The Koutoulakis family is a multi-cultural family of Cretan origin. Our grand-father, Nicolas Koutoulakis was born and raised in the village of Archanes. As a young man, he immigrated to France where he met our grandmother Mireille Koutoulakis, a young seamstress in Paris.
Greece, and more specifically Crete, were regulary visited by the Koutoulakis family.
When our father, Emmanuel Koutoulakis made a family of his own with his wife Leonor Michelsen, they loved coming to Crete with their three daughters to visit the family and the land they had inherited. It was with about 400 olive trees that this story really began.
Emmanuel and Leonor continued on making olive oil in the village’s cooperative. The excellent qualities of the Koroneiki olives made a sumptuous olive oil. Living in Paris, they would bring some of the extra virgin olive oil back home for their personal consumption of course, but also as gifts for their friends. It was a great success and their friends wanted more of this fruity and tasty oil.
After much travel and study, they decided to create their own olive mill at the heart of their land. The idea was and still is to be able to control every step of the way, the cultivation, the production and the bottling.
They opted for the First Cold Pressed system in order to try to make the most natural and healthy extra virgin olive oil without altering any of the intrisic qualities of the Koroneiki variety. Most olive oils today are made using the Cold Extraction system, which spin the oil at more than 6000 turns per minute to seperate the oil from the water it contains.
In 2011, Kiara Koutoulakis, one of the three daughters, and her husband Giorgos Mavrakis decided to actively join this wonderful project and move to Archanes.
They now manage the olive mill and its land.
Leonor Michelsen Koutoulakis
She fell in love with Crete from the first trip she made there in the early 1970’s. After many years of enjoying Cretan olive oil she and Emmanuel realized the potential at hand. They bought a small press and started making their own olive oil in 1999. The scrumptious oil produced begot the beautiful oil mill they built. Under her supervision la Fleur d’Huile was recognized as a unique first oil and bottled separately. Closely involved with the sorting and pressing of the olives she now takes an active role in promoting all natural farming methods, natural insect control, reduced water use in irrigation and implementing these decisions.
Emmanuel is Cretan by his father. A “foodie”, great chef and wine collector, he and Leonor became quite interested in improving the oil production stage in order to get a finer, and even tastier olive oil. His passion for wine influenced many of his choices in the design of the mill. Thus 30 stainless steel tanks were built to store the different olive oils from the different groves. The specificity of each grove and vat is tasted after decantation and a couple of months of clarification in order to make our yearly blend. A never ending interest in olive oil production, and the sad fact that olive oil presses are becoming extinct have led Emmanuel and Leonor to visit olive mills all over Europe. Each olive oil season the family discusses what pertinent changes in the small details could make our olive oil even more perfect.
Business development, Art, Design & Packaging, Social Media
The second of the three family daughters of Leonor and Emmanuel, Kiara moved to Greece with her husband in 2010 to actively join the family business. She reinforced the absolute need to become organic and her guidance has been fundamental. A real Nature and animal lover, an organic farmer, she has contributed energetically to change old ways. She has proved how associations of different methods of natural farming can be helpful and beneficial to our groves and to Nature. “Always trying to improve the quality of the fruit we use, my goal is to tend to our trees with no external input. Kiara is also in charge of the tours and tastings at the olive mill.
Manager of Production and Farming
Married to Kiara Koutoulakis, Giorgos was born and raised in Archanes where he was always in close contact with making olive oil and wine, as most families in Crete still make their own olive oil and wine. After studying and working for five years in Paris, he returned to Crete with Kiara to integrate the family business. He efficiently reorganized the production and overhauled the management of the mill. His diligence, for example, led him to reduce the peroxide value from 11 to 4.5. Attention to detail led him to see where splashing of the oil could be diminished or even become inexistent, thus reducing the peroxides and increasing the quality of our oils. He also initiated a diversification of our Koronekes® Selection assortment to include local quality products we have chosen to sell and promote such as thyme honey, or wild, mountain grown miniature artichokes.
Our philosophy aims to be in harmony with Nature and the environment.
Our mono varietal Koronekes® olive oils are made with koroneiki olives exclusively. The soil
and the Cretan climate are thus fundamental to our cultivar, giving our olives their basic
elements: their unique flavors and characteristics. We do not try to alter nature’s taste, on the contrary, we strive to simply enhance it by careful handling at every stage of the process:
from the tree to the bottle, and from the bottle to your palate.
Following the steps of the cornerstone book “Le Génie du Sol Vivant”, (Bernard Bertrand and
Victor Renaud, Le Génie du Sol Vivant, Ed. Du Terran, Aspet (Haute-Garonne), 2009), we
believe in the importance of protecting the surface of the earth, the soil of our groves, where
our trees prosper.