The picturesque village of Koroni sits perched on the southern tip of Greece’s Peloponnesian peninsula, its 14th century castle jutting into the azure waters of the Mediterranean. This idyllic town is nestled in the heart of Messinia, Greece’s premiere agricultural region. It’s widely acknowledged that the best olives in Greece come from here, nurtured in the perfect rocky soil and breezes from the sea.
Spero Theros left this scenic land behind to immigrate to frosty Minneapolis when he was just four years old. He grew up speaking Greek at home and at his parents’ diner and English at school. A career as an agricultural commodities trader took him around the world, but part of his heart always remained on his family’s homeland in Greece, which his father left with a cousin when they came to America. Keeping a promise to his father, he returned to Koroni a decade ago to restore the land and revive the olive oil-making practice that his family had pursued for hundreds of years. Divided into different parcels—some with productive olive trees, others overgrown and out of use—the land was ready for revival. Clearing fields and planting new trees, he began producing olive oil following age-old Messinian tradition and Theros Olive Oil was born.
A small family business, Theros Olive Oil creates a unique link between the rolling hills and olive groves of the Peloponnese and Western North Carolina. During November and December, Theros lives on his family farm in Greece, helping to bring in the olive harvest and produce the oil. Throughout the rest of the year, he lives in Asheville, providing oil directly to retailers and restaurants in Asheville. Chocolatiers French Broad Chocolate use Theros Olive Oil in their renowned chocolates; restaurants such as Table and Posana use it to enhance their farm-to-table ingredients. This distinctive connection between two regions known for their family farms and sustainable agriculture makes Theros Olive Oil a perfect choice for Asheville Goods.
What makes this olive oil different? Unlike nearly all olive oils commercially available in the US, Theros Olive Oil is undiluted, meaning the only oil you’ll find in Theros’s distinctive tall, thin bottle comes from olives grown on the Theros property, with no other ‘junk’ oils mixed in as is common practice for most consumer olive oil. Theros Olive Oil exceeds the official standards for extra virgin olive (below 0.8 percent) at under 0.45 percent. That’s a difference you can see, smell and taste.
Pour a little Theros olive oil onto a dish and the thick, rich texture is immediately apparent, the earthy aroma a pleasure to experience. Taste a little and you’ll feel a slight peppery burn on the back of your tongue: the mark of a truly pure olive oil. This flavorful and lovingly produced olive oil enriches the of everything from salad greens to eggs to a simple piece of bread.
Asheville Goods is pleased to offer Theros Olive Oil in our Balsam box (along with Scott Waldrop’s Highland Gourmet Balsamic vinegar). This exquisite olive oil with an Asheville connection reflects Asheville’s ethos of finely crafted, small batch goods that let you enjoy a little Asheville spirit no matter where you are.