As a young boy, Emmanuel would visit his grandparents’ olive grove in Crete, Greece. He remembers so many of the things in the house that were made from olive trees, from the logs burning in the fireplace to the oil in the oil lamps and the olive oil soap. They even bathed in a tub made from a hollowed out olive tree.
Olive trees live seemingly forever. As an adult, he remembers walking once again through the olive grove that was still part of his family. As he gazed at the trees, it struck him that he was touching the same trees that had been touched, harvested and cared for by his ancestors. It was then that he decided to start importing the family’s fine olive oil to the States.
Olive trees love a dry climate with lots of sun. As it turns out, Crete is the sunniest spot in Europe. It’s also a very mild climate. The trees are very seldom exposed to frost.
You can see the passion in Emmanuel’s eyes as he describes the tedious process of harvesting olives at just the right time, washing them, putting them in the crusher, mixing them with water which is at just the right temperature of 78 degrees, separating the fine oil from the water and bottling the finished product. Today, Aralia Oive Oils combine the traditional method of harvesting with more modern processing technology to produce the best possible products.
Many of us may be aware of all the false and misleading advertising in the olive oil industry. It’s difficult to get really good, authentic extra virgin olive oil in the store. Emmanuel stopped by J.N.Kidds to do a taste test with staff, so they could taste the difference for themselves between his ARIA Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a store-bought brand.
The difference was obvious in the smell as well as the taste of olives, freshly-cut grass and other fruity flavors. “You’ll get a burn in the back of your throat”, he explains. ” This is very desirable and is caused by the antioxidants which contribute many of the health benefits of high-quality olive oils.” He also explains that extra virgin olive oil must be less than 0.8% acidity. ARIA is less that 0.5%.
As an architect, Emmanuel has maintained his craft over the years, while still managing the import business. He lives with his wife in Southeastern Massachusetts. One of their two daughters is also involved in the business. From growing the olives to selling the product, this is truly a family business.