The Oil Merchant was launched in 1984 when Charles Carey drove to Tuscany to find his first olive oil. His first customer was the manager of the Elizabeth David kitchen equipment shop in Pimlico, Sika Harmond. Now married, they run the business together, along with Kate and Frances in the office, and Ken in the warehouse.
The first product they imported was extra virgin olive oil and this, mostly estate-bottled, is still the mainstay of their business. Over the years, however, they have added balsamic and wine vinegars to their range, as well as pastes and sauces, olives and capers, some Lebanese products and some biscuits from Siena.
Photograph of Charles courtesy of the photographer, Glynn Griffiths