"I had never thought that I would one day be producing olive oil"

TESTIMONIAL // French-Greek Pierre-Julien Chantzios, 31 years old and co-founder of Kalios Olive Oils, tells us how he finally took over the family olive grove in Greece, with his brother Grégory, after studying at a business school.

Pierre-Julien and his associate (and brother) Grégory

"For the record, our mother is French and our father is Greek. We grew up in Toulouse in the South West of France and spent all our summers in the small village of Neochori-Ithomi, located in the south of Greece near Kalamata. We loved to go there and our grandmother, Yaya, always cooked us good food!

At the end of our studies, in 2009, we left with my brother Gregory to make a road trip in the United States to discover something else. During those three months, we had time to think about our future ... We did not necessarily want to go back to our studies. Define a job in finance and spend our days behind a desk? No thanks. Then we had a new idea and we started with it: direction Greece and the village of our father.

We presented our project to our family: "and if we took over the olive grove to market our olive oil in France ?!"

This oil, we eat it with the spoon since we are small

Their reaction was immediately enthusiastic even though entrepreneurship is always a risk. It's true that we had a good education. Was it worth it to risk losing everything to start our own business? But in the end, we did not hesitate long. This oil, we eat it with the spoon since we are small, we know its potential and we have no doubt about its quality!

In November 2009, the brand was deposited and the Kalios adventure began. In early 2010, after our first harvest in the village, we went through all of Paris with our scooters and our oils, at the conquest of the Chefs. Our strategy was to seduce the greatest Chefs of the capital: "if they buy our oils, our bet is won". We tapped at their doors, without making an appointment and it worked! 7 years later, our olive oils and other products can be found in 600 restaurants in France, including 80 awarded Michelin stars such as the restaurants from Anne-Sophie Pic ***, Thierry Marx ** or Cyril Lignac *.

Our olive oils and other products can be found in 600 restaurants in France, including 80 awarded Michelin stars such as the restaurants from Anne-Sophie Pic***, Thierry Marx** or Cyril Lignac*

For three and a half years, we have traveled the Greek Peloponnese in search of small producers who are still working in the old style to expand our range of products with the best possible results. Today, the Kalios range has expended with a selection of nuts, mountain honeys, wild herbs and Cretan grits!

I had never tasted an olive oil that was so subtle and fine - Christophe Aribert, Chef at Les Terrasses (Uriages)

We will continue to to promote the work of these small Greek producers but also to make the best products from the Greek terroir known in France and all over the world."

Kalios Olive Oils, olives, spreads and herbs are imported and distributed in the USA by Savors of Europe and available online for shipping all over the country.

Credits: post first published in French in Les Echos / START

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