Hellenic Crops Inc specialises in PDO premium quality Greek olives and Olive Oil, mixed with the finest herbs of the Aegean Sea. ESM spoke to the company’s managing director, Bassam Azar.
At this year’s SIAL Paris exhibition, Hellenic Crops Inc will be showcasing the finest, authentic flavours of Mediterranean cuisine, and its PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) premium-quality Greek olives selection.
Visitors to the company’s stand will also have the opportunity to experience Hellenic Crops Inc’s premium, well-balanced PDO Greek olive oils from the Kalamata and Sitia regions of Crete in southern Greece. Through strictly-selected contract farming, the company’s fully-certified family units cultivate, process, store and package tailor-made products for both HoReCa and Retail.
ESM spoke to the company’s managing director, Bassam Azar.
ESM: Hellenic Crops prides itself on quality and flexibility. What do you see as the unique selling point of the company?
Bassam Azar: As well as running Hellenic Crops, I am a musician. After a strenuous day, I play my favourite compositions to relax. With that in mind, the unique selling point of Hellenic Crops is our ‘orchestra’, our great, expert team, where every colleague sees himself as an important partner, not just an employee.
We share common values, we all play ‘different instruments’ and we perform perfectly together. Our ‘symphony’ is the one-stop-shop service we offer, from harvesting to transportation, according to the highest level of certification.
Hellenic Crops was recently honoured at the ITQI Quality Awards - why do these products stand out, in your eyes?
Hellenic Crops’ Ultra-Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO Kalamata and Bio Kalamata Olives in Extra Virgin Olive Oil have been awarded as remarkable products with two golden stars by the world’s leading taste certification organisation, iTQi, the International Taste & Quality Institute.
We are very proud to be awarded for our commitment to quality in blind tests by a 175-member jury of renowned chefs and sommeliers. This is why both our extra virgin olive oil and olives represent such an excellent cross-section of Greek Mediterranean culinary culture.
Why do Greek olives and olive oil stand out, compared to varieties from other countries?
Greece devotes almost 60% of its land to cultivate olive trees. In many regions, scientists have found fossilised olive leaves dating back 50,000 to 60,000 years. And most of the main Greek olive varieties have remained the same all these years.
Considering that the 80% of Greek olive oil production is extra virgin olive oil, it is easily understood why the famous Greek salad, full of delicious olive oil, is so tasty.
It’s mainly due to the temperate climate, the rich soil, the ideal altitude and Greece’s proximity to the sea. These factors, combined, provide us with intense flavours and balanced taste, both in olives and extra virgin olive oil. It’s a case of the excellent combination in the perfect proportions!
Hellenic Crops has been present at several trade fairs in recent months, including Gulfood, PLMA, Anuga, and now SIAL. How important are exports to the company?
We are a purely export company. We believe in experimentation; we invest in it hugely, and we continuously seek out ways to satisfy modern food trends, combining them with Greek traditional cuisine.
What export markets is Hellenic Crops targeting?
Currently, at Hellenic Crops, we are looking to expand our export presence in USA, Europe and Latin America. We have received very optimistic feedback, because we offer premium Greek olives and extra virgin olive oil that combine both value and quality.
After SIAL, what’s next on the agenda for the company?
After SIAL Paris, Hellenic Crops will keep on moving, traveling and demonstrating our Greek, traditional delicacies. For the time being, we are already packing our things for Gulfood, Funky Gourmet, PLMA, SIAL Abu Dhabi and Anuga 2019… we have a busy year ahead!
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