplier Vivianna Karamanis. As you can likely intuit from her name, Vivianna’s family has its roots in Greece, which led her as an adult to start her now nearly ten-year-old import company. Her father Stelios and mother Linda came to the U.S. from their home on the island of Chios as young adults. Vivianna was born here, grew up on the East Coast, and has now returned to live in Greece. Her company, Hellenic Farms, is a way to keep this connection from Chios and the rest of Greece to the U.S. alive and well. Vivianna shares:

Our journey into all things Greek began when I decided to leave my hectic life in New York City and follow my heart to Greece. Coming from a lineage of foodies: my paternal grandfather owned the only bodega in the village of Armolia, Xios where surrounding villagers would come to shop, and my maternal grandparents were and still are Mastic farmers, a unique natural resin that only grows on the island of Xios, I always knew that really good, all-natural, traditional food existed in Greece, after all it is where democracy, philosophy & the Olympics began! I have always found it challenging to find great Greek foods at the local grocer, so in 2013 I decided that I would make it my mission to reintroduce the American table to Hellenic products of excellence!

Melies is a joint venture of a baker’s dozen of farms on the western end of the Peloponnese. It’s a blend of about two-thirds Koroneiki olives and one-third Arbequina, making for a mildly fruity, well-balanced flavor. It’s got a smooth finish and olivey aroma. It’s ideal for those who lean in the direction of delicacy. The label, by the way, is lovely. The embossed artwork is an illustration of the mythological Greek nymphs after which the oil is named.