Food always tastes better—and healthier when cooked or simply drizzled with high-quality olive oils. This is the promise of French company Oliviers & Co. with any one of its gorgeous gourmet bottles, which now line the shelves of a brand new store in Bonifacio High Street Central, Taguig City.
Oliviers & Co. is a French company founded by owner and chief executive officer Albert Baussan in 1996. Often called O&Co., the brand is renowned for its extensive collection of olive oils, seasonings and condiments, which boast of “the best ingredients and top-notch processes.”
On June 27, the company opened its first store in Metro Manila, which also serves as O&Co.’s first venture in the Southeast Asian region, in partnership with Stores Specialists Inc.
To introduce the brand to Filipino foodies, O&Co. executives graced the grand opening. Talking all about olive oil, Melanie Costaris, director of International Sales for France, Michel Beaugier, managing director for Asia, and May Tan, general manager for Asia explained what makes their brand a cut above the rest.
Baussan, who is also the founder of French beauty company L’Occitane, has been running Oliviers & Co. for almost two decades already. Baussan personally owns an olive mill in Tras-Os-Montes in Portugal, and through his expertise has staked his company on quality and ingenuity.
O&Co. first oils, however, were sourced from families and small cooperatives, each with their own story. Some were French immigrants who planted olive trees since the ‘50s. Another source was Lebanon’s widowed first lady who had asked Baussan’s help to modernize her country’s olive oil production.
Today, O&Co.’s international sales director Costaris proudly shares that the brand has 300 partner mills in France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Greece and Portugal all committed to producing oil of superior quality.
In an interview with The Manila Times, Costaris explained that each Oliviers bottle clearly states the details of its production.
“On the label, we put the name of the producer and mill, the country of origin, the date of harvest, the specific lot, the olive oil variety, and the number of litters selected by O&Co. We want to make sure that the producers and their work are known so that people know where the products come from,” she began. “For us, the most important people are the producers, and thanks to them, we are able to offer the best olive oils to the world.”
Besides Baussan’s efforts in searching for the best olive oils, Costaris also credited sensory specialist and analyst Eric Verdier for solidifying O&Co’s reputation of consistency and innovation in the business.
“Verdier examines and tastes all the olive oils. First, he looks at the color, smells the aroma, and finally, tastes it by drinking a small portion of the oil,” Costaris related.
So meticulous is Verdier that he implemented very demanding and strict specifications in sourcing ingredients, including how early the olives should be harvested to fully maximize quality. He also insists that each O&Co. bottle must only come from a single orchard.
“The quality control is the same all the way through to make sure that the final product that will arrive in Manila or New York is be the same,” Costaris guaranteed.
The company executive further stated that olive oil is good for the health as guaranteed by the European Union, which even released a list of the product’s health benefits. Naturally rich with vitamin E and anti-oxidants, olive oil prevents cardiovascular disease, increases good cholesterol, slows cerebral aging, and facilitates intestinal digestion, among others.
While systems are in place in every O&Co.’s mill, Costaris added these mills are free to concoct their own local profiles. For example, the Tuscany region in Italy is known for producing Il Fornacino Olive Oil. Also known as the Gold Harvest, this is the brand’s top of the line and most expensive product.
On the other hand, in Puglia or the Umbria regions in Italy, as well as in the Tras-os-Montes region in Portugal, specialty oils are created from ancient tradition, specifically through maceration or pressing. Olives are macerated with ingredients like basil, mint, lemon, mandarin, bergamot, and chili pepper to produce flavored gourmet oils.
Besides the specialty oils, O&Co. also carries an entire catalogue ranging from vintage to grand cru olive oils. The brand has also expanded to vinegars, condiments and Mediterranean delights, with contributions from master chefs around the world like Éric Fréchon, Alain Passard, Michel Roth and Gérald Passédat.
“You now have all of these right here in Manila,” concluded Costaris.
Oliviers & Co. is located at the second level of Central Square at Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City. For more information, call 950-8211, or log on to www.oliviersandco.com.