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.
The world's wine market is dominated by traditional wine producing giants, France and Italy, and the new world countries of Australia and the South American continent.
However, the origin of winemaking in Europe was in Greece, long before France and Italy started producing wine and eons before the young pretenders of other continents.
Greece is a country with two types of climate, continental in the upper half with hot summers, mild spring and autumn but cold between December and March, and Mediterranean climate in the southern half and on the islands. Greek vineyards are blessed with stable climatic conditions, except during the winter snows in the North The country enjoys considerable variations of “microclimate” from vineyard to vineyard, depending on the region, that favour the development of different grape varieties and their characteristics.
Although France and Italy are the frontmen of world wine culture, it was from Greece that the Roman empire borrowed viticulture and then spread it throughout Europe.The idea of Appellation Controllee, today’s regulation of wines, first started in Greece when the name of the region was given to its wines. Wine production in Greece amounts to about 6 million hectolitres, of which most are red. Naoussa reds and world acclaimed sweet muskato such as Samos Muscat are widely exported but not produced in sufficient numbers to compete with Greece's larger neighbours.
Due to the large ex-pat population of Greeks in Germany, their wine market has known more of Greek wine over the last 20 years. Today Germany is the biggest importer of Greek wine estates like Boutari, Tsantali, Gerovasiliou, Achaia Clauss, and Kourtaki as well as some boutique producers. Aside from Germany, most of Europe have little knowledge of Greek wines outside of the trade and holidays to Greece where they may try retsina and have bad memories of the dreaded Demestika!
Nowadays Greek wine is well worth seeking out. Try travelling down the green peninsulas of Halkidiki with Tasteful Travel, through huge vineyards. Sample the luscious reds and crisp whites at Porto Carras at their state of the art winery and museum, or stop for a tour of the 120-year old E. Tsantali winery. Alternatively travel with us to Naoussa near the birthplace of Alexander the Great. Sample the red wines made from the Xinomavro grape and tour the historic Boutaris winery. Or choose from a selection of viticulture destinations where you can sample the very best of the Greek wine makers art. With so much history, Greek wines never disappoint.