MILENA ASSENOVA AND THE MAGIC OF GOOD FOOD


The founder of Olimport is your inspiring guide to the world of exquisite Mediterranean tastes

Milena Assenova Olimport 1.jpg

We all love the delicate or strong aroma of good extra virgin olive oil, the tangy deliciousness of mouthwatering Taggiasca olives, the splendid fruity acidity of quality vinegars. For over 15 years now, Olimport has helped lovers of good food in Bulgaria to enjoy some of the best olive oils, olives and vinegars from the Mediterranean, and to reap the health benefits from consuming clean food. The founder of Olimport, Milena Assenova, has a mission – to offer Bulgarian chefs and connoisseurs a special selection of top quality, unique products. "Cooking good food is impossible without quality products. When they are interesting, innovative and delicious, they create culinary masterpieces, bring joy, surprise and become the nice experience that we all crave at the end of a long day," says she.

Olimport is a company dedicated to inspiring positive change in the Bulgarian food sector. What are your most outstanding achievements and initiatives?

Nowadays, restaurant goers in Bulgaria do not think twice about having a bottle of olive oil on their table, it is so ubiquitous. It was Olimport that initiated the revolutionary replacement of sunflower oil with olive oil in restaurants. In 2010, we organised the first virgin olive oil dinner together with chef Andre Tokev. I believe that both established chefs and students in vocational schools should be properly product trained. This is why we support national culinary competitions, supply vocational schools with free products, give lectures and product trainings. Our partners include the Bulgarian Association of Professional Chefs, the Bulgarian Association of Culinary Culture and HRC Academy. We are members of the Hellenic Business Council in Bulgaria; its members choose our quality Greek products as Christmas and corporate gifts, and as presents for friends and partners for any occasion.

Olimport focuses on top quality olive oils, olives and vinegars from Greece, Spain and Italy. Which are your most interesting products?

Our portfolio is built on the core principle of combining variety, quality, and interesting products.

The Latzimas extra virgin olive oil from Crete is our signature product; it showed us that the Bulgarian market was ready for quality products. Then, we included in our portfolio Rincón de la Subbética, the stellar olive oil from Spain with over 600 international quality awards. Its strong and spicy, yet delicate taste and an exquisite packaging have made it a favourite gift for connoisseurs of fine tastes in Bulgaria. Then we added Del'Or pomace olive oil for cooking. Effectively, we now offer everything one might need to enjoy delicious food on a daily basis – extra virgin olive oil for everyday use, pomace for cooking and a premium olive oil as the final touch of outstanding dishes.

For only three months in a year we offer a special product: agourelio extra virgin olive oil by Douzenis. Made of early harvest olives from special designation of origin, it has a dense taste, acidity, aroma and spiciness combined with healthy ingredients. A seasonal product, it will be available until April.

Olimport also represents a wide variety of olives. We were the first who launched on the Bulgarian market affordable Taggiasca olives; they remain one of our most beloved products among fans of good food. Our Italian series of olives is complemented by Sicilian Nocellara and Bella di Cerignola. Besides the full range of well known traditional Greek olives, Olimport also has developed its own recipes: grilled green olives smoked on oak shavings with lime peels, oregano and garlic in olive oil, and oven roasted Kalamata olives marinated in olive oil. These are unique on the market.

As for vinegars, we represent the Modena balsamic vinegars of Acetum, established in 1906: organic apple cider, red wine, white wine, and sherry wine vinegar. Our portfolio also includes Parqueoliva organic quince vinegar, made in Spain.

How are you capable of offering such a broad range of extraordinary products?

In modern food services staying informed of the latest trends is crucial, you also have to constantly try new things and cultivate your palate as well. This is why I travel a lot, visit the most influential international food exhibitions, and take care of staying in touch with the work of some of Bulgaria and the world's top chefs, including some with Michelin stars. Of course, I focus on Mediterranean products. Before joining our portfolio, each product is approved by a team of top chefs in Bulgaria.

Olimport also collaborates with some of Bulgaria's most recognisable quality food brands. Which of these would taste different without your products?

We have a broad range of partners that use our products. One of our most exciting collaborations is with the Bulgarian hot peppers farm Chilli Hills. Together we make two types of spicy olive oil, one more is in the making – it will be with Carolina Reaper peppers, the world's hottest until 2023. Chernomorski Ulov, which works with selected bonito and other catch from the Black Sea, trusts us for the marinade and uses our olive oil as a preservative. Together with pastry chef Pavel Pavlov we created an olive oil chocolate, now it is a part of Le Feve's chocolate jewels.

You have your own products as well, like olive crumbs. What are they for?

Our award winning olive crumbs are an innovative product developed by Olimport. They are made of top quality dehydrated Kalamata olives that have been crushed to small pieces. They bring a unique umami to salads, pizzas and dishes, and are a delicious alternative to salt and croutons in soups.

Do you have Bulgarian products in your portfolio?

Bulgaria has strong traditions in quality food products. Last year we added to our portfolio the Gurmoli walnut oil, which is well known to the international culinary scene yet they are almost unknown to the food service branch in Bulgaria. It is made with a 19th century French technology in wooden presses on demand meaning that it is always fresh. Olimport is ready to support, popularise and distribute such quality Bulgarian products.

Recently there has been a lot of fake extra virgin olive oil on the market. What is your advice?

These have always existed. However, within a year the price of extra virgin olive oil doubled, causing the number of fake olive oils to soar. This is why you should buy only from reliable producers and from importers that you trust.

Where can we find Olimport products?

Our products are not in the large international chain stores. We supply and collaborate with small delis and specialised quality food shops. You can also order from our online shop or call in advance and collect from our office in Sofia.

Sofia, Oborishte, 14 Yanko Sakazov Blvd

phones: 02 958 65 92, 0884 621 900

office@olimport.bg

e-shop: www.olimport.bg

FB: Olimportbg

Instagram: olimportbg

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