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Kofinas Olive Oil & Vinegar is unique among local food businesses: It’s local to both Cincinnati and to the village of Stavies on the Greek island of Crete.
Kofinas Olive Oil & Vinegar imports, bottles and sells extra-virgin and flavored olive oils made from olives grown on a family property that dates back three generations. Visit the Kofinas stand in the Market House, and you’ll see images of the gorgeous Greek landscape where the 85-year-old olive trees grow. Nick Semertzides says his mother, Evie, was faced with a decision about a decade ago: to sell the family property at a loss or figure out a way to profitably market the olive oil. Evie, Nick and his brother, Manos, created Kofinas Olive Oil & Vinegar to bring the oil to Cincinnati, and Nick says their business success has kept the farm going strong.
Kofinas olive oil is made from hand-harvested, fully ripe olives that are cold-pressed in the village cooperative that’s quality-certified by the European Union. (Olive oil is sometimes altered or cut with cheaper oils, so that certification is important.) Sales have been so vibrant that Kofinas now purchases olives from other Stavies farmers who supply the co-op. The careful processing makes for a better product. “Our olive oil has a smooth, buttery flavor that doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste,” Nick says. And he debunks the notion that olive oil burns too quickly to be used for high-temperature cooking. “A lot of people use our flavored olive oils for dipping bread, but they are phenomenal to cook with.”