Independent Greek Producers / Traditional Greek Deli / Contemporary Greek Cuisine
In our attempt to redefine aesthetically and quality wise the term “traditional Greek”, we came across the dilemma: does “traditional” mean “old” or not? We then created contemporary packaging, products and recipes always maintaining exceptional quality. Products were sourced from small, independent, honest producers who have stayed faithful to what they know best. The collection was derived from all over Greece. All products, packaged at their origin, are Ergon quality approved to ensure that traditional Greek produce meets the 21st century.
And then came along the deli. We chose not to revive traditional delis from the past but to design a new, modern space, very 2012, that would showcase all these Greek delicacy gems. Not necessarily “posh” but very contemporary in a way that we would stay relevant even in the future. We also wanted to ensure that our deli reflected the scents, pictures and memories from every single Greek product we host.
With the ERGON restaurants, our bet was to redefine traditional Greek recipes around the long-standing tradition of “meze”; small portions of exceptional food to be shared by everyone around the table. Dimitris Skarmoutsos, our chef, is one of the pioneering Greek chefs who demonstrate and embody the new Greek cuisine always pushing our culinary boundaries without loosing sight of the food’s origin. Dimitris, gave his best and, using Ergon products, relaunched typical Greek meze.
Rebranding our legacy
Ergon is a selection of premium quality Greek products. Our aim is to unveil Greek gastronomy in Greece and abroad. The collection consists of traditional Mediterranean products that respect tradition and create a proposal of high aesthetic and added gastronomic value.
We are based on the substance of the word itself: ERGON = vocation.
In ERGON we believe that everyone should be doing what he knows to do best, what he was taught and loves doing. This is our rationale expressed throughout our products. Every series of products is produced from different people, experts in their field, has its own name and history. The only common element is their brand name: ERGON.
We redefined aesthetic and qualitative terms the word “traditional”:
We created products and packages for people of today made from people of yesterday.
With contemporary aesthetic and usability but quality from old times.
In order to integrate a new product under the brand name ERGON it should have some qualitative, organoleptic features, to be a unique ingredient of Greek diet or nature, or to introduce a new gastronomical proposal, generally to have a perceived differentiation in quality.
Dimitris Skarmoutsos is Greece’s most prominent celebrity chef, and one of the foremost exponents of contemporary Greek cuisine. His popularity soared in Greece after he appeared as a judge on Greek Master Chef in 2011 and 2012. Having graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, Skarmoutsos worked at the French Laundry alongside Thomas Keller before taking a position with Sheraton Hotels. This role gave him the opportunity to work in kitchens around the world, expanding his repertoire and opening his eyes to new tastes and cuisines. On his return to Greece, Dimitris studied Cretan cuisine, developing a personal culinary style. This is centres around using specially selected Greek products from very specific producers to create rustic but, at the same time uniquely distinct, delicate and refined dishes. Dimitris is currently the executive chef of ERGON Greek Deli and Cuisine, a new Greek chain of restaurants and delis which will make its London debut in the near future.
Trying to acquire a selective distribution in Greece as well as abroad, the products ERGON can be found in 300 sale points in Greece as well as in a small presence in 8 countries of Europe (France, England, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Cyprus, Serbia, Poland). The series of products are also placed in the Greek Duty Free Shops.
Under the common name ERGON, there have been created 6 product categories that aim to relate each of the gems of the Greek gastronomy from different places and gastronomic cultures with each other, with a common aim to guarantee the high quality characteristics and authenticity using simultaneously one common company and product image.
SERIES OF PRODUCTS
Our aim was to create a series of products which should consist of products that each one of them could triumph in its own category. For this reason we chose producers from every corner of Greece that produce products with history, that their qualitative differences are visible not only from experts.
In order to integrate a new product under the brand name ERGON it should have some qualitative, organoleptic features, to be a unique ingredient of Greek diet or nature, or to introduce a new gastronomical proposal.
The series now consists of 300 products, 200 of which bear the brand ERGON (the rest 100 are distributed experimentally with the producers identity with the aim to become ERGON). Our products are: Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographic Indication, Organic Farming, Integrated Management, Wild, Uncultivated products from small workshops or with intense local characteristics.
Download a sample of our product range catalogue here
After developing our product series in a sufficient number of products, the aim was to develop a network of concept stores in Greece and abroad, so as to:
a) Support communicatively the development of our brand in a way we chose
b) Create the appropriate brand awareness in national and international level.
The lines we have set are:
• We did not want to copy a grocery from old times.
• We wanted to re-establish by aesthetic and functional terms the concept of a traditional grocery
• We wanted to create a space of 2011, a modern space that can highlight all these gems of the Greek nature in a way they deserve
• A space with smells, images and memories that every single small Greek ingredient can find its place.
• A space that can compete with delicatessen stores abroad.
The result is the creation of the first ERGON – Greek grocery in the center of Thessaloniki on February 2011. In a space of 120m2 at the crossroad of Tsimiski and Gr. Palama str designed by Cuomo – Nikiforidis architects (well known for the reconstruction of the coastal front of Thessaloniki), a fresh, highly aesthetic space. After a year, the flagship store moved in one of the busiest streets of Thessaloniki in 5 Kouskoura Str.
After the creation of our first store and the acceptance from people, we came up with the idea of developing one more different concept that would function complementary to the development of our store network that we initially had in mind, as well as the reinforcement of our brand, giving a vertical integration of our offered services. We wanted to de¬velop a meze-deli store, according to the standards of the old traditional meze-deli stores that have been lost throughout the years.
We were based again on the concept of rebranding and we started. Using the same aesthetic recipe, we created a high aesthetic space at the Sani Resort Marina in Kassanrda Chalkidiki.
The deli was complemented by a “meze” store, which based on ERGON products could serve traditional recipes in modern versions. In June 2011 at ERGON Greek “Meze” store our chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos created recipes based on our products. He changed traditional Greek mezes inspired from yesterday but cooked for today.
The meze store soon became a destination and created the appropriate foundations for the development of our fran-chise network that we aimed to develop.
In February 2012 our newest shop came to a city center. Located in the busiest street of Thessaloniki, our new combined grocery/meze - restaurant shop established our first shop in Halkidiki.
2008 - 2012
The idea began in 2004.
The start of a family business from Thessaloniki (with 3 generations of tradition in the food sector) with subject the promotion of unique Greek products was only the beginning. Having to deal with producers and collectors from all over Greece, brought us with the need to create a new brand that could guarantee a unified and unique quality in a wide product variety.
Our continuously developing tendency of extroversion of Greek gastronomy and the growing number of people oc-cupied with Greek traditional products were allies.
On 2008 our first product (honey) with the name Melissas (bee’s) Ergon was created. A year later, a new series of products was created based on the P.D.O. Kolymvari from Chania Crete with the name Elias (olive’s) Ergon and the Melissas Ergon series was further developed.
On August 2008 in cooperation with the Agricultural association of beans producers at Prespes “O Pelekanos”, we created the series Ghis Ergon, while at the same time a new complete series of traditional pasta with sheep milk from Sofades Karditsa was launched under the name Sitou (wheat’s) Ergon.
On September 2009 two more products were added to the Ghis Ergon series, the Wild Porcini mushrooms and the Wild Truffle from Pindos Mountains, described as products of the year by the Greek newspaper “TO VIMA” and the magazine TROFIMA kai POTA (FOOD and BEVERAGES).
On January 2010 the new category with sea spreads was launched as well as the famous Tuna from Alonissos, under the name Thalassas (sea’s) Ergon.
At the same time the ERGON products were placed at the Duty Free Shops and the cracked wheat Sitou ERGON was awarded a prize at the gourmet prizes of newspaper “Eleftherotypia”.
On February 2011 the first ERGON –Greek Delicatessen store opened at the center of Thessaloniki (Tsimiski & Gr. Palama str.), with aim the development of a retail network and the complete promotion of our products.
On May 2011 the famous chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos was added to ERGON team.
On June 2011 the first meze-deli ERGON store opened at the Sani Resort Marina at Kassandra Chalkidiki. Apart from the deli, the same space functioned also as a classic Greek meze store, offering a menu with tastes from Greece, by the famous chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos.
On March 2012 the first combined (grocery and restaurant) store launched in Thessaloniki’s city Center.