Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Other Side of the Coin - Tim Kamarianakis

The painful irony that is the economic and political collapse of the very country that brought democracy to the world is not lost on anyone in Greece. For those who never really knew of Greece's internal workings, the recent world financial crisis brought to the surface all the problems that our political and economic system has to offer. Not that many will ever hear of the corruption grafted directly from the Ottoman period that causes us so much grief, nor the Byzantine Civil Service that often seems incapable of doing much except provide for itself. Hence, the monstrous debt crisis this country is in. What many do not know is that the bail-out packages that Greece received have in their majority gone to pay off compound interest on older loans....from the same institutions now lending us more money. Of all those billions and billions of euros hardly any even reached this country.

It's all a computer generated illusion, a travesty that a population desperate for political and economic change is going to pay for through the nose. Perhaps rightfully, the European partners are looking for ways to guarantee their returns. However who is going to guarantee us, the Greek people, that tomorrow, after the pain and the hardships, that things will change? Our European Union seems to be more feudal than we thought. Having to pay the bill for decades of mismanagement and poor services and suffer the criticism of others when we travel abroad - who is going to ensure that we too will have decent roads, a proper functioning medical system, a safe pension fund system, perhaps even...shock....a politician who goes to prison for breaking the law!!

And just imagine what would have happened if the EU countries had insisted Greece actually change before the money arrived. Slightly unconstitutional but at least that way the population would know that they'd benefit from the pain! As it is, all the easy measures have been taken, measures that have protected the cronyism and channels of corruption. The crippling nepotism that for 30 years has resulted in dysfunctional and ineffective government is too, alive and well. Not surprisingly, hurting are those regular citizens who have never done anything wrong in their life, and a generation of youth have been left to wither on the vine (so to speak) without prospect and hope.

This is largely how we, the Greek people, feel. Right now it all looks pretty grim and hopeless. However, there are two sides to every coin and at least the other side offers a glimpse of the potential this country and its people have to offer.

Since launching Artemis, our flagship olive oil from our own land and trees that we planted with our parents, Chris and I have received unbelievable support and encouragement, not only because it's a fantastic oil (as are so many from our part of the world) but because we were not afraid to scream our intentions in the loudest possible way. Being brought up on a small mountainside farm and experiencing the particular guidance from our parents gave us the foundations for this intent, and the courage to hold on to our convictions. Since then the tentative enquiries from like-minded people here in Greece have steadily built up and we both feel compelled to assist in any way possible, simply because we feel that this is the way we want to change our world, and if you want the world to change, you have to change the world.

With or without our help there are now hundreds of like-minded young people across Greece who have either switched course to follow a sustainable approach to agriculture or have just renewed their existing efforts. At the same time others are leaving the cities and turning their back on a corrupt and obsolete system to find themselves again on their own land. Freedom is in the air and the people of Greece are returning to their roots and traditions in the same way they have for centuries to find and express what makes us a resilient and proud nation.

The result is a dazzling array of small scale agricultural delights made with attention and care, using recipes and techniques handed down from generation to generation. Small shops deliver these products to like-minded customers denying the multi-national supermarkets access to these culinary treasures. At the same time traditional cuisine is undergoing a transformation whereby the old meets, and fuses with, the new.

On December 1st 2009, within this atmosphere of change and experimentation, Twisted Pit was born. There is nothing that Chris and I like to do more than get in the kitchen and cook a meal. Experimentation with flavours and textures using just basic kitchen tools and really good ingredients gives us both great pleasure. Aside from that, there is the happy ritual of meal time where family and friends get together to enjoy the luxury of good, wholesome food. If Artemis is our flagship and our expression of intent, Twisted Pit is most definitely our voice. Using the same foundation of integrity of purpose created with Artemis, we channeled our efforts into creating a fusion of tradition and style anchored to the finest ingredients. Twisted Pit is an expression of freedom where there are no boundaries or set rules, where there's nothing to say that you have to use traditional ingredients it in a certain way, and where experimentation and fun are the objective. Everything we do with Twisted Pit is a celebration of food and mealtimes, and the happiness it can bring to those that use it and those that share it.

Our country may be going through a tough time, but do not fear. We will rebuild and we will be strong again. The collective voice of new leadership, new ideas and fresh perspectives is growing louder both within Greece and from Greeks abroad. If you listen carefully you'll hear us....the artisanal farmers, the store-keepers, the manufacturers, the researchers, the journalists, the restaurateurs, the bloggers and the authors. We're on a mission to rebuild our country and serve once again as a model of what is good in the world.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Tim Kamarianakis

Pyrgos, Korinthia, Greece.

Monday, 25 April 2011

The people behind the company behind the products.

My name is Chris Kamarianakis. My brother, Tim, and I represent our family business, Kamarianakis Estates. We are craftsmen of fine Greek Olive Oils. We are artisans for whom the process of producing olive oil is an annual labour of love, and a lifetime of learning. We are also deeply vested in co-creating new ways of doing business in a seriously messed up world, and finding the old ways that existed (and worked) before some of the newer ways took us all down a dubious path.

We are a family of values and conviction who hold an enormous amount of respect for the land. We practice sustainable, heritage farming and believe in the vibrancy of strong local communities. Over the years Tim, an archaeologist by trade, has become a leader in the reemergence of ancient artisanal growing techniques in Greece, a movement that is being echoed around the world today in response to the decimation of local plant crop varietals and big-box, super-mechanized farming methods. Read about some of his work at if you have a chance.

We are not a company whose focus is selling vast quantities of "product". We are a family business always looking for relationships with people who are like minded and drawn to a way of conducting business that is more fulfilling, whether that is a with fellow foodie, a merchant of fine food, or a category manager of a large chain trying to make a difference in their customers' lives. Don't get me wrong, we are building a company to create financial security for our families, however the models we use and the principles we stand by in doing so are what make us part of the new food revolution and will be our legacy.

We are storytellers with a passion for celebrating good food and the community that it creates. It is a true relationship of trust and respect between Customer and Merchant, and between Merchant and Producer that we are drawn to. We believe in transparency, honesty, and a desire for hard work, motivated by a fundamental understanding that if I look after my village, then my village will look after me.

If you will indulge us, this blog will be our outlet for explaining and expressing our perspective on food, agriculture and community, and explain how we are trying to help the world of business grow in a more sustainable holistic and meaningful manner.

Thank you for your time and support.

Chris Kamarianakis
Guelph, Ontario Canada

Thursday, 21 April 2011


Nestled in the rugged mountains of Southern Greece are the olive groves and farmstead of the Kamarianakis family. Inspired by the majestic suroundings and a family legacy that goes back generations, Chris and Tim Kamarianakis produce some of the world's finest olive oils. 

Kamarianakis Estates recently won a Gold Medal, two Silvers and Three Bronzes at the prestigious Los Angeles Olive Oil Competition, including medals for all four Twisted Pit olive oils.

"It's always nice to get the accolades" says Tim Kamarianakis "What really counts for us, though, is the feedback we get from people who truly enjoy our olive oil creations. We are constantly amazed at how creative people are in the kitchen with Twisted Pit". 

Kamarianakis Estates is known as the only Estate to commercially produce a single varietal olive oil of the "Patrinia" olive varietal. The olive oil used in Twisted Pit is a dual varietal blend using 70% Manaki olive and 30% Patrinia. 

"Patrinia is incredibly rare." Says Chris Kamariarianakis. "Here's a varietal that was prolific for three-thousand years, then simply disappeared over the last 50 years. It did not respond well to the modern mechanized farming methods of the late 20th century". explains Chirs. "Farmers decided it was easier to pull their Patrinies out and replace them with varietals that didn't require the same level of care and attention. We didn't feel we had that option as Tim and I had planted our trees with our father when we were young boys." 

Tim Kamarianakis, an archaeologist in Greece, made it his life's work to discover the methods and practices used by the ancient Greeks that made this varietal flourish. Today their olive groves are a living example of "heritage farming" at its very best. 

Kamarianakis Estates produces the highly acclaimed Artemis Organic Olive Oil, as well as Twisted Pit Flavoured Olive Oils. Tim and Chris Kamarianakis also devote a considerable amount of time educating and assisting other food craftsmen bring their artisnal products to the international market.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Daring olive oil infusions for the adventurous palate!

Introducing Twisted Pit from Kamarianakis Estates - four uniquely flavoured olive oils that will tantalize, surprise, and mesmerize your senses. 

Using the highest quality organic Greek olive oils, the Twisted Pitcollection is guaranteed to please your palate with a melange of new-age flavour and old-world quality. Add drama to dinnertime, and transform any meal into a five-star event.

Inspired by their love of adventurous kitchen creativity, Chris and Tim Kamarianakis conceived the Twisted Pit collection to showcase the variety of new and distinctive food experiences possible with organic Greek olive oils.

"We begin with our superb single estate organic olive oil from Kamarianakis Estates inGreece, and add fresh organic ingredients and flavours from the surrounding area," says Tim Kamarianakis. "The result: savory olive oils of exceptional quality, great versatility, and sensational flavour."

"Twisted Pit is our homage to good times in the kitchen," says Chris Kamarianakis. "We have recaptured those moments of adventure and creative inspiration in the kitchen, when we enjoy "twisting" family recipes and old favorites by experimenting with new combinations of ingredients and flavours."

Try Kamarianakis Estates Twisted Pit...and get "twisted" with us in your kitchen today!