Greece has everything the traveller needs. Awe inspiring sightseeing, miles of beaches of every kind, hundreds of islands to visit and great weather for two thirds of the year. What it also has is fabulous gastronomy. The country still suffers from a terrible reputation for poor food gained from the sub-standard fare served to tourists in mass market hotels, the ubiquitous giros, and the limited menu on offer in Greek restaurants around the world. But Greece's cuisine today is actually fresh and fabulous. Today top chefs are developing a fusion of the traditional with a modern style. This rediscovery of Greek food heritage is winning acclaim and makes Greece a real foodie destination.
Foremost exponents of the reconstruction of well-known Greek dishes are Georgianna Chiliadaki & Nikos Roussos. Owners of Funky Gourmet in Athens, they have been awarded two Michelin stars for their avant guard twist on classics such as Pastitsio (macaroni with mince) and Horiatiki (Greek salad).
Fresh local ingredients are now being celebrated by renowned chefs such as Alexandros Kardasis and Sotiris Evangelou. No mention of top Greek chefs would be complete without Michelin starred Ettore Botrini. His restaurants in Corfu, Athens and now Rhodes set the bar high. Botrini can be seen on the Greek version of 'Kitchen Nightmares' and has published many recipe books. All of these chefs and many more are ensuring that Greek's culinary tradition is preserved but also taken to another level of excellence.
Greece has always produced top quality olive oil, fruit and vegetables and of course seafood. What many people don't know is that the more mountainous regions produce a vast range of cheeses - it's not just all about feta! The meat is some of the most succulent I have ever eaten, despite the preference for serving well done in most tavernas, even today. Instead of taking these great ingredients for granted, Greek chefs are now celebrating them.
Crete has been at the forefront in the revival of traditional Greek cooking since the 1990s. It's produce is excellent due to the long growing season and the Cretan people's connection to the land. Along with other notable regions and islands, Santorini with it's fertile volcanic soil, the Peleponnese and Halkidiki with their world famous olives, there is so much variety in produce and cuisine to try in Greece.
All over Greece there are now opportunities for the foodie tourist to experience this first hand. Cookery classes, olive oil tastings, bakery demonstrations and all manner of meals are on offer. From the rustic to the very grand, you can find it all in Greece.
Celebrate the great culinary come back on a Tasteful Travel Greece tour. Get in touch to find out more.
Avid travellers like to understand more about the culture and history of all the places they travel to. If you are one such traveller, better your travel experience through a themed gastro tour.
1. Eat Like a Local
Avoid the tourist traps with their expensive and often poor quality offerings. Be shown those hidden gems where the locals eat and dine well. Experience authentic.
2. Experience Local
Immerse yourself in the country or region you are travelling through by meeting local producers and trying their wares. Get hands-on with baking or foraging, or fancy trying chocolate making? Whatever a region offers you can be sure you'll discover the cuisine and culture of it on a food tour.
3. Small Groups
To get the best experience on a food tour a small group is essential. No more struggling to hear the guide or waiting in line to be fed. Groups of 10-15 allow you to get the most our of the foodie experience and it's a great number to get round a table or two.
4. Expert Gourmet Guides
Learn about the history and culture surrounding the cuisine of the region from an expert. They may be local guides or well travelled tour managers but all have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to you. Try new ingredients or ways of cooking in a relaxed and fun environment.
The beauty of travelling on a food tour is that you don't have to worry about a thing. All the planning has been done for you. Visits to producers and restaurants have all be pre-booked and you'll be taken there in comfort. Your tour manager will make sure that all runs smoothly. You just have to enjoy!
6. Carefully Selected Tastings & Eateries
A gourmet tour is lovingly put together to ensure that you get the most authentic culinary experience of the region. From fine dining to cream teas, farmers markets to vineyard visits, you can be sure that only the best of the local venues are chosen.
7. Local Stories
Food history isn't boring. It forms such a fundamental part of local life and culture that it is a fascinating subject to find out about. Stories around the dinner table have been part of human life since the dawn of time. Be part of a foodie group and have fun while you learn.
8. Delicious Food
You can be sure that on a gourmet tour you'll be taken on a food adventure. It is absolutely certain that you will eat really tasty food on the way. From tasting menus to tasting platters, fresh oysters to local cheeses, whatever you try it will delight your pallet.
9. All Inclusive Food Experience
All of the tasting experiences and meals are included in the price of a gourmet tour so no unexpected bills to pay. Even the gratuities are paid. Your guide or tour manager will take care of all payments. But if you want to take some produce home with you, don't leave your wallet behind!
10. Delight Your Senses
Food tours will bring all your senses to life. Hear the buzz of the neighbourhood, see and feel new produce, smell the wonderful aromas, taste the delicious food. On a gourmet tour you will: See. Taste. Learn.
Book your next food adventure with Tasteful Travel.
Let's dispel the myth that Greek wine is all Domestica and Retsina. These days Greek wine offers award-winning, quality drinking. The 'Wine Roads' are routes through the wine regions of Greece, brought to you by an association of wine makers. The idea is that you can explore your chosen region by travelling in a logical way from winery to winery.
One of these routes is the Wine Road of Northern Greece. Actually it is a collection of routes with suggestions of beauty spots, historic places and museums to visit, as well as the best vineyard tours and tastings. Try the 'Wine Route of the Olympian Gods', 'Wine Route of Naousa' or, as we did, the 'Wine Route of Thessaloniki'. There are plenty to chose from and you can find full details on the association's website here.
Thessaloniki is one of the world's eternal cities. With its roots in Classical Greece, it thrived during the Byzantine era and lived through the Turkish occupation, as can be seen by the historic monuments, castles and churches scattered throughout the city. Excellent museums, particularly the Archaeological Museum which houses relics from Alexander the Great and the Byzantine Museum with its fascinating insight into more than a thousand years of history. Don't forget to swing by the White Tower, the symbol of the city which dominates the coastal landscape.
But Thessaloniki is not just a city living in the past. It has a beating heart of markets, bars and restaurants, as well as exciting night life. It also has access to nearby seaside and mountain resorts making it the ideal hub for a holiday or tour.
One of the highlights of this wine route for us is a visit to the Geravassiliou winery and museum. Take a tour around the vineyard and taste the award-winning wines in the cellar, set amongst ancient amphora and Venetian chandeliers. Your wine expert is informative about the grape varieties or blends in each wine. As part of your tour your guide will take you around the museum, mainly consisting of Vassili Geravassiliou's (the owner) collection of wine bottle openers. This gives a fascinating insight into the history of this humble tool, from ancient to elaborate. Other exhibits explain the wine maker's art.
A visit to Geravassiliou is a complete celebration of wine. And you might even meet Mr Geravassiliou!
If you want to experience a traditional bakery in Rhodes, then a visit to the Apolloniatisses is essential. Set in a village on the slopes of Profitis Ilias mountain, the road is winding but oh so worth travelling, with stunning views en route.
Why should you visit?
Set in a village on the slopes of Profitis Ilias mountain, the Appollonia Bakery is well worth a visit.
A women's co-operative, the nine ladies are dedicated to using local produce in their bread, jams and liqueurs. The road is winding but oh so worth travelling, with stunning views en route. In the bakery they also make a selection of the traditional biscuits 'koulouraki' of all shapes.
Their members keep bees, make jam and liqueurs, grow herbs and olives, and ensure that the Appollonia Bakery is stocked with lots of delicious products for their customers.
They will let you try before you buy, so make a trip to this artisan bakery as part of your holiday to Rhodes. Let Tasteful Travel arrange your discovery of Greek cuisine for you.
After the Romans left British shores in the early 5th century, it left the country open to invasion. Tribes in what is now Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands were faced with war, shortage of land to grow food because of increasing population and flooding of low-lying land. News of England's fertile land and ease of invasion reached the Angle, Saxon and Jute tribes. These tribes were a fearsome warrior people and easily subdued the local Britons.
Added to this the Britons in the north were being threatened by the Picts and Scotis now that the Romans were not defending the border. Some Briton chieftains made deals with these European invaders for their mercenary services in return for land. This led to the first establishment of Saxons on the Isle of Thanet. Going forward they settled in large numbers in the south of the British Isles.
Although the leaders continued to be warriors, the rest were predominantly farmers. Their contribution to the history of England was significant, giving the country the bulk of the language we speak today. The Saxon methods of farming were much more efficient than previously and gave a great deal more variety to the diet. It was pretty healthy cuisine, varied if not very fancy.
Saxons farmed the land, kept livestock, foraged, hunted and fished. Barley, spelt, wheat, rye and oats were grown. Spelt and wheat for bread, barley for brewing and oats for animal fodder and porridge. Cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry were kept and bred. Eggs, milk and cheese added variety to the diet, as well as nuts, fruit and fungi in season. Meat would have been provided mainly by hunting and Saxons would have dried and salted it for preservation. Only pigs were grown and consumed as a source of meat. I guess that from this came the British love of the bacon buttie!
Vegetables were widely used, although it is not clear whether these were cultivated or foraged. Saxons certainly had purple carrots, the ancestors of the large orange ones we have today. A parsnip-like vegetable called white carrot was also available and wild cabbages. Legumes were grown, such as beans. There is some controversy as to whether peas were grown or whether they came to England with the Normans. Wild roots were collected, such as burdock and rape. To give flavour onions and leeks were cultivated and many herbs, such as wild garlic, sorrel and lamb's tongue grew wild. Other herbs like mint and mustard were grown near Saxon houses for daily use.
Fruit was foraged for, such as crab apples, rosehips, sloes and bilberries, plums, cherries, strawberries and blackberries. All of these were seasonal and most probably cultivated as time went on.
Flavourings were not readily available but the Saxons were traders and some spices would have been imported. Honey was the sweetener and also used in mead, an alcoholic beverage. Wine was made from various fruit but grape wine would mostly have been imported and so only available to the rich. Beer was much more widely drunk, especially as water was not always safe to drink. Cider was also made and was widely available. For alcohol free beverages the Saxons made fruit infusions and juices.
Interested in history and gastronomy? Find out more on a bespoke historically themed tour in the UK tailored just for you.