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SUMMER 2007

O6

Foraging for Flavor Greek Herbs/Bean Cuisine /


Spa Food la Grecque/ Dinner with Kazantzakis/
Greek Wines on the Global Table/Greek Summer Fruit/
New Greek Salad

Contents
ISSUE 6 SUMMER 2007

Letter from the President of HEPO

Letter from the CEO of HEPO

The Greek Economy at a Glance

Letter from the Editor

Foraging For Flavor: Greek Herbs

11

By Diana Farr Louis

Bean Cuisine

19

By Georgia Kofinas

Spa Cuisine la Grecque

27

By Anthee Carassava

Kerasma Spa Cuisine Recipes

34

At the Table with Kazantzakis

38

By The Cretan Scribe

Flavors of the Aegean

47

By Diane Kochilas

Greek Wine on the Global Table

55

By Sofia Perpera

Sweet Summer Bounty: Greek Fruits

65

By Diane Shugart

Greek Salad Grows Up

73

By Dimitris Andonopoulos

Kerasma: New Greek Salad Recipes

78

Kerasma: Treat Your Taste with Great Recipes

85

for Herbs, Beans, Summer Fruits and More

3 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT OF HEPO

We continue our efforts to update the public on great Greek products and cuisine.
Our various activities from one end of the world to the other have been crowned
with success and warmly embraced.
The success of the last year's KERASMA conference in Athens prompted us to
organize a second international conference. This year we've chosen two of the
most magical settings, Crete and Santorini, as the venues for the 2nd KERASMA
conference.
Now we have an added goal: We want to illustrate the Greek way of living, which
is indelible linked with Greek food and wine, with the friendly atmosphere of a typical Greek table, with good company and with the sharing of exquisite food. Food is
our pretext for socializing, the vehicle we Greeks turn to in order to forget life's
hardships.
Our sound nutrition and delicious cuisine help us recharge and go on with life. They
also have much to offer the rest of the world. In times like these, when health issues
are on the forefront of the news, where the epidemic of obesity is spreading all over
the Western world, the Greek diet offers more than a few pearls of wisdom. The Greek
diet and the world renowned Cretan diet, which constitutes the core of
Mediterranean nutrition, offer the tools necessary to confront today's burning health
issues, because they combine both pleasure and usefulness. We touch upon that in
this issue of the GreekGourmetraveler, too, in an enlightened article on spa cuisine.
In the current issue, we also broach the issue of global accessibility, by presenting
the success Greek wines have enjoyed around the world. Our conference guests will
be given the opportunity to taste our wines in the striking environment of
Santorini.
We address health in this issue by offering up a gamut of articles and recipes for
beans, herbs, and seasonal fruits, all of them part of the Greek diet, culled from the
Greek earth. Those are just a few of the things you will find within the pages of our
latest issue.
Looking down the road, we want to invite you to enjoy even more healthy Greek
treats by keeping us on the calendar next October and visiting us at ANUGA. We
will be more than happy to meet you there and share with you the vast gamut of
Greek products, our best examples of KERASMA, our Greek cuisine.

Panagiotis I. Papastavrou
President
HEPO

4 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

LETTER FROM THE CEO OF HEPO

A year and a half has passed since we at HEPO initiated the Kerasma campaign
and in that time Greek food and beverage exports have increased more than 42%,
to _2.93 billion between 2004 and 2006.
The success of the Kerasma campaign is unquestionably linked to the increase in
food and beverage exports and we here at HEPO are proud.
Since it began, Kerasma has been at the heart of some of our most successful
activities in the international market. With Kerasma as our vehicle, we've forged
new business partnerships by opening up new markets and upgrading the image of
Greek products in existing markets.
Beyond such tangible achievements, though, Kerasma means something else to us
here at HEPO. Kerasma's success has shown us that our strategy is the right one,
our direction correct.
Greek exports have been on such a positive course, evinced by the biggest growth
rate in years,that now we are thinking ahead to how we'll achieve an even bigger
increase and intensify our presence abroad.
We face a few challenges: how to attract the interest of businesses and food and
wine professionals abroad, and how to broaden and systematize our interaction
with reliable distribution networks in target markets.
We here at HEPO believe that only through a continuation and strengthening of
activities that illustrate all the unique characteristics of Greek food and beverages,
will we be able to sustain and augment our successes abroad:

By identifying Greek food and beverages with Greek- Mediterranean nutrition, a


model that is now an internationally acknowledged vehicle for balance, health,
well-being, and longevity

By incorporating food with the entire Greek culture, the Greek way of living

Through original, qualitative ways of presentation and marketing

Food and beverages are indelibly linked to quality of life, which is an indisputable
ingredient in the commercial success of culinary products. With that in mind, we
have created a new communications tool-a slogan--that will support all our activities, embrace our products, and incorporate and boost the notion of offering, of
Kerasma. We have a great lifestyle, a great table, a great vineyard here in Greece,
and our new slogan relays that with immediacy and precision:

From us here at HEPO to you around the world, enjoy our Great Greek style of
Eating, Drinking, Living.

Panagiotis Drossos
CEO, HEPO

5 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

RAPID DEFICIT REDUCTION

JOB CREATION AND FALLING

IMPROVING COMPETITIVENESS

Deficit of the general govern-

UNEMPLOYMENT

Greece went up eight places

ment has been reduced by 5.3

The unemployment rate has fall-

according to the latest ranking of

percentage points of GDP since

en from 10.5% in 2004 to 8.9% in

the Institute for Management

2004 - from 7.9% of GDP in 2004

2006.

Development based in

to 2.6% in 2006. It is the first


time since EMU entrance that

This is the first time that unemployment falls below 9% since 1998.

Switzerland.
IMPROVED ECONOMIC

the deficit falls below the 3%

INCREASING INVESTMENT

ENVIRONMENT

limit.

Total investment in Greece went

The index of economic climate

STRONG GROWTH

up by 9.5% in 2006 in comparison

composed by the EU and the

Economic growth reached 3.7% in

with 2005.

Foundation for Economic and

2005 and 4.3% in 2006.

In 2006, Foreign Direct

Industrial Research is on a

Investment reached_4.2bn (2% of

steadily upward trend since June

growth rates in the European

GDP), nine times higher than

2005.

Union and the eurozone. In

2005.

Greece enjoys one of the highest

The latest ratings of Fitch,

2005, the growth rate for EU

RISING EXPORTS

Moody's and R&I reviewed

countries was 1.7% and for euro-

Exports went up by 13.7% in 2005

Greece's outlook from stable to

zone members 1.4%.

and by 18.2% in 2006.

positive.

The Greek Economy


at a Glance

6 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

The Prime Minister of Greece, Mr Kostas Karamanlis with the Greek


Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr George Alogoskoufis.
The Greek Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. George
Alogoskoufis and his Chinese counterpart Mr. Jin Renqing met in
Beijing in October 2007 in the context of the largest Greek business
delegation's visit to China.
The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. George Alogoskoufis
addressing members of the Japanese business community on Greece:

TThe Greek Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. George


Alogoskoufis, rings the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange
in November 2006.
The Greek Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. George Alogoskoufis,
during the India-Greece Business Forum organized by the Hellenic
Foreign TradeBoard (HEPO) in New Delhi in February 2007.
The Greek Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. George Alogoskoufis
speaks at the presentation of HEPOs programme for 2007.

The ideal business partner in Southeastern Europe and the prospects


of the economy after the Olympic Games, in Tokyo in May 2005.

7 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

SUMMER 2007

O6
GreekGourmetraveler
Greek Food, Wine & Travel Magazine
Editor-in-Chief
Diane Kochilas
Editorial Assistant & Translations
Evelyna Foukou
Art Director & Designer
k2design
HEPO Liaison
Anastasia Garyfallou
Contributors
Dimitris Andonopoulos, Anthee Carassava,
Georgia Kofinas, Diana Farr Louis, Sofia Perpera,
The Cretan Scribe, Diane Shugart
Contributing Chefs
Yiannis Baxevannis, Hector Botrini, Nena
Ismirnoglou, Dimitris Lemonis, Miltos Karoumbas,
Martin Kirchgasser Lefteris Lazarou, Jean Metayer,
Stelios Parliaros, Christoforos Peskias, Athanasios
Skouras, Kostas Vassalos
Photography
Athens News Agency, Benaki Museum
Photography Archive (Nelly's, Dimitris Charisiadis,
Elli Papadimitriou), Yiorgos Dracopoulos,
Contantinos Pittas, Vassilis Stenos

Food Styling
Dawn Brown, Tina Webb
Printing
Korifi Publications SA
ISSN
1790-5990
Cover
Vassilis Stenos
Publisher
Hellenic Foreign Trade Board
Legal representative
Panagiotis Drossos, CEO
Marinou Antipa 86-88
Ilioupoli, 163 46 Athens, Greece
Tel: 00 30 210 998 2100
Fax: 00 30 210 996 9100
http://www.hepo.gr
http://www.kerasma.com

8 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Information and subscription


GreekGourmetraveler, a publication of the Hellenic
Foreign Trade Board, promotes Greek cuisine, wine,
travel, and culture. The magazine is distributed free
of charge to food-, beverage-, wine-, and travelindustry professionals.
If you wish to subscribe, visit our website at
www.hepo.gr or www.kerasma.com
Reproduction of articles and photographs
No articles, recipes, or photographs published in
the GreekGourmetraveler may be reprinted without permission from the publisher. All rights
reserved. GreekGourmetravelerHellenic Foreign
Trade Board.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

From juicy watermelon to Greek salad revisited, our sixth issue of the
GreekGourmetraveler is overflowing with the delicious flavors of a sun-drenched
Greek summer.
In this issue, we visit islands and savor the cuisine and pantry of the Aegean, but
we also take you on a delicious, healthful journey to some of Greece's most extraordinary travel destinations, its world-class spas, in an article written by Time magazine reporter Anthee Carassava. She interviews spa chefs and nutritionists and
illustrates how our ancient Mediterranean cuisine is still relative and apt for the
healthful needs of contemporary spa cooking.
Health and flavor have always gone hand in hand in Greek cuisine. It's no wonder
that a country with over 6,000 edible plants should also have one of the most profound relationships to herbs, as veteran GGT writer Diana Farr Louis reports.
Tradition abounds in every aspect of the Greek kitchen, but so does innovation, and
nowhere is it more evident than in the iconoclastic approach modern chefs have
taken to the most recognized icon of the Greek table: Village Salad. As well-known
Athenian restaurant critic Dimitris Andonopoulos writes, Greek chefs are putting a
new spin on this timeless classic.
In this issue we also pay homage to cuisine in its broader social and cultural terms,
with a visit upon one of Greece's most renowned literary figures, Nikos
Kazantzakis, whose works provide a mirror to the food lore of his native Crete.
No Greek summer table would be complete without a bite into a wedge of cool,
ripe, succulent summer fruit, from ruby-red cherries to mouthwatering watermelons. Greece produces some of the most desirable fruits in Europe, as seasoned GGT
contributor Diane Shugart relays.
Arguably, though, no other product of our considerable gastronomic heritage has
surpassed ethnic boundaries as successfully as our wines have, able to pair up to a
whole new world of international foods. Oenologist Sofia Perpera pours forth a
fascinating vintage of Greek wine knowledge, offering valuable advice for how to
marry the distinct wines of Greece with the global gourmet table.
This is a strong issue, perhaps our strongest to date, filled with sunny pictures,
great, informative articles, inspired recipes and more. Enjoy it all summer long, no
matter where you are!

Kali Orexi!
Diane Kochilas
Editor-in-Chief

9 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

If you don't have mint, you have nothing, says Litsa


Anagnostaki, a taverna owner in Chania, Crete, as she adds a
finely chopped bunch of fresh leaves to her filling for the
island's signature cheese pies. Tea made from rigani (oregano)
is good for coughs, advises a bright-eyed great-grandmother
in Rethymno but, she cautions, don't sprinkle too much on
your food because it can make you swell up.

Foraging
For Flavor
Herbs in Greek Cooking
and Health
By Diana Farr Louis
Photography: Vassilis Stenos
Food Styling: Dawn Brown

11 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Both women represent twin

mountains, ganos = jewel).

The laurel or bay tree came into

threads in Greek botanical lore:

Marjoram, its milder cousin, was

being when Apollo pursued the

herbs as essential seasonings for

also woven into wedding crowns

lovely but chaste nymph, Daphne.

food and as natural aids to health.

and funeral wreaths to bring peace

Rather than submit to him, she

From earliest times, Greeks had an

and contentment in this life and

turnedwith some help from her

intimate relationship with their

the next.

mother, Gaeainto a tree with

plants, gathering them from fields

Other herbs originated in myth,

strongly aromatic leaves. Although

and mountains, devising uses for

usually as nymphs attempting to

thwarted, Apollo made the tree

them over millennia of trial and

escape a god's attention or a god-

(daphne in Greek) his symbol. He

error. Herbs even played a part in

dess's wrath. Mint (Menthe), for

wore a pliant branch as a crown to

rituals.

example, was a comely favorite of

herald his victory over the giant

Some, like thyme and rosemary,

Pluto. His ardor inflamed

serpent Python on Mt. Parnassos.

were burnt as incense--the former

Persephone's jealousy. Long since

Later, the winners at the Pythian

to instill courage in warriors before

accustomed to spending half the

Games at Delphi were also

battle, the latter to banish evil spir-

year in Hades, the queen of the

crowned with laurel wreaths, while

its. Sweet yet pungent oregano

underworld started to kick and

the priestess there apparently

branches found their way into both

trample the unfortunate lass, but

chewed bay leaves before mutter-

wedding garlands and wreaths on

Pluto intervened. He transformed

ing her ambiguous prophecies. Its

tombs. Thought to have been cre-

her into a fragrant, resiliant shrub

connotations of merit and distinc-

ated by Aphrodite as a symbol of

that would remind him of her pres-

tion have come down to us in

happiness, the very word means

ence every time he touched her

terms like Nobel Laureate or to

jewel of the mountains (ori =

leaves.

rest on one's laurels.

12 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

But an infusion of bay leaves can

ignore it except as a general guide.

his predecessors' knowledge when

also soothe stomach cramps, and

In fact, it is difficult to draw the line

prescribing cures. His Roman suc-

their volatile oils act as a tonic for

between herbs and edible plants in

cessor, Pliny the Elder, managed to

the stomach. At the same time,

Greece, where so many species

analyze eight percent of the 6,000

they are an indispensable flavoring

exist and find their way into the

species. His achievement is truly

for bean and lentil soups, stews of

kitchen or medicine cabinet.

exceptional if you consider that

all kinds, marinades, baked fish,

Any botanist will tell you that

barely five percent of the world's

roast chicken, and even dried figs.

because of its position between

600,000 species have been stud-

Europe, Africa, and Asia, Greece

ied even today. Sadly, after Galen of

HERBS THAT HEAL

accounts for a prodigious wealth of

Asia Minor, who was physician to

Nearly every herb used in Greek

plants. At least 6,000 species have

Marcus Aurelius in the second cen-

cooking possesses healing proper-

been identified, 750 of which are

tury AD, all scientific inquiry into

ties. Food historian Alan Davidson

endemic. Contrast this with

the nature and qualities of plants

defines an herb as a plant with a

Britain, which has a mere 2,300

came to a halt and was not taken

stem which is not woody and

species. Hippocrates, the father of

up again for another 1,400 years.

whose green parts, usually leaves,

medicine, discovered therapeutic

This does not mean that ordinary

sometimes stalks, are used to

uses for 237 plants in the fifth cen-

people stopped using herbal reme-

flavour food, as well as a plant of

tury B.C. Two hundred or so years

dies. On the contrary, they contin-

medical importance. This definition

later Theophrastus demystified the

ued to draw on long-established

would exclude bay and rosemary

so-called magical attributes of

practices, advising camomile for

and even some varieties of thyme,

healing plants, and in the first cen-

eye problems, spearmint for colic

sage and oregano, so we might

tury A.D. Dioscorides expanded on

and vomiting, basil for migraines

13 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

and constipation, parsley for kid-

ets (kombi) and Yiannina, the town

only herbs, greens, and olive oil.

ney disorders and hypertension,

nearest the gorge, used to gather

They don't need me.

and sage for almost everything else

herbs from the mountains and

They were just doing what came

that ailed them, from lack of ener-

then travel around the Ottoman

naturally. Linear B tablets

gy to colds, sore throats, and

Empire selling them and dispens-

unearthed at Mycenae document

memory loss.

ing their cures. Interestingly, when

trade in such herbs as coriander,

In addition to basic remedies that

spelled with one 'n,' the word also

cumin, mint, and fennel. Although

were common knowledge, every

means quack.

they were probably used in essen-

village had its mendicant, a wise

But there was no doubt as to the

tial oils and perfumes rather than

man or woman with special

benefit of Greek herbs and a diet

condiments, there is strong evi-

expertise in plant cures. To this

based on them--although it would

dence from molecular analysis of

day, people go to the herb vendors

take Westerners until a few

clay cooking pots that herbs found

in urban markets and rely on their

decades ago to realize this. As

their way into ancient stews. We

advice for healing various ailments.

Paula Wolfert reports in her book

also have the recipes of Athenaeus

Over time, some areas became

Mediterranean Greens and Grains at

and later Greeks and Romans (who

famous for their folk healers. One

the turn of the last century, an

always had Greek cooks) that call

of these was the Vikos Gorge dis-

Ottoman physician dispatched to

for seasonings such as fennel,

trict in Epirus. Specialists known as

Crete complained to his superiors

aniseed, basil, oregano, rue, savory

komboyiannites, a composite word

in Constantinople: Everyone here

(throumbi), sage, and thyme, to

perhaps deriving from herbal pack-

is his own doctor. The people eat

mention just a few. The Romans

Herbs capture the


very essence of
Greece: light,
warmth and rocky
soil

14 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

prized dill so highly that the state

herbs are enjoying a comeback.

The name derives from the

took advantage of its desirability

Take chervil, for instance. Two vari-

Marathon battlefield, where it sup-

and levied a tax on the herb. And

eties, called kafkalithres and myroni,

posedly grew in abundance. Its

everyone with a smidgen of knowl-

have recently joined the vast dis-

more delicate relative, dill, appears

edge of ancient culinary habits

plays of greenery at Athens street

all over the country in lettuce sal-

knows the fate of silphium--a plant

markets as ingredients for salads,

ads, spinach and artichoke

so popular it was gobbled to

soups, and stews. A decade ago

casseroles, pickles and stuffings for

extinction.

you would have found them only in

vegetables and vine leaves.

certain dishes in the southern

While you could gather almost any

ANCIENT HERBS, MODERN PLATES

Peloponnese.

herb except parsley and basil just by

Many of these herbs are as intrinsic

Wild fennel (maratho) is also gain-

wandering on a Greek hillside, most

to Greek cooking now as they were

ing favor. With a much more pro-

Greeks today are too busy and too

in antiquity; just a few are no

nounced touch of anise than the

urbanized to forage themselves.

longer in fashion. Aniseed and

fennel bulb and its feathery leaves,

Luckily, they don't have to. At their

coriander (whose odor the

it traditionally turns up in the

weekly open-air markets, they can

ancients compared to that of bed-

cooking of the Aegean islands and

choose from an array of potted

bugs) rarely appear in dishes, sage

Crete, and combines beautifully

plants for their balconies, fragrant

and rue practically never, although

with octopus and cuttlefish stews,

bunches picked that morning, and

rue in the garden is thought to

artichokes, greens pies, and on its

sachets or bundles of dried herbs.

deter malicious gossip. Other

own in fritters (marathokeftethes).

The variety is overwhelming. But

15 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Greek shoppers are notorious in

tomers standing at the counter,

try show that herbs are fast becom-

demanding only the freshest ingre-

contradicting the notion that

ing trendy souvenirs. And why not?

dients and sometimes mix up to

Greek cooks hesitate before experi-

Tastes and memories are insepara-

thirty different kinds of greens and

menting with new tastes. Says one

ble and herbs capture the very

herbs in their legendary hortopittes

shopkeeper, You can't predict

essence of Greece: light, warmth

(greens pies).

what people will buy. One day

and rocky soil. Oregano might well

A visit to the herb and spice empo-

everyone will want mountain tea,

grow in a northern climate but it

riums on Evripidou street around

the next it might be branches of

will never develop the oils that we

the Athens Central Market high-

wild rigani.

associate with that extra some-

lights the importance of herbs to

In fact, there are signs that imagi-

thing in our village salad.

city dwellers. One corner shop, no

native entrepreneurs are beginning

As Andrew Dalby concludes in Siren

bigger than a closet, boasts 300

to look beyond the local market for

Feasts, a history of food and gas-

varieties for sale, neatly stacked in

customers. From the covered mar-

tronomy in Greece, the reliance on

cellophane envelopes like office

ket in Chania to tourist shops in

certain herbs since time immemo-

files. A larger neighbor, with sack-

Plaka and dozens of resorts, promi-

rial means that Europe's oldest

fuls of familiar and arcane season-

nent displays of attractively pack-

cuisine has never lost its original

ings, never has fewer than 10 cus-

aged herbs from all over the coun-

and unique flavor.

Herbal infusions are


a longstanding tradition as Greeks have
always thought of
herbs for their therapeutic as well as aromatic qualities.
16 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

17 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Every time I ask my Greek student chefs to name a national


Greek dish, they undoubtedly mention fasolada, bean soup. This
hearty bean soup, made with plenty of onions, tomatoes, olive
oil, and aromatic vegetables like celery and carrots or herbs such
as parsley, is both frugal and nutritious. It is also a mirror of
regional culinary distinctions, spiked with hot peppers in
Macedonia, where spicy food is embraced, or perfumed with
orange zest in Crete.

Bean
Cuisine
By Georgia Kofinas
Photography: Vassilis Stenos
Food Styling: Dawn Brown

19 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Beans and legumes have always

one cup, even more than some

nellini beans. Today those distinc-

been essential to the Greek table, a

cheeses.

tions are essentially academic,

staple during fasting, a life-saving

Legumes have been part of the

since New World legumes have

food during wars and famine.

human diet since the days of our

been cultivated in the

Today, beans and legumes are sta-

hunter-gatherer ancestors 12,000

Mediterranean for centuries.

tus symbols for healthy eating.

years ago. The ancient Greeks

Legumes, which include beans, are

called legumes phaselos (hence the

GREEK BEAN CUISINE

second only to the cereal grasses in

Greek word for bean, phasoli),

While there are regions of Greece

their importance in the human

which became the Latin Phaseolus,

renowned for the cultivation of

diet. They contain high percent-

a name adopted to describe the

specific legumes , other parts of

ages of protein, iron, and fiber; lit-

New World bean family. Legumes

the country are known for specific

tle to no fat; no cholesterol; and

can be divided into Old World

bean recipes.

significant amounts of other min-

legumes such as lentils, chickpeas,

Santorini is known for its many

erals, such as potassium, zinc, and

peas, soybeans, fava beans,

recipes for the humble yellow split

magnesium. They're also a rich

lupines, and black-eyed peas, and

pea and Rhodes and Sifnos are

source of calcium, especially black-

New World legumes, which

renowned for their chick pea dish-

eyed peas and chickpeas, which

include limas, kidney beans, black

es. In Sifnos, the local specialty is a

contain over 200 mg. of calcium in

turtle beans, cranberry, and can-

slow-cooked, clay-baked chick pea

20 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

soup that simmers all night in

In Crete, an island with countless

breads. They are also served forth

wood-burning ovens; in Rhodes

bean dishes, chick peas are crushed

with fish, especially salt cod.

chick-pea fritters spiced with

and fermented and used as starter

But by far, no legume captures the

cumin are a local treat.

in one of Greece's most unusual

local imagination among Cretan


cooks as much as the ancient

GREEK PGI BEANS

excellent quality, thanks

are five other PGI desig-

broad bean, which islanders savor

Some of Greece's best

to the region's moderate

nations for Greek beans:

both fresh and dried. The former is

beans are found in the

temperatures and rainfall,

Fasolia Gigantes-

floured and pan-fried when young,

northern central regions

calcium-rich soil, and

Elefantes, Kastorias;

served raw in salads together with

of the Prespes Lakes,

good drainage of the ter-

Fasolia Gigantes-

wild artichokes, braised with arti-

Nevrokopi, Florina, and

rain.

Elefantes, Kato

chokes and peas and other spring

Kastoria. The famed Greek

In 1996, the European

Nevrokopi; Fasolia

vegetables into lemony one-pot

gigantes and elephantes,

Union acknowledged the

Gigantes-Prespon

masterpieces, and turned, like the

which are varieties of the

giant and elephant

Florinas; Fasolia Koina

giant white kidney bean,

beans of the Prespes

Mesosperma, Kato

have been cultivated up

Lakes as products of

Nevrokopi; and Fasoli

here since the 1980s and

Protected Geographic

Plake Megalosperma

are renowned for their

Indication (PGI). There

Prespon Florinas.

Santorini split pea, into a luscious


puree that is the perfect match for
preserved fish, raw onions, herbs,
and more. Dried broad beans also
find their place in the local kitchen,

Beans and legumes


have always been
essential to the
Greek table.

21 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

soaked in salt water and roasted

thick tomato sauce.

sine is enjoyed far and wide all over

into an irresistible snack that

Legumes and beans are a natural

the country. Legumes are paired

tastes almost like popcorn, or

match with the countless greens

with rice in nutritionally balanced,

stewed fragrantly with onions, bay

and herbs that grow throughout

simple dishes; fakorizo, or lentil-

leaf, tomatoes, and cinnamon.

Greece, and many a casserole mar-

rice pilaf, and chick peas with rice

One of the oldest legumes are

rying both can be found all over the

are two classics. Pasta and beans

black eyed peas, and in the

country. Cranberry beans cooked

are among some of the oldest

Peloponnese cooks have a special

with celery and pasta make for an

Greek dishes, especially in places

affinity for them. Simply boiled,

old Corfu dish of Jewish origin;

like Rhodes, where chick peas and

they make an appetizing summer

chick peas and spinach are a classic

noodles are a match, and in Corfu,

salad combined with chopped

of the cuisine of Epirus, as are bean

where cranberry beans, celery and

fresh onions, parsley or dill, and

soups with country style sausages

pasta combine to make one of the

capers. Southern Peloponnese

or with cabbage, and even stewed

heartiest Greek stews. Soups are

recipes for black-eyed peas com-

lamb or pork with beans.

made with all manner of legumes,

bine them in a stew with chervil,

So many bean and legume recipes

but the lentil and the cannellini

celery or wild greens, or baked in a

are region-specific, but bean cui-

reign supreme.

Dishes that marry beans and greens


are found all over Greece.

22 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

23 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

OTHER REGIONAL BEANS

quality old-world varieties.

almost chalky, as if to evince

fare all over Greece, typically

Greece's northern clime,

Santorini, for example, with

the island's volcanic soil, is one

served with raw onions and

with its ample rainfall and

its dry climate, and calcium-

of the most haute of Greece's

olive oil, it has been the staple

rich soil is conducive to bean

rich, porous soil, is particularly

regional legumes. This top-

food on the island for eons. It

production, but other

conducive to the production

quality yellow split pea melts

is also the stuff of contempo-

regions in the country, espe-

of yellow split peas, called fava

when boiled into a delicious,

rary Santorini cuisine. Chefs

cially some of the islands,

in Greek. Arguably, Santorini's

velvety puree. Although yel-

turn the humble yellow split

are known for their excellent

fava, tiny, pale yellow, and

low split pea puree is common

pea into fritters, sauces, pie

A GIANT IN EVERY WAY

the Greek giant bean, gigantes.

tile. Fine Greek restaurants might

But by far, the one Greek legume

Boiled then baked in a rich tomato

serve them as an accompaniment

that stands above all others, as

sauce until the skin becomes

to charred octopus, with nothing

standard fare on taverna menus, as

crispy while the bean retains its

more than a simple dressing of

an ambassador of the elegant sim-

buttery softness, gigantes are one

olive oil, vinegar, salt, and

plicity of the best Greek cooking,

of the all-time favorite Greek dish-

oregano.

and as fodder for modern chefs, is

es. They are also extremely versa-

In my cooking classes we've

There are six Greek bean varieties


acknowledged by The European Union as
products of Protected Geographic Indication.

24 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

crusts, and luscious purees,

brown lentil cultivated in the

press them against the sides

typically call fava beans. Crete,

served forth in martini glasses

high altitude village of

of the pot until they are

especially the island's moder-

and terrines, and garnished

Englovis on the Ionian island

mashed, adding just enough

ately wet Lasithi plateau, is

with everything from seafood

of Lefkada, where the mild

water to make a thick

known for its broad beans,

to capers to kiwis.

temperatures allow for its

creamy soup.

but so are Alexandroupoli and

An even rarer and much less

early harvest. Local cooks

A very popular Old World bean

Halkidiki in northeastern

commercial regional legume

simply boil lentils with garlic,

is the kouki, or large, green

Greece, Ioannina in the north-

is the tiny, delicate, pale

oregano, and olive oil and

broad bean, which Americans

west, and Corfu.

boiled, skewered, and rolled them

Certain preparations, such as

ture when cooked on their own

in bread crumbs before frying

soups and some of the heartier

with olive oil. Contemporary chefs

them in olive oil as a tasty meze,

stews, are seasonal, winter dishes,

are rediscovering legumes as a way

and I have encouraged my stu-

but by and large most Greek bean

to offer healthy menu items but

dents to add them to the classic

dishes know no season and are

also as a way to play with the tex-

Greek salad of tomatoes, cucum-

delicious year-round. They may

tures, colors, and flavors of these

bers, onions, and feta.

also be served at room tempera-

versatile ingredients.

25 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Does the thought of Spa Cuisine conjure up visions of a lone


lettuce leaf and insipid proteins? Does a detox menu beckon
a denial of pleasurable foods or an acceptance of unpalatable
ones? If so, then think again. There's no reason, say skilled
culinary experts and nutritionists across Greece, why the
notion of health and fitness can't blend smoothly with a savory,
satisfying meal, one in which the basics of the GreekMediterranean diet marry perfectly.

Spa Cuisine
la Grecque
Greece's culinary traditions marry
perfectly with healthful spa fare
By Anthee Carassava

27 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Spa cuisine, says Roula Tsakalou,

wholesome, healthy meal that

deprive our meals of taste and

head nutritionist at the Hotel

complements the relaxing experi-

enjoyment, says Tsakalou.

Grande Bretagne's GB Spa, is not

ence offered at the spa.

Low calorie food dominated the

about dieting, fads, or weight-

Take the GB's savory tuna carpac-

1980s, switching, a decade later, to

reduction programs that strain the

cio, as an example. Drizzled with

low-fat products. Then, came the

emotional and physical balance of

sesame ginger dressing and often

carb-craze era. Today, a wiser nutri-

the body. The emphasis, she says,

followed with green asparagus

tional approach to eating is taking

is a mindful approach toward food

splashed with fresh Greek yogurt

root, one in which vegetablesone

that encourages healthy dietary

dressing and toasted pine kernels,

of the mainstays of the Greek diet

habits. That means high-quality

the dish is just one of the scrump-

play center plate. Good taste, of

whole foods, minimally processed

tious healthy choices offered at the

course, is crucial, and in the Greek

and simply prepared to maximize

hotel's sprawling Atrium.

kitchen flavors are always robust.

natural beauty, flavor, and health

Other popular menu items include

In recent years, food researchers in

benefits.

a (very Greek) fricassee of sea-

the United States have started

For us, says Tsakalou, who spent

soned, pan-seared chicken breast

working on spa-inspired entrees

months developing a spa cuisine

with artichoke hearts. Sprinkled

with lighter flavors, different ingre-

menu with Grande Bretagne's head

with chopped thyme, the dish

dients, and larger vegetable por-

chef, spa cuisine has less to do

rivals any gourmet meal offered at

tions. Such was the interest, that

with calories or grams of carbohy-

the five-star Grande Bretagne. We

spa cuisine and its panoply of easy-

drates and fats, and more with a

went to great lengths not to

to-prepare dishes took home-cook-

28 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

ing and connoisurs by storm. "Spa

a Greek-American nutritionist, tel-

Still, the Grande Bretagne has been

food is very health-conscious," says

evision host, and national

one of the initiators of spa cuisine,

Jeff Crosland, executive chef at Red

spokesperson for the American

nudging the lifestyle-cum-culinary

Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah.

Dietetic Association. Greek cuisine

trend to a new level since inaugu-

"Its aim is to maintain the highest

is all about freshnessplenty of

rating its palatial, five-star spa in

integrity of the food, both nutri-

fruits and vegetables, beans, lots of

the heart of the Greek capital in

ent- and taste-wise."

fish, and, of course, the olive oil.

2003. Since then, other hotels and

With Greek food maintaining many

Despite Spa Cuisine's new-found

spas have followed suit.

salient features such as the use of

craze and Greek influence in the

The key to spa cuisine is fresh,

olives, olive oil, cheeses made with

West, spa cuisine in Greece is just

organically grown produce. Savory

goats' or sheeps' milk, and other

beginning to gain momentum.

rubs, brines, and marinades are

natural products, chefs and nutri-

Most deluxe hotels in Athens offer

used more commonly, adding zest

tionists concede the national cui-

menus with light, healthy meals--

without fat. Fish, also, are

sine is naturally apt for spa cuisine.

mainly leafy salads, fresh juices

smoked, cured, and poached and

Greek cuisine, they say, displays an

(made with the country's excellent

complemented with fresh sauces

overwhelming capacity to absorb

selection of seasonal fruits), and

and garnishes of garlic, lemon, and

and reprocess influences from

herbal teas, another tradition in

parsley.

practically any direction.

Greece, where herbs have long

At Life Gallery, a modern hotel nes-

Greece could be the host of spa

been consumed for their therapeu-

tled in the northern outskirts of

cuisine, says Keith-Thomas Ayoob,

tic values.

Athens, hotel chef Dimitris

Greek cuisine, with


its emphasis on freshness, is naturally apt
for spa cookery.

29 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Lemonis says he gives serious con-

cuisine offers the best basis for spa

make great use of those natural

sideration to the food's origin, sea-

cuisine.

products and produce our own

sonality, and nutritional value as

Indeed. With its high intake of

seasonal vegetables and oil in a

well as the complete culinary expe-

cereals, grains, vegetables, dried

local garden. Local producers are

rience. Lemonis' innovative and

beans, olive oil, fresh herbs, and

also carefully screened for their

appetizing menus highlight his

seafood, the Mediterranean diet

products.

culinary expertise in gourmet

believed to help reduce the risk of

Any use of ready-made, canned or

restaurants.

heart disease and increase life

processed foods is forbidden, he

Among the tasty monthly selec-

expectancyoffers an easy basis

says.

tions offered: tender spinach leaves

for the switch to spa cuisine.

Among the dishes carefully pre-

with a variation of Greek nuts,

In Aedipsos, Evia, north of Athens,

pared at Sylla's resort spa: wild rice

olive oil and lemon vinaigrette,

the Thermae Sylla Spa Wellness

with baby shrimp, grilled fillet of

roasted salmon, and a captivating

Hotel makes use of the fertile earth

pork with homemade applesauce,

carrot granita.

that provides the raw ingredients

and Cretan barley rusk with fresh

The objective is to avoid highly

for a tantalizing variety of delicious

tomato, aromatic herbs, olive oil

processed foods and artificial addi-

and healthy dishes.

and Cretan soft sheep's milk

tives, and to reduce the intake [of

Greece, says chef Thomas

cheese.

foods ] that are high in saturated

Constantine of Thermae Sylla, is

Feta fits in too. But instead of

fat or cholestorol, says Lemonis.

rich in food resources due to its cli-

using a huge slab on top of the

With this is mind, he quips, Greek

mate and geographic location. We

salad, suggests Ayoob, take about

30 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

31 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

a quarter of the portion and crum-

health, beauty, stress reduction,

not just to the resort's spa-goers.

ble it over the salad. Dessert is also

and rejuvenation using pure and

Starters include a string of light

part of spa cuisine. A pear poached

natural products.

entrees ranging from lobster

in some Mavrodaphne wine or a

Most importantly, Elounda chefs

carpaccio and lemon-olive oil vinai-

fruit salad with a little sweet

and managers say the menu's

grette to octopus salad with local

Samos Muscat wine are both great

emphasis is on the region's most

Cretan pligouri (cracked wheat).

ends to a healthful meal. An other

prided products: fish and seafood.

The sea bass tartar with light

option, says Ayoob, is some of the

For us, says Jean Metayer, the

lemon mousse tops the menu's

low-fat strained Greek yogurt and

French-born chief chef of the

main course meal, together with

spoon sweets. The idea here is that

resort, the emphasis was working

crayfish and aubergine caviar, and

they are 'spoon' sweets not 'scoop'

with Greek products not Greek cui-

sole filets with Greek yogurt-herb

sweets. That means that you have

sine per se to produce the basis of

pesto. The menu is a star attrac-

a small spoon of your favorite one

a healthy spa cuisine menu.

tion for most visitors who take to

and not the whole jar with your

Calorie counts and diet thinking

Elounda for a deluxe vacation.

yogurt.

were taken least into considera-

Greeks have always known that

On the island of Crete, the Six

tion says Metayer who crafted the

their native cuisine and sun-and-

Senses Spa offers another succu-

menu three years ago with Jacque

sea-drenched raw ingredients pro-

lent experience. Situated within

Le Divellec, star chef and owner of

vide the basis for one of the world's

the Elounda De Luxe Resort, the

Frances' Michelin 2-star Le Sea

healthiest diets; it makes perfect

breathtaking spa provides an unri-

Grill.

sense that these timeless tradi-

valled range of signature treat-

The result? A lavish Spa Cuisine

tions marry perfectly with con-

ments and treats that focus on

menu available to every customer,

temporary spa trends.

Anthee Carassava is the Athens correspondent for Time magazine.

32 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Marinated Sea Bream


Kerasma recipes Spa Cuisine
Grande Bretagne, Executive Chef Martin Kirchgasser

For 4 servings

1 3/4 pounds (400 gr) seabream


100 ml lemon juice
1 scant tsp. salt
1 scant tsp. sugar
3 tsp. chopped spring onions
1 small red chili pepper
100 ml olive oil
1. Cut the sea bream into very thin
slices and marinate with the salt,
sugar, lemon juice, chili and spring
onions for about 10 minutes.
2. Place the sea bream on a plate,
sprinkle with fresh spring onions and

Vassilis Stenos

olive oil. Serve.

34 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Grilled Swordfish with Fennel and Eggplants


Kerasma recipes Spa Cuisine
Grande Bretagne, Executive Chef Martin Kirchgasser

For 4 servings

2 pounds (800 gr) Swordfish fresh


1 3/4 pounds (200 gr.) eggplant, sliced
1 3/4 pounds (200 gr.) zucchini sliced
1 3/4 pounds (200 gr.) fennel sliced
100 ml olive oil
60 ml lemon juice
1 pound (400 gr.) potatoes sliced, cooked
1. Grill the swordfish until medium
done. Grill the sliced eggplants, zucchini, fennel and potatoes and place
them on a warm plate.
2. Mix the lemon juice and the olive oil
with some salt and pepper and sprin-

Vassilis Stenos

kle over the swordfish. Serve.

35 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Tomato Salad
Kerasma recipes Spa Cuisine
Life Gallery Spa, Chef Dimitris Lemonis

For 1 serving

3 oz. (100 gr.) tomato


2 oz. (60 gr.) cucumber
1 oz. (40 gr.) arugula leaves
2 Tbsp. chopped water cress
2 Tbsp. curly endive, chopped
1 scant Tbsp. chopped scallion
30 gr. light Greek Anthotyro or cottage cheese
1 Tbs. extra virgin Greek olive oil
1 scant Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Dice the tomato and cucumber and
finely chop all the greens and scallion.
2. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon
juice, salt, and pepper. Serve the salad
in a bowl, drizzle with the dressing

Vassilis Stenos

and garnish with the cheese. Serve.

36 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Baked Gilthead Bream with Steamed Vegetables


Kerasma recipes Spa Cuisine
Life Gallery Spa, Chef Dimitris Lemonis

For 1 serving

1 whole gilthead bream (about 1 pound/400 gr.)


1 oz. (30 gr.) cauliflower
1 oz. (30 gr.) broccoli
1 oz. (30 gr.) carrots
1 oz. (30 gr.) asparagus tips
1 oz. (30 gr.) thin green beans
30 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
Fleur de sel
Pepper to taste

1. Wash, scale, and gut the fish very


well. Cut into two fillets and pat dry.
2. Marinated the fish fillets in olive oil,
lemon juice, fleur de sel, and pepper.
3. Steam the vegetables for 5-8 minutes. In the meanwhile, grill the fish
on high heat for 5-6 minutes. Season
the vegetables with salt and serve all

Vassilis Stenos

together.

37 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Vassilis Stenos

Of all the contemporary depictions of Greece, perhaps none


has left as lasting an impression as Zorba the Greek, brainchild
of Cretan writer and Nobel candidate Nikos Kazantzakis.
Although Zorba was not a Cretan, Kazantzakis graced his protagonist with one of the most emblematic Cretan characteristics: leventia, a word that combines gallantry, honor, defiance of
unjust authority, bounteousness, largesse, open-heartedness,
and panache all in one.

At the Table with

Kazantzakis
By the Cretan Scribe
Photography: Athens News Agency
Benaki Museum Photography Archive
Vassilis Stenos

38 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Kazantzakis includes references to

olutionary commander in Ottoman-

emblematic literary figure of Crete

food that provide glimpses of the

occupied Crete, Kazantzakis writes

par excellence, was born in

islanders relationship to the table,

about centenarian grandfathers

Herakleion and made the island

level more profound than that of

who express the fullness of their life

the backdrop for many of his

mere nutrition. These depictions,

by enumerating their offspring, then

books. Through his works, we

though written five decades ago,

tallying the enemies they had killed

glimpse the rich heritage of Crete,

are still fitting and telling of the

in honest battle and the war

its history, its daily life, its leventia.

island's rich food culture, which

wounds they had received in the

We also garner much about the

epitomizes the generosity of the

process. Inevitably, they describe

ancient yet constant food ways of

Cretan, and Greek, spirit.

their cellars overflowing with

the island.

Hospitality might find itself connect-

wheat, barley, olive oil, wine,

In two of his works, namely Report

ed with quantity and largesse. In

honey, raisins, and dried figs, then

to Greco and Freedom or Death,

Freedom or Death, a novel about a rev-

declare that they are ready to

Dimitris Charisiadis Benaki Museum Archive

Kazantzakis (1883-1957), the

40 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

and became fat, and delighted them-

and especially cereals (the staff of

vided their descendants with free-

selves in thy great goodness.

life), are called gennimata in Greek,

dom (through battles) and with

(Nehemiah 9:25)

which means that which the earth

material goods (the filled cellars).

The bounty of the land continues

has given birth to.

Such a reckoning is as old as man,

to this day in Crete, a place blessed

Food, however, does not limit itself

evident in the Homeric eidata polla

with a varied geography and cli-

to the notion of plentifulness, for the

(a multitude of foodstuffs), and

mate, with people who still live

simple reason that agricultural

the Bible:

close to the land, and with cooks

bounty has been a phenomenon

And they took strong cities, and a fat

inventive enough to turn simple

that is no more than four decades

land, and possessed houses full of all

vegetables into delicious, nutri-

old. Food is also intimately tied to

goods, wells digged, vineyards, and

tious farethe quintessence of the

the deepest of all Cretan sentiments:

oliveyards, and fruit trees in abun-

Mediterranean diet. It is not acci-

hospitality, camaraderie, and pride.

dance: so they did eat, and were filled,

dental that agricultural produce,

In Freedom or Death, Kazantzakis

Nellys Benaki Museum Archive

Elli Papadimitriou Benaki Museum Archive

Nellys Benaki Museum Archive

Through
Kazantzakis work,
we glimpse the rich
heritage of Crete.

Nellys Benaki Museum Archive

depart this life, as they have pro-

41 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

iar village. He knocked on the door

and smooth-faced neighborhood

Cretan hosts will urge a guest to

of the village priest, knowing that

pauper, who describes eloquently

partake of their food in ways and

he could spend the night at his

and poetically to the neighborhood

with language the guest could

house. The priest welcomes him

housewives the [fictitious and non-

consider obtrusive, even brash.

cordially, offers him dinner and a

existent] elaborate meals that he

This constitutes part of an ages-

bed for the night. In the morning,

has prepared and consumed. The

long shrewd and astute game, in

he prepares breakfast for him and

housewives all marvel at his gas-

which the host has to preempt the

then bids him farewell. Minutes

tronomic prowess, and then exhort

guest's initial, polite, refusal of the

later, on the street, Kazantzakis is

and implore him to accept some of

food offered.

informed by a passerby that the

their own homely, simple food; this

In Report to Greco, Kazantzakis

priest's only son had died the day

is nothing but a stratagem to offer

describes a poignant incident that

before and that, even as he was

alms and food to the pauper in a

shows how Cretans interpret their

being served dinner by the priest,

way that would not hurt his pride

duty of hospitality. In one of the

the bereaved female relatives were

or make him appear the beggar.

author's treks throughout Crete,

holding a vigil to lament the son's

Hospitality is overriding in Crete to

nightfall found him at an unfamil-

loss. However, it was unthinkable

42 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Vassilis Stenos

the point that, even nowadays,

Vassilis Stenos

gives us Aliagas, the emaciated

es. He sidles over to his uncle, who

and offer food to a stranger.

The word the writer uses here for

was sleeping some distance away,

In the middle of August, walking in

'treat' is filvo, which comes from

and asks him if he knows what

the sultry afternoon heat,

offer a tidbit (what the rest of

these noises are. Go back to sleep,

Kazantzakis meets an old lady on

Greece calls a krasma) to a friend.

city boy, his peasant uncle says, irri-

the street who treats him to two of

Crete has always been an agrarian

tated that his sensitive nephew had

the figs she had just collected.

society and the close ties people

interrupted his sleep. Is it the first

Surprised, Kazantzakis asks the old

have to the land, its cycle of

time you hear that? It's just the

woman:

growth and all it gives them are

watermelons as they are stretch-

Lady, do you know me?

evinced in Kazantzakis' works.

ing, expanding, and growing.

She looks at him as if she were

In another August incident from

In yet another stroll through Cretan

startled by the question, and

Report to Greco, Kazantzakis

villages, Kazantzakis sees a bird of a

answers back:

describes his childhood memory of

steel-blue hue flying overhead and

No, child. Do I have to know you

sleeping outdoors in a watermelon

whistling. Fascinated by it, he asks

to offer you a treat? Aren't you a

patch and being alarmed by unfa-

a villager for its name. The villager,

human being? I am a human being

miliar creaking and squeaking nois-

ever-practical, shrugged his shoul-

Nellys Benaki Museum Archive

too. Isn't that reason enough?

Nellys Benaki Museum Archive

to the priest not to open the door

43 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

upon visiting any Cretan at home.

fretting about? That bird's not an

of many successive stifdos.

Even small things will be offered

edible one!

It is not accidental that Crete is

with a richness of gesture. But the

In yet another passage from Report

called Megalonisos, the big island,

guest has a reciprocal responsibili-

to Greco Kazantzakis mentions a

for its largesse extends not only to

ty, too. Once you have satisfied

laurel wreath awarded to him for a

physical size (it is the fifth largest

your hunger and thirst, don't be

university saber-fencing victory. At

island in the Mediterranean) but

surprised if you hear your host

that time, he was planning to trav-

to its spirit and its people, who

utter a variation of this Homeric

el around Europe with a friend,

regale you with storiesand

turn of phrase:

who suggested they should take

mealslarger than life. Even the

We opened our door for you, we offered

the laurel wreath up north with

smallest of gestures evince that

you water to clean up, and have put

them, as the leaves would be indis-

spirit, from the impromptu offer-

plenty of food and drink before you.

pensable for stifdo, a slow-

ing of a shot-glass (or two) of tsik-

Now, it's your turn to delight us by

braised, spiced ragout of meat,

oudia, the fiery grape distillate

telling us who you are, who your fami-

tomatoes, and onions. After a two-

each Cretan house is amply

ly is, where you come from, and what

year stint in Germany, all the laurel

stocked with, to the offering of a

you saw and experienced in this jour-

leaves (and tokens of his victory)

glyko tou koutaliou, fruit preserve,

ney that has led you to our table.

44 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Nellys Benaki Museum Archive

were gone, sacrificed on the altar

Dimitris Charisiadis Benaki Museum Archive

ders and responds: What are you

Nothing conjures up the dreamy images of Greece better than


the Aegean, home to countless islands big and small and to
cooking traditions as old as Homer.

Flavors of
the Aegean
Greece's islands are home
to some of the country's
most unique foods
By Diane Kochilas
Photography: Vassilis Stenos
Food Styling: Dawn Brown

47 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Islanders have their unique exis-

arate universe. Their landscapes

scape that characterizes most

tence, defined by the deepest bond

are different from one another,

Aegean islands, where raw ingredi-

to place and familial roots, in com-

their histories individualsome

ents were traditionally limited to a

mon with one another, regardless of

grand and indelibly linked to the

few garden vegetables, pulses, wild

whether they come from places as

history of modern Europe; others

greens, fish, some meat, typically

off-the-beaten track as Ikaria or as

humbler and untrammeled still.

goat or lamb. But this simple litany

cosmopolitan as Rhodes or

Even within specifically grouped

of raw ingredients evolved over

Santorini. Even the most touristed

islands like the Cyclades and the

time into countless delicious dish-

islands, overrun by throngs of visi-

Dodecanese, each place is distinct,

es, paeans to the ingenuity of sim-

tors between April and October,

often with its own dialect, its own

ple cooks who hold one thing dear:

revert to their ancient selves once

customs, and, without a doubt, its

a respect for fine, seasonal foods.

the crowds go home. Agrarian

own cuisine and place-specific

The cooking of the Greek islands is

rhythms mark the days and seasons.

ingredients and dishes.

elemental Greek cooking. In some

Beyond the strong sense of place

Yet, Aegean cooking may also be

places, fish plays a more important

islands impart to their native sons

seen as a whole, hewn of the pecu-

role than in others; in some

and daughters, the Aegean islands

liarities of island life, the isolation,

islands, such as Sifnos, the staple

are truly each and every one a sep-

the uncompromising arid land-

food might be the humble chick

Syros famed sweet, loukoumi.

48 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

pea, whereas in others, like

cured goat-meat pastourma on my

island claiming at least one special-

Santorini, the tiny yellow split pea

native island (it's hardly a commer-

ty and many boasting a handful of

is the food of sustenance. In

cial product and is almost always

unique, fascinating products.

Rhodes, the chick pea is also the

used to flavor bean soup) to more

Regardless of specific products and

stuff of a national dish, in the form

elaborate charcuterie such as the

dishes, the cuisine of the Aegean is

of fritters seasoned with cumin, a

wine-soaked specialties of the

marked by a pared down, no-non-

spice rarely found in other regional

Cyclades and the unusual cured

sense aesthetic, one that surely

Greek dishes and one that perhaps

fish that have been specialties of

derives from the hardships of island

evinces the island's place as a gate-

Santorini, Sifnos, and other places.

life. Cooks here prefer honest,

way East and South. But Aegean

In parts of the Dodecanese, certain

straightforward dishes that allow

cookery is nonetheless defined by

rare shellfish are put up in seawa-

the ingredients to shine. In an effort

its foundations: The three pillars of

ter brines, and to this day accom-

to share knowledge of at least some

the Mediterranean, grapes, grains,

pany fishermen on their journeys

of those raw ingredients, I have

and olives, reign supreme in all the

out to sea.

included a brief pantry of the Aegean

islands in one form or another.

One of the grandest chapters in

as a way for distant mariners to

The pantry reflects agrarian cus-

the culinary annals of the Aegean

enjoy the simple delights of the

toms, from oddities like the salt-

is surely its cheeses, with each

Aegean's mystical islands.

Island cooks prefer


honest, straightforward dishes that
allow the ingredients
to shine.

49 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

The Aegean Pantry

hard, yellow sheep's milk cheese

antiquity. It is highly aromatic and

(Adapted from The Glorious Foods of

that is air-dried then steeped in

therapeutic; in the kitchen,

Greece, William Morrow Publishers,

olive oil to preserve.

Mastiha traditionally is used in

2001)

Mastello. A relatively new cheese,

bread-baking and pastries, but

mastello is produced on Chios and

contemporary chefs marry it with

NORTHEASTERN AEGEAN CHEESES

is mild and sweet. It is an excellent

myriad other ingredients, from

Anthotyro Lesvou. Hard, blue-

cheese for frying.

chocolate to fish.

rind, fez-shaped, aged whey

Melichloro. This is a sea-washed,

Kalloni Sardines. The delicious,

cheeses that are made from

sun-dried goat's milk cheese that is

lightly salted sardines that come

sheep's milk and are a tradition on

made only on Limnos.

from the Bay of Kalloni in Lesvos

Lesvos. Sometimes the cheese,

Touloumotyri. One of the most

are considered one of the best

once air-dried, is further dehydrat-

ancient Greek cheeses, touloumo-

meze in all of Greece.

ed in low-temperature ovens,

tyri is essentially a fermented

which helps it keep for long.

goat's milk cheese, extremely pun-

CYCLADES CHEESES

Kalathaki. The name means bas-

gent, and aged in goat skins.

Arseniko. A hard, yellow table and


grating cheese from Naxos,

ket and it refers to the lovely basket-shaped, goat's milk white brine

OTHER NORTHEASTERN AEGEAN

arseniko is one of the many deli-

cheese, akin to feta, that is native

PANTRY ITEMS

cious, combination aged sheep's -

to Limnos.

Mastiha. The crystal, resinous

and - goat's - milk cheeses in the

Ladotyri. Another cheese from

spice hails exclusively from Chios,

Greek pantheon.

Lesvos, Ladotyri, or oil cheese, is a

where it has been produced since

Chloro. The simple white goat's

Manoura from Sifnos (foreground) is aged in


wine dregs; Kalathaki, right, is a goats milk
Ikaria

cheese from Limnos.

50 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

milk cheese from Santorini, can be

pasta to sauteed vegetables to

cow's milk, PDO cheese from Syros,

eaten either fresh (and soft) or

fruit and honey.

is one of the most esteemed in

aged, as a grating cheese (either

Kopanisti. The name means

Greece.

air-dried or brined) and is especially

whipped or beaten, and the

Spilias Milou. One of the many

delicious over island pasta.

cheese, soft and very peppery, is a

artisanal cheese produced in the

Manoura Sifnou. One of the most

specialty of Mykonos, Tinos,

Greek islands; what distinguishes

unique, pungent, delicious special-

Andros, and other Aegean islands,

this hard, yellow cheese from the

ty cheeses in all of Greece, manouri

where it often ages in clay jugs

island of Milos is its aging process:

from Sifnos is a hard goat's milk

until it acquires its characteristic

The cheese is rubbed with pressed

cheese with a pinkish hue and

pungency.

olive mash and aged in clay jugs for

dark, winy aroma thanks to the

Myzithra. A soft, mild whey

at least six months.

time it spends aging in wine dregs.

cheese found all over the islands,

Xynomyzithra. This is a cheese

Graviera. There are too many

indeed all over Greece.

whose name refers to slightly differ-

types of graviera cheeses to list

Petroti. From the Greek word for

ent cheeses, all soft and peppery,

individually, however the Cyclades

rock (petra), this lovely disk-shaped,

depending on where the cheese is

hold the distinction of being the

cow's milk cheese is pressed

made. In the Cyclades it is produced

only place in Greece where cow's

between rocks and drained. It is

mainly on Naxos and Tinos, but is

milk graviera is produced.

mild and semi-soft.

also produced on Crete.

Generally, graviera is a lovely,

San Mihalis. Although it is a rela-

sweet and nutty table cheese that

tive newcomer to the pantheon of

OTHER CYCLADES PANTRY ITEMS

pairs well with everything from

Greek cheeses, San Mihalis, a hard,

Apokti. A vinegar-brined and cinna-

From left to right: graviera, kopanisti cheese,


and Santorini capers

51 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

mon-and pepper-tinged cured pork

and others generally eat them.

cheese that has enjoyed some

loin that is a specialty of Santorini.

Louza. From the word for loin, as

commercial success in recent years

Capers. In various parts of the

in pork loin, louza is a wine-and-

as large island cheese manufactur-

Cyclades, but mainly in Santorini

spice cured meat made in Syros,

ers have begun to produce it and

and Sifnos, capers are picked wild

Tinos, and Andros.

sell it off the island. Similar wine-

and used in all sorts of dishes. The

Tomatinia Santorinis. These are

soaked cheeses are also produced

berries, buds, and leaves are all put

the nearly waterless (thanks to the

in Nyssiros and Leros.

to good culinary use in salads,

island's dry clime) small, intensely

Sitaka. One of the most unusual

stews, and more.

flavored tomatoes that have been

dairy products in Greece, sitaka is a

Fava. In Greek the term refers to

part of Santorini's culinary lore for

tart, creamy spread, not unlike

the yellow split pea, which is a spe-

almost two centuries. A vibrant

yogurt cheese, made from slightly

cialty of Santorini. Thanks to the

tomato canning industry still exists

fermented sheep's and/or goat's

island's chalky, volcanic soil, the

on the island; the tomatoes are

milk, which has been salted slight-

yellow split peas grown here are

even made into spoon sweets.

ly and reduced over low, traditionally wood-burning, fire. It is a spe-

delicious, with concentrated flavor


and an unrivalled ability to cook

DODECANESE CHEESES

cialty of Kassos and served with a

down into the most velvety of

Krassotyri. This specialty of Kos is

delicious local pasta dish together

mashes, which is how islanders

a log-shaped, ribbed wine-soaked

with caramelized onions.

Note: For information on Cretes Cuisine and pantry, look in the


GreekGourmetraveler, issue 3, summer 2006.

Lountza, a cured pork product

52 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Tandoori and carpaccio are two types of food most people


wouldn't think to marry with Greek wine. But the truth is, from
the spicy Greek wines of the north to the mineral-rich wines of

the Aegean islands, Greek wines are surprisingly compatible


with the global table. Food-friendly and chef-friendly, they
marry impressively well with a vast range of flavors and cuisines.

Greek Wine
on the Global
Table
By Sofia Perpera
Photography: Constantinos Pittas, Vassilis Stenos
Food Styling: Dawn Brown, Tina Webb

55 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

I can say this now, after a decade

unknown and poorly distributed.

industry had done little to promote

or so of promoting Greek wine in

The wines didn't even exist as a

or distribute their exciting new

the world's toughest wine market,

category; instead they were

products; most producers instead

America. When I moved to Atlanta

thoughtlessly relegated to viticul-

relied on longstanding relation-

from my native Athens, where, as a

tural limbo, inevitably lumped

ships with traditional importers

trained oenologist, I had seen first-

under the banner of other wines

who themselves lumped Greek

hand the exciting transformation

from around the world.

wines together with other Greek


products, thereby confining most

of the Greek wine industry, shock


rippled across my professional life.

FROM ETHNIC MARKET TO

labels to the ethnic Greek market. I

As I made my first forays into the

MAINSTREAM

knew instinctively that the future

American wine scene I realized

Part of the problem was that until

of Greek wines was outside the

that Greek wines were dismally

the late 1990s, the Greek wine

Greek community, and so I set

Greek wines represent a unique departure from the standard international


varieties.

56 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

about to establish them in the

of our campaign, we have seen

wines are produced from a vast

mainstream market.

some remarkable changes in the

assortment of indigenous varieties

Once American consumers, open-

perception of Greek wine, especial-

(over 300 in all). That fact alone has

minded and not as price-conscious

ly within the trade.

helped provide Greece's marketing

as Europeans, tasted the new gen-

Many people in the trade had little

advantage to compete with other

eration of Greek wines I was sure

or no concept of Greek wine; I saw

well-established winemaking

they would be won over.

that as an opportunity. Our man-

regions. Trade and consumers alike

In the summer of 2003, I went

date at first was simple: We wanted

are eager for more alternatives to

back to Greece and convinced a

to convince wine professionals that

the same grape varieties that are

group of wineries to join forces for

Greek wine was good and worth

produced all over the world, and

a promotional campaign in the

learning about. For most somme-

Greece has many different choices

U.S. and Canada. The campaign

liers and buyers, the tastings were a

to offer. The whites display an array

was called All About Greek Wine

revelation; although Greek wines

of fruit and floral aromas with crisp,

and was financed entirely by the

have flavors that are familiar, they

clean, mineral flavors. The native

producers. We started with 16

represent a unique, but interesting

red varieties combine fruit and

wineries the first year and by the

departure from the standard inter-

earthy aromas that lend themselves

second we were up to twenty-five.

national varieties and should be

to the production of many different

Today, as we enter the fourth year

evaluated on their own merit. Greek

styles of wine, ranging from fresh,

TASTING NOTES

with citrus flavors and hints

food, with its blend of spicy,

oped a unique character. In

Greek wines are more com-

of spice. It produces fragrant,

sour, salty, and bitter flavors,

the last 25 years Assyrtiko

petitive in the white wine

light dry white wines,

as well as fresh herbs.

has been planted throughout

category, especially now that

sparklings, and ross.

Sparkling Moschofilero, with a

Greece where it expresses a

the market is changing

Because of Moschofilero's

hint of sweetness, is excellent

milder, more fruity character.

towards lighter, crisp, and

explosive aroma it some-

with oysters and fruits de mer,

Assyrtiko can also be blend-

aromatic wines.

times leaves the erroneous

as well as with salty foods

ed with the aromatic Aedani

impression of sweetness

such as smoked turkey or

grape for the production of

WHITE WINES

while in most cases it is bone

salmon, olives, and prosciutto.

the unique, dessert wines

MOSCHOFILERO

dry. When someone asks for a

Semi Dry Sparkling

called VinSanto, well known

Moschofilero is a distinctly

sweet ros wine he can easily

Moschofilero is great with

since the Middle Ages.

aromatic variety grown in

settle for a Moschofilero.

lightly sweet Chinese food.

Assyrtiko has the ability to

Peloponnese. Its grapes have

Food PairingS

ASSYRTIKO

ripens with high levels of

a gray colored skin and there-

Moschofilero's acidity and

Assyrtiko is one Greece's

sugar and yields bone-dry

fore produce a Blanc de Gris.

aromatic character make it a

finest multi-purpose white

wines with citrus aromas

Moschofilero has a firm acidi-

very good match for salads,

grape varieties. It was first

and an earthy, mineral after-

ty and beautiful floral aroma

smoked salmon or trout and

cultivated on the island of

taste, due to the volcanic soil

of violets and roses together

spicy foods, especially Thai

Santorini, where it has devel-

of Santorini.

maintain its high acidity as it

Mantinia, in the central

57 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

pleasing, aromatic reds and ross to

wines offer is their ability to pair

makers craft their wines. The

extraordinarily complex, full-bodied

well with food. In Greece, food is

wines match well with a variety of

wines with long aging potential.

rarely served without wine and

cuisines and support the new trend

wine never served without food,

away from barrel-aged, full-bodied

FOOD-FRIENDLY WINES

and this symbiotic relationship is

whites and red wines that are way

Another advantage that Greek

reflected in the way Greek wine-

too over-extracted and suffer from

Food PairingS

make a flavorful mix that

Peloponnese. It is an aromatic

RODITIS

Assyrtiko, stainless steel, or

provides some exciting

grape that produces elegant,

Roditis is a ros-colored

barrel -aged, is the perfect

match es. We particularly

medium- to full-bodied wines

grape cultivated throughout

match for grilled, fried, or

enjoyed matching a barrel -

with medium acidity and excit-

Greece. It produces the most

roasted fish. Barrel aged

fermented and aged

ing aromas of exotic fruits, cit-

elegant, light-bodied, crisp

Assyrtiko and smoked salmon

Assyrtiko with tandoori

rus, jasmine, and mint.

white wines with citrus fla-

are excellent together. The

chicken and lamb. We also

wine also cuts through rich

enjoyed southern Indian cur-

Food PairingS

low yields on mountainous

sauces for fish without over-

ries with coconut milk and

Malagousia is great with

slopes.

powering the flavor of the

barrel - aged Assyrtiko.

seafood, especially scallops,

fish, but it is equally good

vors when cultivated with

crab, langoustines, and lob-

Food PairingS

with fried vegetables.

MALAGOUSIA

ster. We loved pairing

Roditis is the perfect match

Another great match is lamb

Malagousia is an up -and-

Malagousia with lobster and

to grilled fish and is found in

with avgolemono sauce.

coming grape with great

saffron as well as with pasta

most seafood places

We had great fun pairing

potential. It originated in

with creamy white sauces.

throughout Greece. Contrary

Assyrtiko with Indian food.

Nafpaktos in Western Greece

The wine stands up well to

to the super powerful aro-

The numerous spices and

but is cultivated primarily in

chicken or pork dishes and to

matic white wines that dom-

herbs used in Indian cooking

Macedonia, Attica, and the

light but spicy Thai food.

inate most wine lists, Roditis

58 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

excessive levels of alcohol.

riage of wine with food. Many of

southern wine-producing regions.

One other characteristic that

the chefs I have worked with have

We seized on the capacity of Greek

makes Greek wine so food friendly,

found it difficult at first to believe

wines to match well with many

especially the whites, is their won-

that wines with such expressive

styles of food and began to show-

derful acidity. For a chef, acidity is a

aromas and firm acidity are pro-

case them at some of the wine and

key element in the successful mar-

duced in one of Europe's most

food world's finest venues, demon-

delivers balance by not over-

ATHIRI

white wine which matches

mers. With low yields it

powering but enhancing the

Athiri is one of the most

salads, seafood, pasta with

makes elegant white wines

flavors of seafood.

ancient Greek grape vari-

cream sauce, and goat

with a citrusy aroma and

The Greeks use lemon in

eties, originally from

cheese. When it is planted in

medium body and acidity.

almost everything from

Santorini, which is also

high altitudes and the yields

Food matches

seafood to grilled meats and

known as Thira. Athiri is

are kept low, Athiri is more

At the beginning of our cam-

this makes the citrusy

found in several regions of

intense and can also be

paign we wanted to keep

Roditis a great match. We

Greece, including Macedonia

matched with light but spicy

away from Retsina, opting to

also found that Roditis goes

and Rhodes, where it pro-

Asian dishes, especially Thai.

make the statement that

well with stir-fried Chinese

duces VDQS Rhodes wines.

vegetables and with aromat-

Athiri grapes have a thin skin

SAVATIANO & RETSINA

beyond the well-known clich.

ic Thai food, especially when

and yield a sweet and citrusy

Savatiano is the most widely

Now we realize that some

seasoned with kaffir lime

fruit. The wines are slightly

planted grape in Greece and

foods, such as fried vegetables,

leaves. It is also a good

aromatic with medium body

is mainly known for the pro-

the garlic sauce skordalia, bat-

match for that most difficult

and relatively low acidity.

duction of Retsina. It is the

ter-fried salt cod, and fried or

Greek wines have moved far

predominant grape in Attica,

salted sardines match better

especially with avgolemono

Food PairingS

where it displays excellent

with Retsina than with any

sauce.

Athiri is a very food friendly

resistance to the dry sum-

other Greek wine.

to pair food, the artichoke,

59 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

strating in the process that there

paired each recipe with several dif-

matter of time before Greek wines

is, indeed, a place for Greek wine in

ferent wines. Chef Ripert's seared

were accepted in the mainstream.

the mainstream market.

white tuna with cucumber and

Since then, we've taken Greek

In one of our first events, in 2004

mango was a hit with the aromatic

wines on the road many times,

we decided to try something dar-

Moschofilero we served, as well as

from Aspen to Vermont, but one of

ing and chose New York's Le

the bone-dry Assyrtiko from

the boldest forays was into the

Bernardin to host a press lunch.

Santorini. And, Chef Panos's

heart of Las Vegas, which has

Chef Panos Karatassos, of Kyma

braised lamb shank provided a

become the high-end dining capital

Restaurant in Atlanta, teamed up

great match for the luscious, dark-

of the United States. Las Vegas is

with his former mentor, Le

berry flavors of Agiorghitiko as well

home to the largest concentration

Bernardin's Executive Chef Eric

as the complex spicy notes of

of Master Sommeliers in the world.

Ripert, to create the menu. Each

Xinomavro. For us, the Bernardin

Pushing the limits of the wines and

chef planned two items, not neces-

lunch becomes a benchmark; we

moving into new terrain, we paired

sarily Greek, and together we

were convinced that it was only a

Greek wines with Asian and Indian-

RED WINES

known for producing pleas-

more velvet expression of the

plex aroma combines red

ant aromatic ros wines.

wine is a good match for

fruits such as gooseberry

Chinese food.

with hints of olives, spices,

AGIORGITIKO
One of the most noble of the

Food Pairings

Full bodied, aged

and dried tomatoes. In the

Greek red grapes, Agiorgitiko

I am extremely fond of light

Agiorgitiko's pairs excellently

Macedonian region of

is grown primarily in the

and aromatic reds with

with steaks, roast beef,

Amyndeo Xinomavro is also

VDQS region of Nemea in

medium tannins and good

lamb, Chateaubriand, and

known for the production of

the central Peloponnese. It

acidity made from

most hard and rich cheeses.

world class ross.

produces wines that stand

Agiorgitiko. There is a big

out for their deep red color

range of foods that go well

XINOMAVRO

Food pairings

and remarkable aromatic

with Agiorgitiko, from top-

Xinomavro, which means

Xinomavro wines are made for

complexity. Agiorgitiko's vel-

quality charcuterie, to ham-

acid-black, is the predomi-

food; delicate, elegant, but

vet tannins together with its

burgers and even pizza.

nant noble red grape variety

not overpowerful, Xinomavro

balanced acidity lead to the

Equally enjoyable is a light,

of Macedonia and its wines

is a great match with egg-

production of many different

slightly chilled Agiorgitiko

resemble the style of

plant stews, moussaka, char-

styles of wine, ranging from

with tuna, red mullet, octo-

Nebbiolo. Xinomavro wines

cuterie, sausages, offal, chilli

fresh, pleasing aromatic reds

pus or light beef curries.

are known for their superb

con carne, game casseroles,

to extraordinary full-bodied

Fresh Agiorgitikos also goes

aging potential and their rich

poultry, roasted leg of lamb,

aged reds. Agiorgitiko is also

great with grilled meats. A

tannic character. Their com-

and hard and aged cheeses.

60 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

61 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

GREEK ROSS

range of foods, from pasta and

terruptedly since ancient times.

fruit salads, lemon or orange

Consumption of ros wines

salads to pizza and charcuterie.

From light, young aromatic

pies, ice cream, fois gras,

is rising worldwide, and the

They go equally well with

whites to long-aged and full-

chocolate, and Roquefort

international consensus is

seafood, poultry, and pork. Try

bodied elixirs produced either

cheese. Try a Mavrodaphne

that Greece produces some

a Greek ros made from

from sun-dried or fortified

with English stilton cheese,

of the most interesting

Agiorghitiko or Xinomavro

grapes, the dessert wines of

pork or duck liver pat, berry

rosslight, with bright

with spicy Indian food.

Greece please any wine afi-

pies, tiramisu or chocolate

cionado. They are extremely

cake. And finally enjoy a

acidity, and beautiful aromas. Greek ross are a chef 's

GREEK DESSERT WINES

affordable, too.

VinSanto with an aged ched-

food-wine-pairing dream.

Some of the most distinguished

Light, young aromatic white

dar, a crme brule, chocolate

Greek ross have enough flavor

dessert wines in the world have

Muscats from Samos, Patras

puddings, or nutty desserts

and acidity to match a wide

been produced in Greece unin-

or Rhodes go very well with

like baklava or pecan pie.

inspired dishes prepared by chef

the crisp, aromatic whites were an

these new wines to the American

Martin Hierling at one of Vegas'

easy match for the scallops and

market.

newest, trendiest restaurants,

tuna with ginger confit. The

Greek wine is, and always has

Sensi, at the Bellagio. The dinner

atmosphere was truly electric that

been, part of a complete cultural

demonstrated the range of flavors

afternoon as some of Vegas's top

experience, inseparable from the

that Greek wine can handle. The

sommelier's came away talking

food, people, and history of Greece

delicious lamb tandoori paired

about the exciting opportunity

but also flexible enough to pair bril-

extremely well with the spicy char-

they saw for Greek wine and the

liantly with an enormous spectrum

acters of a Greek Xinomavro, and

fun they would have introducing

of flavors and culinary traditions.

Sofia Perpera is an aenologist and the director of All About Greek Wines.

62 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Seasons in Greece are marked by the rituals of the kitchen.


Summer is fruit time, when home cooks put up all manner
of fruits, make liqueurs and jams and marmalades with
Greece's sweet bounty, or simply enjoy one of the simplest,
greatest joys of nature eating a fresh, ripe piece of sunripened summer fruit.

Sweet
Summer
Bounty

By Diane Shugart
Photography: Vassilis Stenos
Food Styling: Dawn Brown

Greek Summer Fruits


Glitter like Jewels and Taste
like Honey

65 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Cherries, apricots, peaches, and

conies throughout the summer, as

FRUIT BY VARIETY

figs are enjoyed right off the tree all

the heat slowly transforms the

CHERRIES

over the Greek countryside; water-

sour cherries, sugar, and alcohol

Cherries are just one of the fruits of

melons and musk melons are unri-

into the homemade tserri liqueur,

Greek summer. Known in Greece

valled for their sweetness; grapes

which is later offered to guests

since antiquity, when they were

of every hue dangle from overhead

together with almond cookies at

likely brought over from Asia Minor

trellises and proper vines alike,

Christmas or drizzled over a scoop

and later cultivated, cherries are

savored for their succulent, intense

of ice cream. One lick conjures up

grown in lush mountain villages

fruit, one of the last juicy pleasures

the sweet perfume and the jewel-

like Steno and Partheni in the cen-

of the long, hot Greek summer.

like colors of cherries ripening on

tral Peloponnesos province of

One of the ritesand dutiesof

trees or piled high on the stalls at

Arcadia and Arna in the southern

the season is reserved for women,

open-air produce markets in June.

Peloponnesos province of Laconia;

mainly in the countryside, as their

Summer fruit makes its appearance

at Ayios Lavrentios in Magnesia,

fingers stain dark by painstakingly

on the Greek table in a variety of

central Greece; and, most famous-

deseeding, with straight pins or

forms, from cooling granitas or ices

ly, the water-rich northern Greek

bobby pins, thousands of tiny sour

made from pulp and juices to the

towns of Naoussa and Edessa,

cherries, called vyssino. These

sesame-flecked karpouzopitta or

which all host annual cherry festi-

make for one of the most prized of

watermelon pie, popular on Milos

vals to celebrate the year's crop.

Greece's array of spoon sweets. The

and nearby islands. Mostly, sum-

Cherries are among the firsts fruit

cherries are put up as conserves or

mer is the season when lunch is

of the season, heralded by the

cordials for winter. Even in Athens,

often not more than a large wedge

crunchy petrokerasso with its white

home cooks fill large glass jars with

of sweet watermelon or a bowl of

or pale-yellow flesh and maraschi-

cherry pits and alcohol or cognac

grapes, both typically enjoyed with

no-red skin that makes a brief, but

to macerate on sun-battered bal-

a wedge of creamy, salty feta.

eagerly anticipated appearance in

66 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

the market once the weather

Most of the annual production is

ing to George Polychronakis, spe-

begins to warm in late May and

for domestic consumption, with

cial advisor to Incofruit, the associ-

early June. Next are the ruby-red

just 10 percent going to exports.

ation of Greek fruit, vegetable, and

kerassia and the succulent, near-

Germany and the Netherlands are

juice exporters. The biggest

purple Vodenon variety from

the two biggest markets for Greek

demand, by volume, is for water-

Edessa. The area also produces the

cherries, accounting for about

melon, which is in the range of

Tragana Rodohoriou, a dark red

two-thirds of exports.

about 170,000 tons.


According to Incofruit data, annual

fleshy and quite juicy cherry that


enjoys the European Union's

WATERMELONS, PEACHES, APRICOTS

watermelon production averages

Protected Designation of Origin

AND GRAPES

about 580,000 metric tons.

(PDO) status.

Watermelons, peaches, apricots,

Exports in 2006 reached 150,000

Greece produces about 34,000

nectarines, and grapes are Greece's

tons; Greece's neighbor, Italy,

metric tons of cherries per year.

main summer fruit exports, accord-

imported just over 70,000 tons of

67 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

68 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

watermelons from Greece while

primary watermelon-producing

the last couple of years has been for

exports to Germany accounted for

areas in the flat plains of the Eleia

smaller varieties of watermelon as

roughly 25,000 tons more. The

province, on the western

well as seedless varieties.

remainder was spread among

Peloponnese coast, and Achaia, in

ORGANIC TRENDS

other European markets, with

the region's center. Polychronakis

Consumer preferences do vary

Poland, the Czech Republic,

says there's also a small but grow-

according to market and this, pro-

Hungary, the U.K., and the

ing production of watermelons in

ducers lament, is increasing pres-

Netherlands each taking up

Thessaly, central Greece. The latter

sure for standardizing texture,

notable slices.

is one of the leaders in cultivation

color, and taste for the broadest

All our exports are mostly within

of the new varieties of mini or

appeal. Reacting to the trend

the European Union, says

smaller watermelons for which

towards standardization, some

Polychronakis. In fact, European

there is growing demand from con-

producers are turning to organic

Union countrieswhich means the

sumers, both abroad (especially

production as a means of preserv-

enlarged EUaccount for about 70

from northern European countries)

ing local varieties as well as com-

or 80 percent, sometimes more, of

but also at home as Greek con-

manding the higher prices that

non-domestic consumption.

sumers adopt more westernized

make their cultivation viable. As

Watermelons are produced mostly

lifestyles and habits.

one producer from northern

in the south, with the earliest crop

In internationalized markets, there

Greece noted, a fruit like water-

coming from the island of Crete. As

really are no 'varieties' for products

melon takes time to grow and

the season progresses, provenance

like watermelons as [cultivation] is

mature, but market prices don't

shifts to the Peloponnese, inching

adjusted to [market] specifications,

allow for this time. Organic cultiva-

northwards from the south to the

says Polychronakis. The trend in

tion is probably the only method

69 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

that allows us, as growers, to give

between domestic consumption,

Thomson seedless variety, where

our produce the care and time it

processing, and exports, mainly to

we're especially strong in the U.K.

demands.

Germany. Again, producers point

Indeed, according to Incofruit data,

The trend towards organic is also

out that market trends are squeez-

the U.K. and Germany absorb

becoming stronger in the produc-

ing out local varieties, like the pale,

about three-fourths of Greek grape

tion of other summer fruits, includ-

delicate butter apricots that

exports. Exporters say the key to

ing peaches, apricots, plums, and

make a short appearance in mar-

cracking markets is standardiza-

grapes. Peaches are an important

ket stalls, and diluting others like

tion, and recognizing and follow-

crop, with annual production aver-

the sweet, fleshy Diamantopoulou

ing trends in consumer demand

aging 750,000 metric tons.

grown mainly in the Peloponnese.

Competitive prices are para-

Exports account for about 10 per-

The Peloponnese accounts for a large

mount, says Polychronakis, but

cent, with the bulk absorbed by

share of Greece's grape crops, one of

producers also point to Greece's

Russia and Romania, while the rest

the most successful summer fruit

grape crops as a case where a

is split almost evenly between raw

exports in terms of market price.

product's reputation for quality can

domestic consumption and pro-

Table grapes are the leader of

help drive demand to support a

cessing for canning or juice. Fresh

Greek exports, in terms of expen-

higher price. Corinthian grapes and

apricots are a far smaller crop, but

sive products, says Polychronakis.

raisins, for example have long been

consumption is split more evenly

This is especially true of the

valued by European consumers.

70 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

I would venture to say that when a foreigner thinks of Greece


three things come to mind: the Parthenon, bouzouki music,
and Greek salad, or, as the Greeks call it, village salad, a luscious, juicy potpourri of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, olives,
onions, feta, oregano, and olive oil.

Greek Salad
Grows Up
Modern Chefs Put a New Spin on
the Tomato-Feta-Cucumber Classic
By Dimitris Andonopoulos
Photography: Vassilis Stenos
Food Styling: Dawn Brown

73 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Village Salad is quintessentially

Greece is blessed, among other

The third partner in the Greek sum-

Greek: Doric in its spare essence

things, with a great climate for cer-

mer salad trinity is the country's

and simplicity, yet succulent and

tain kinds of crops, among them all

national cheese, feta. In fact, the

juicy, a perfect example of

the summer garden vegetables and

quality of the cheese determines

Greece's sun-drenched seasonal

fruits. A tomato ripened under the

whether the dish is, indeed, wor-

cuisine. Although more than a few

Greek sun reaches depths of

thy of its name. True Greek feta, a

ingredients go into a typical Greek

authenticity, of primordial flavor,

product of protected designation

village salad, the flavors of each

unmatched by tomatoes grown

of origin, is made of sheep's milk or

are distinguishable with great

anywhere else. The sun caresses it

a combination of sheep's and

clarity; in this, separate-but-

as it grows; when mature, red,

goat's milk; it has a sharp, sour,

together approach to a national

plump yet firm, it becomes the per-

pungent, peppery taste that mar-

culinary icon, the village salad

fect expression of a tomato, full of

ries perfectly with the sweetness of

evinces the basic difference

fruit flavor, juicy.

the tomatoes and the coolness of

between our clean cuisine and

A crisp Greek cucumber is the toma-

the cucumbers. The cheese's inher-

that, say, of the French, which

to's perfect companion, countering

ent sharpness is why Greeks never

depends on the artful, complex

its fleshiness with crunch, its aro-

season their national salad with

blending of ingredients.

matic sweetness with cool restraint.

pepper. All the salad's piquancy

74 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

comes from a sprinkling or a thin

Lettuce, especially iceberg, is a New

and the saucepan. For some,

slab of feta; oregano plays its part,

World affectation and a downright

molecular Village Salad is nirvana;

too, adding the undertones that

affront to the simple perfection of a

for others, it's the thing itself, per-

subtly link the basic trio of ingredi-

classic Greek salad.

haps pureed, with a scoop of feta


ice cream on top that speaks

ents; olive oil is essential, the


embrace, that holds the whole

SO WHY TINKER WITH PERFECTION?

tomes of culinary ingenuity.

thing together.

Chefs, arguably enjoying a simple,

Regardless where the new genera-

These are not the only ingredients

delicious Greek salad, just have not

tion of chefs stands in regard to

used to prepare a Greek salad. A

been able to leave well enough

this national culinary icon, one

few crisp fresh red onion rings give

alone. Nudged by the post-modern

thing is for certain: The Doric trini-

it a pleasant sharpness; large,

temptation to tweak, Greece's

ty of tomatoes-cucumbers-and

fleshy, Kalamata olives impart a

most progressive chefs have taken

feta has been forever changed.

touch of bitterness; green pepper

the national salad to the chopping

One simple change came from the

rings add a welcome vegetal cool-

block, the blender, the robocoupe,

hands of a chef who decided to cook

ness, one more reminder of the

the soup bowl, the martini glass,

his Greek salad, and so roasted the

best ingredients in season, grown

the ice cream maker, the freezer,

tomatoes, onions, and peppers,

under the brightest of skies.

the foam canister, the gel route,

melted the feta cheese, and mixed

Village Salad is the


quintessential
expression of sundrenched, clean
Greek cuisine.

75 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

their juices with olive oil before

cuted recently by award-winning

Athens. They created a Greek

punctuating the concoction with

Italo-Greek chef Hector Botrini,

garpacho and topped it with a

cucumbers, olives, salt, and

owner of Etrusco in Corfu. Using

heaping scoopful of feta ice cream.

oregano. Warm Greek salad surely

techniques of molecular cuisine, he

Finally, arguably the most icono-

isn't as refreshing as a fresh version,

turns the Kalamata olive and

clastic Greek salad change was

but it shows one of the many ways

capers into a crisp confection.

constructed by chef Yiannis

of rethinking the dish.

Chef Nikos Pouliasis of

Loukakos, at the Semiramis

Chef Christoforos Peskias of

Koukoumavlos in Santorini and

Restaurant north of Athens: He

Athens' well-known 48, The

Kitrino Podilato in Athens, draws

serves the salad like a napoleon,

Restaurant, in his attempt to reach

inspiration from the Greek custom

placing sweet tomato confit, feta

the inner essence of the tomato,

of eating not only tomatoes but

jelly, and olive marmalade in

uses its water, concentrating it so

watermelon with feta, and so adds

between layers of crunchy phyllo,

that it becomes an ethereal aroma.

cubes of the ripe, juicy fruit to his

la mode with basil ice cream.

He makes a Greek salad-soup and

salad. He also enriches it with avo-

One can look at the unmaking of

uses the tomato extract as gar-

cado slices.

the Greek salad as sacrilege or as

nish, an abstraction that works

One of the most creative attempts

art. As for me, if the acclaimed

because it leads back to the core of

to rethink the Greek salad belongs

British chef Heston Blumenthal

the salad's inherent flavor. One of

to chef partners Ilias Balaskas and

can turn English breakfast into

the most playful attempts to

Vassilis Tsangaris of the newly

dessert, why shouldn't I have my

change the Greek salad was exe-

opened Capital restaurant in

Greek salad with ice cream, too?

Dimitris Andonopoulos is one of Athens' best-known restaurant critics.


He writes for the weekly city guide Athinorama.

76 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

77 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Greek Salad Napoleon with Basil Ice Cream


Kerasma recipes New Greek Salads
Chef Yiannis Loukakos

12 sheets commercial phyllo


2 oz. (50 gr.) butter, melted
1 oz. (20 gr.) confectioner's sugar
For 4 oz. of Tomatoes Confit
in Syrup
12 tomatoes, halved and seeded
1 star anise
1 vanilla stick
10 thyme sprigs
1 small cinnamon stick
For 7 oz. (200 gr.) Syrup:
1 pound (600 gr.) sugar
1 pound (400 gr.) water

For 1 oz. (20 gr.) Olive


Marmalade
3 oz. (100 gr.) black olives
9 oz. (300 gr.) sugar
2 oz. (50 gr.) water
For 7 oz. (200 gr.) Basil Ice
Cream
1 pound (500 gr.) milk
1 pound (500 gr.) cream
6 oz. (180 gr.) sugar
4 egg yolks
2 oz. (45 gr.) basil leaves

For 2 oz. (50 gr.) Feta Jelly


4 oz. (125 gr.) milk
2,5 oz. (65 gr.) Greek feta
cheese
2,5 oz. (65 gr.) Greek anthotyro
cheese
2 gelatin sheets (10 gr.)

1. Prepare the phyllo: Spread one piece

2. Prepare the tomato confit: Place

ing some hanging over the edges, and

of phyllo, brush it with melted butter

the tomato halves and the rest of the

pour in the mixture. It should be

and sprinkle with confectioner's

ingredients in a pan and bake in the

about -inch (1 1/4 cm) deep.

sugar. Repeat the same procedure

oven at 300F/150C until the toma-

Refrigerate until set. Cut the jelly into

with a second piece of phyllo and

toes are soft and the syrup thickens.

cubes the size of the phyllo pieces,

cover with a third piece of phyllo. Cut

3. Prepare the feta jelly: Soak the gel-

2x4-inch (4,5x10 cm) in diameter, and

the phyllo in 2x4-inch pieces (4,5x10

atin in water. Using an electric mixer,

refrigerate again.

cm). Place in a pan covered with silpat

whisk together all the ingredients.

4. Prepare the olive marmalade: Place

and cover with another silpat. Bake in

Add the gelatin. Place a large sheet of

the olives in a pot and fill with water.

the oven at 350F/180C until golden.

plastic wrap inside a large pan, leav-

Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

78 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Photography: G. Dracopoulos, Food Styling: Tina Webb

Repeat the procedure changing the

cream and half the sugar and bring to

according to unit's instructions.

water until the salt is leeched out of

a boil. In a bowl combine the remain-

6. To serve: Place a phyllo piece on

the olives. Put the olives and the rest

ing sugar and egg yolks. Add the milk

each of the serving plates and spread a

of the ingredients in a double boiler

mixture gradually into the egg mixture

dollop of olive marmalade over each.

and simmer until soft and the syrup

whisking constantly. Pass the mixture

Next, place the tomato fillets on top

thickens. The whole procedure is quite

through a chinois and add the basil

and then the feta jelly. Repeat the pro-

time-consuming. Finally, pulse the

leaves. Pulse the mixture in a blender,

cedure in napoleon style until you use 3

mixture in a blender.

cool immediately, and refrigerate for a

pieces of phyllo and 2 layers of filling

5. Prepare the basil ice cream: Pour

few hours. Then pass the mixture

for each serving. Serve with basil ice

the milk into a pot together with the

through the ice-cream machine

cream.

79 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Village Salad Soup


Kerasma recipes New Greek Salads
Chef Christoforos Peskias

4 servings

Photography: G. Dracopoulos, Food Styling: Tina Webb

For 4 cups Tomato Water


12 large tomatoes
1 Tbsp. salt
pound (200 gr.) feta cheese
2 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 small Cretan cucumbers, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Prepare the tomato water: Using an

a translucent liquid. The tomato

3. Pour 1 cup of tomato water, a little

electric mixer whisk together the

water may be refrigerated for 3-4 days

chopped pepper, cucumber, tomato

tomatoes and salt to combine well.

or frozen for longer.

and onion in individual soup bowls.

Strain the mixture through a colander

2. Prepare the village soup salad:

Place a little feta cream in the middle

or a cheese cloth, and refrigerate,

Pulse the feta, 1 tomato, and half the

of each bowl, drizzle with some olive

preferably overnight. If the water is

onion in a food processor until a

oil, and sprinkle with oregano, salt,

too red, like tomato juice, strain it one

smooth cream forms. Add the

and freshly ground pepper.

more time. The final mixture should be

oregano. Refrigerate.

80 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Alternative Greek Salad


Kerasma recipes New Greek Salads
Chef Nikos Pouliasis

Photography: G. Dracopoulos, Food Styling: Tina Webb

4 medium to large tomatoes, cut into 2-inch cubes (5 cm)


2 zucchini, cut into slices
1 cucumber, cut into slices
1 avocado (ripe), cut into strips (3 mm) (lengthwise)
2 green peppers, cut into julienne strips
5 oz. (150 gr.) feta cheese, cut into -inch oblong pieces (1 cm)
Extra-virgin Greek olive oil, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cider vinegar, to taste
15 chives
10 oz. (300 gr.) watermelon, cut into small cubes
15 black olives, pitted
1 oz. (30 gr.) capers
Fresh oregano, to taste

1. Cut the tomatoes into round slices,

2. Place one tomato round in the mid-

4. To serve, insert 3-4 chives vertically

2-inch (5-cm) thick (3 slices per serv-

dle of the serving plate, alternating

into each napoleon salad and drizzle

ing). Cut the zucchini and cucumber

layers of zucchini, cucumber, pepper

with vinaigrette dressing. Cut the

in carpaccio rounds, and the avocado

and avocado on top. Place one more

watermelon into small cubes and gar-

in horizontal slices. Cut the feta into

tomato round and repeat the above

nish the salad. Sprinkle the salad with

-inch (1-cm) oblong pieces (2 per

layers finishing with a tomato round

some olives, capers, and fresh

serving).

on top.

oregano. On one side of the serving

3. Prepare vinaigrette dressing by mix-

plate place 2 pieces of feta crosswise.

ing three parts olive oil and one part


apple vinegar, salt and pepper.

81 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Village Salad Gazpacho with Feta Ice Cream


Kerasma recipes New Greek Salads
Chefs Hlias Balaskas and Vassilis Tsagkaris

Photography: G. Dracopoulos, Food Styling: Tina Webb

For the Village Salad Gazpacho


2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
cucumber, peeled
green pepper
1 scallion
2 fresh oregano sprigs
Extra-virgin Greek olive oil, as needed
Salt, to taste
For the Feta Ice Cream
700 ml milk
300 gr. cream
1 1/2 pound (700 gr.) Greek feta cheese
pound (300 gr.) Cretan anthotyro cheese
6 oz. (180 gr.) egg yolks
White pepper, to taste

1. Prepare the village salad gazpacho:

Whisk the egg yolks and add the milk-

3. To serve: Pour the gazpacho in a

Place the peeled and seeded tomatoes

cheese mixture. Season with white

martini glass and garnish with an ice-

in a blender and pulse together with

pepper to taste. Combine well and

cream quenelle or ball.

the remaining ingredients. Strain

place back in the pot. Heat the mix-

through a fine chinois.

ture until the temperature reaches

2. Prepare the feta ice cream: Scald

180F/82C. Let cool and process

the milk and cream, and pulse the hot

through an ice cream maker according

mixture in a blender with the cheeses.

to unit's instructions.

82 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Village Salad in Spherical Olive Ravioli


Kerasma recipes New Greek Salads
Chef Hector Botrini

For the Olive Sphere


7 oz. (200 gr.) fondant sugar
3 oz. (100 gr.) sugar
3 oz. (100 gr.) glucose
1 oz. (20 gr.) capers
1 oz. (20 gr.) black olives, pitted
0,5 oz. (5 gr.) coarse salt

Photography: G. Dracopoulos, Food Styling: Tina Webb

For the Village Salad


3 oz. (100 gr.) cucumber
3 oz. (100 gr.) tomato
2 oz. (50 gr.) red onion
200 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
Lemon juice, to taste
Fresh oregano, to taste
Salt, to taste
3 oz. (100 gr.) feta cheese
Olive oil, as needed
Vinegar, to taste

1. Prepare the olive sphere: Dry out the

inside, and bake in the oven at

4. To serve: Spread an olive round on

capers and olives in a warm oven at

250F/120C until the mixture melts

top of a silpat. Fill it with village salad

210F (100C). Combine all the ingredi-

and turns into a homogeneous mass.

and feta vinaigrette and cover with

ents, spread them in a silpat and bake

Remove from oven and cool.

another round. Repeat the procedure

in the oven at 325F/160C until melt-

3. Prepare the village salad: Dice all

until all the ingredients are finished.

ed (about 5-7 minutes). Let cool and

the ingredients and marinate in olive

Then, pass them under a salamander

pulse in a blender until pulverized.

oil whipped with lemon and oregano.

at 250F /120C until the rounds stick

2. Place metallic ring molds (2-inch/5-

Season with salt to taste. Prepare a

together and a spherical ravioli is

cm in diameter) on top of a silpat,

vinaigrette dressing by mixing feta

formed. Remove and cool. Serve cold.

spread the pulverized ingredients

cheese, olive oil, and vinegar.

83 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

V. Stenos / D. Brown

Kerasma:
Treat Your Taste

with Great Recipes for Herbs,


Beans, Summer Fruits, and
More from Greece's Top Chefs
Photography: Yiorgos Dracopoulos
Food styling: Tina Webb

85 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Salad with Chickpeas and Smoked Trout


Kerasma recipes
Chef Lefteris Lazarou

4 servings

500 gr. (1 pound) chickpeas, soaked in water overnight


4 oz. (140 gr.) carrot, coarsely chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 quarts/liters water
tsp. salt
4 smoked trout filets
For the Vinaigrette Dressing
300 ml chickpeas broth
5 oz. (150 gr.) boiled chickpeas
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
120 ml extra virgin olive oil
Tbsp. salt
Tbsp. pepper
5 Tbsp. finely chopped scallions
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
Boiled carrot, used above, cut into small cubes

1. Place the chickpeas in a pot with

oil, salt and pepper and pulse together

3. Fillet the trout into thin slices. Place

boiling salted water, add the thyme

until pulverized. Pass the vinaigrette

some chickpeas in a ring mold, place

and carrot, and cook until the chick-

through a fine-mesh sieve and set

the trout on top and continue in alter-

peas are tender but al dente, 45 min-

aside.

nating layers until the ring mold is

utes. Strain the chickpeas, discard the

2. Combine the chickpeas, scallions,

filled to the brim. Drizzle in some of

thyme sprigs and keep the broth

oregano, and chopped carrot and stir

the remaining vinaigrette and some

aside. Pour 300 ml broth in a blender,

to combine well. Pour in the vinai-

drops of olive oil. Sprinkle with

5 oz. (150 gr.) chickpeas, vinegar, olive

grette and refrigerate for 1 hour.

chopped parsley and serve.

86 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Yellow Split Peas Married with Fresh Anchovies


Kerasma recipes
Chef Lefteris Lazarou

6 servings

For the Fava


100 ml extra virgin olive oil
pound (220 gr.) chopped red
onion
1 pound (500 gr.) fava from
Santorini
1 quart/liter vegetable broth
Tbsp. salt
tsp. pepper
100 ml Greek balsamic vinegar
250 ml fresh milk
50 ml extra virgin olive oil

pound (200 gr.) flour for


dredging
Vinaigrette Dressing
100 ml white vinegar
200 ml extra virgin olive oil
50 ml thyme honey
1 tsp. salt
tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced

For the Anchovies


1 pound (800 gr.) fresh
anchovies, cleaned and
deboned
Greek sesame oil, for frying

For Marrying the Fava


1 large red onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled and seeded,
diced
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
70 ml extra-virgin Greek olive
oil

1. Heat the olive oil in a pot and saut

2. Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking

4. Heat the olive oil in a pot and saut

the onion for 3 minutes. Add the split

or blending all the ingredients together.

the onion over medium heat for 3 min-

peas, saut for another 2 minutes and

3. Filet the fresh anchovies and place

utes. Add 2 tomatoes, diced. Add the

pour in the vegetable broth. Season

in a bowl with ice water to drain the

parsley and split peas. Mix well to

with salt and pepper and boil over

blood. Strain the fish 10 minutes later

combine all the ingredients, adjust the

medium heat for 12 more minutes until

and wash thoroughly. Dredge the fish

seasoning, and serve in 6 individual

all the liquid is absorbed. While still

in flour and fry in sesame oil over high

plates. Place the fresh anchovies on

hot, pulse the split peas in a blender,

heat. When golden, carefully pour the

top, garnish with the remaining diced

add the milk and vinegar and process

oil out of the skillet and, while the

tomato and sprinkle with parsley.

together at high speed until the mix-

skillet is still hot, pour in the vinai-

Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

ture is smooth. Add the 50 ml extra-vir-

grette. Remove the skillet from the

gin olive oil and set the mixture aside.

heat and sprinkle with fresh oregano.

87 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Lentil-Chickpea Burgers in Potato Crust, Yogurt


and Mint Sauce

Kerasma recipes

Chef Nena Ismirnoglou


4 servings

For the Burgers


cup red lentils
1 Tbsp. extra virgin Greek olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup chickpeas, boiled and
drained
1 egg
3 Tbsp. parsley, washed and
finely chopped
2 Tbsp. mint, washed and finely
chopped
1 cup plain bread crumbs
tsp. ground coriander
tsp. ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Potato Crust


250 gr. potatoes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin Greek olive oil
For the Yogurt Sauce
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. extra virgin Greek olive oil
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. lemon
1 Tbsp. fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For Garnish
8 small plum tomatoes,
washed
Some salad leaves, washed and
wipe dried

For Frying
cup flour
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin Greek olive oil

1. Bring the lentils to a boil with the

peas, egg, and onion for about 20 sec-

6. Place the flour on a large plate.

bay leaf and simmer for 10 minutes, or

onds. Transfer the mixture to a deep

Divide the mixture into eight equal

until tender. Drain well.

bowl. Pour in the rest of the lentils,

mounds and shape into burgers. Dust

2. Heat the olive oil and saut the

parsley, mint, ginger and bread

lightly with flour. Heat the olive oil in

onion with the ground coriander.

crumbs. Knead well.

a nonstick skillet, pour in the olive oil,

Remove.

5. Let the mixture stand in the refrig-

and fry until golden brown on both

3. In a blender or food processor, pulse

erator, covered, for at least 30 min-

sides. Transfer to paper towels and

together half the lentils, the chick-

utes.

drain. Keep them warm.

88 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

7. Make the potato crust: Grate the

2-3 minutes on each side until the

taste. Spread 4 potato crusts on 4

potatoes along the coarse side of a

crust is golden brown. Transfer to

large plates, place two burgers and

cheese grater. Wipe dry with a kitchen

paper towels and drain. Repeat to get

the tomatoes on top of each crust.

towel. Heat the olive oil in a small

8 flat potato cakes.

Cover with the rest of the potato

nonstick skillet. Put 1/8 of the pota-

8. Combine all the ingredients for the

crusts. Garnish the sides of the plates

toes inside and press with a spatula

yogurt sauce in a bowl.

with some yogurt sauce and the salad

until a thin layer covers the bottom of

9. To serve: Cut the tomatoes in half

leaves and serve.

the skillet. Fry over medium heat for

and season with salt and pepper to

89 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Cod with Giant Beans and Green Peppers


Kerasma recipes
Chef Athanasios Skouras

6 servings

2 pounds (1,300 gr.) salt cod


2/3 pound (300 gr.) Greek giant beans (gigantes),
soaked overnight
2 red onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
300 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
2 bay leaves
Salt and black pepper
Sweet paprika, to taste

1. Soak the salt out of the cod in cold

4. Saut the chopped onion, garlic and

Distribute the contents of the pan

water overnight, changing the water

peppers in the olive oil. Add the toma-

evenly by tilting it gently. Bake in pre-

three or four times.

toes, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste

heated oven at 425C/220F for 1 hour.

2. Wash the cod, clean, debone and cut

and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve hot garnished with chopped fen-

into serving pieces.

5. Spread the giant beans in a pan,

nel on top.

3. Boil the giant beans until tender,

place the cod in between, pour in the

about 1 hours. Drain and reserve the

sauce, enough broth to cover, half the

broth.

fennel, the parsley, and sweet paprika.

90 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Black-Eyed Peas with White Beets, Sausage


and Pumpkin Pure

Kerasma recipes

Chef Christoforos Peskias

10 servings

For the Black-eyed Peas


1 pound (450 gr.) Black-eyed Peas boiled
in chicken broth (reserve the broth)
2 pounds (1 kilo) white beets, trimmed
1 Greek village-style sausage
40 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
For the Pumpkin Pure
4 pounds (2 kilos) red pumpkin, cleaned and cut into cubes
pound (200 gr.) butter
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
20 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
To Serve
120 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
30 ml red wine vinegar
small bunch parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Boil the black-eyed peas in chicken

heated oven at 250F/120C until the

and add the sausage, olive oil, vinegar,

broth and set aside.

pumpkin cubes acquire a caramel

parsley, salt and pepper to taste and

2. Saut the white beets with garlic in

color.

mix. In a deep serving plate place a

olive oil until soft and set aside.

5. Place the pumpkin in the

ladleful of the peas and sausage. Place

3. Sear or grill the sausage and cut

Thermomixer at high speed and grad-

some white beets on top. Shape the

into round slices.

ually add the butter and nutmeg.

pumpkin pure into quenelles and

4. Prepare the pumpkin pure: Mix the

Pulse the mixture for 10 minutes until

place on top of the beets.

pumpkin with olive oil. Spread the

it has a velvety texture.

mixture in a pan and bake in a pre-

6. To serve: Heat the black-eyed peas

91 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Giant Beans with Mackerel


Kerasma recipes
Chef Christoforos Peskias

6 servings

For the Giant Beans


1 pound (450 gr.) giant beans, soaked overnight, drained,
and boiled in vegetable broth
3 pounds (1 kilos) tomatoes, peeled,
unseeded and finely chopped
8 oz. (200 gr.) onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 fennel bulbs, finely chopped
250 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Mackerel
6 mackerels (about pound/250 gr.),
cleaned, heads removed and deboned
Extra virgin Greek olive oil, as needed
Salt, to taste
To Serve
Parsley, finely chopped, as needed
Buttermilk, as needed

1. Spread the boiled giant beans in a

3. Bake the beans in a preheated oven at

5. To serve: Place a ladleful of the

deep pan.

325F/160C until they are very tender.

giant beans in the center of each of six

2. Saut the onion and garlic in olive

4. Prepare the mackerel: Brush the

serving plates. Sprinkle chopped pars-

oil until wilted. Add the tomatoes and

mackerels with olive oil, season with

ley on top. Place a mackerel over the

simmer until the sauce is cooked. Mix

salt, place them in the oven, raise the

beans. Drizzle with a little buttermilk.

the sauce with the remaining ingredi-

heat to 350F/180C, and bake for 25

ents and spread over the giant beans.

minutes.

92 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

93 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

94 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Snapper Poached in Celery Broth


with Black-eyed Peas

Kerasma recipes

Chef Yiannis Baxevannis

4 servings

1 pound (450 gr.) black-eyed peas


2 pounds (1 kilo) snapper
200 ml dry white wine
2 large batches of celery, trimmed
2 egg yolks
2 ripe tomatoes, diced or grated
50 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil

1. Blanch the black-eyed peas, drain

2. Remove the fish from the pot. Place

3. Place 2 egg yolks and olive oil in a

and discard the water. Boil the peas in

the broth in a blender and pulse.

blender and pulse on and off, gradual-

fresh water and reserve the broth. Add

Drain the broth and return the liquid

ly adding the broth with the celery.

the wine and fish broth from the head

back to the pot and cook until it is

4. Serve the snapper fillets on top of

and bones of the snapper. Add the cel-

reduced to about one quarter of its

the black-eyed peas, pouring the

ery and the snapper fillets and let

volume.

foaming broth on top. Then, add the

them simmer for 6-7 minutes.

diced or grated tomatoes on top, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

95 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Yogurt Soup with Cucumber and Mint


Kerasma recipes
Chef Christoforos Peskias

8 servings

800 ml strained Greek yogurt


500 ml sheep's milk yogurt
1 large cucumber, peeled
30 fresh mint leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place all the ingredients in the


blender and pulse together for 2 minutes.
2. Strain the mixture and let it stand
in the refrigerator to cool.
3. Serve the soup in cappuccino cups.

96 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Salad with Fresh Herbs


Kerasma recipes
Chef Christoforos Peskias

2 small bunches fresh coriander, with part of the stems


2 small bunches chervil, leaves and part of stems
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 tomato, peeled, unseeded, fileted and chopped
40 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
10 ml fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a


large bowl.
2. Serve in small individual bowls.

97 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Herb-Stuffed Sardines
Kerasma recipes
Chef Athanasios Skouras

4 servings

2 pounds (1 kilo) large fresh sardines


1 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 fresh garlic stalk (if available), finely chopped
(only the white part)
4-5 ripe tomatoes, peeled, finely chopped,
and divided into thirds
2 Tbsp. fresh coriander, finely chopped, divided in three
2 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped, divided in three
cup capers, soaked out of salt
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sugar, to taste
1 tsp. sweet vinegar
1 Tbsp. bread crumbs

1. Clean, wash, drain, and blot the sar-

to taste. Let the mixture simmer for 10

4. Sprinkle the sardines with the rest

dines dry with paper towels. Carefully

minutes over low heat.

of the tomato, chopped parsley, and

remove the bone.

3. Stuff the sardines with the mixture.

coriander, drizzle with the remaining

2. Heat some olive oil in a pot and

Spread a third more of the tomato,

olive oil, season with salt and pepper

saut the onion, garlic, scallions and

chopped parsley, and coriander in a

to taste, sprinkle with vinegar and

raw garlic. Add one third of the toma-

small pan or glass baking dish and

bread crumbs, and bake in the oven at

toes, one third of coriander and pars-

then spread the stuffed sardines on

350F/180C for about 25 minutes.

ley, the capers, salt, pepper and sugar

top, one by one, in a row.

Serve.

98 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Salt Cod Over Herbed Vegetables


Kerasma recipes
Chef Yiannis Baxevannis

8 servings

3 pounds (1 kilos) salt-cod fillet


2/3 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil, as needed
3 lemons, juiced
2 Tbsp. capers, chopped
1 scallion, finely chopped
Anise seeds, to taste
Fennel florets, as needed
2 green peppers, diced
2 red peppers, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1 eggplant, diced
Mint, to taste
Fresh thyme, to taste
1. Soak the cod in water for 24 hours,
changing the water 3-4 times. Shred
the cod into strips manually.
2. Spread the cod strips in a pan and
add olive oil whisked together with
the juiced lemons, chopped capers,
scallion, anise seeds, and some
chopped fennel. Let the cod marinate
for 15-20 minutes.
3. Saut all the diced vegetables in hot
olive oil until crisp. Add some chopped
fresh mint and some fresh thyme.
Serve the cod in layers on top of the
sauted vegetables.

99 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Crisp Cuttlefish with Salty Semolina Cream and Basil


Kerasma recipes
Chef Yiannis Baxevannis

8 servings

3 pounds (1 kilo) cuttlefish, with ink


Extra virgin Greek olive oil, as needed
300 ml dry white wine
1 small batch of fennel, trimmed and finely chopped
6 oz. (200 gr.) butter
3 oz. (100 gr.) fine semolina
800 ml- 1 liter (3/4 - 1 quart) milk, or more, as needed
150 ml sheep's milk yogurt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, as needed, finely chopped

1. Wash and clean cuttlefish very well.

adding the cuttlefish back in the pot

until the mixture acquires the consis-

Keep the ink. Cut the cuttlefish into

in the end.

tency of a custard. The longer the cus-

very thin julienne strips and saut in

2. In a small pot, heat half the butter

tard simmers, the better, so long as

hot olive oil until crisp. Pour in the

and saut the fine semolina. Pour in

you add a little milk incrementally as

wine. Add the chopped fennel and the

the milk and let it simmer over low

it simmers.

ink and let the sauce cook and bind for

heat. Mix constantly until thick. Add

3. Serve the cuttlefish accompanied

4-5 minutes. If the sauce hasn't thick-

the yogurt, salt and pepper to taste,

with the custard cream.

ened, remove the cuttlefish from the

remaining butter and some chopped

pot and let it simmer until thick,

basil. If needed, add some more milk,

100 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Phyllo Pastries with Naxos Graviera


and Ground Meat

Kerasma recipes

Chef Lefteris Lazarou

6 servings

50 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil


5 oz. (160 gr.) chopped red
onion
2 oz. (80 gr.) grated carrot
1 pound (500 gr.) minced beef
5 oz. (150 gr.) coarsely grated
Naxos Graviera cheese
2 Tbsp. chervil, chopped
2 Tbsp. Corinthian raisins
3 dried apricots, chopped
1 oz. (40 gr.) Greek pistachios, roasted and coarsely
chopped
1 tsp. salt
tsp. pepper
12 sheets commercial phyllo
7,5 x 10 inches in diameter
(19 x 26 cm)
1 sheet puff pastry
Olive oil, for brushing

For the Sauce


3 oz. (100 gr.) chopped potato
10 oz. (300 gr.) chopped red
onion
3 oz. (100 gr.) chopped carrot
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
pound (250 gr.) chopped
fresh mint
Tbsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. salt
1200 ml beef broth

1. Heat the olive oil in a pot and saut

away the excess to get a circle that is

the ingredients for a little bit longer,

the onion for 4 minutes, until soft.

about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter.

add the mint, pour in the beef broth

Add the carrot and ground beef. Saut

Bring together in the center like a

and season with salt and pepper. Let

for another 6-7 minutes, then add the

pouch. Cut the flaky pastry into thin

the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.

small hortwort, currants, apricots,

strips and use them to tie the pouch-

Remove, pulse in a blender, and strain

pistachios, salt, and pepper. Remove

es at the gathering point. Brush lightly

through a fine-mesh sieve. Place the

the stuffing from the heat and set

with olive oil and bake on an oiled pan

sauce back in the pot, simmer for

aside to cool. Add the Graviera cheese.

in a preheated oven at 375F/190C for

another 20 minutes, and adjust the

2. Divide the pastry into six stacks of

about 15 minutes, until golden.

seasoning if needed. Pour the sauce in

two sheets each, brushing each layer

3. Heat 100 ml olive oil in a pot and

six individual plates, spreading to

with a little oil. Divide the filling into

saut the onion for 4 minutes until

cover the entire surface like a pool.

six equal amounts and place in the

soft and withered and add the

Drizzle with some olive oil and place

center of each double phyllo sheet. Cut

chopped carrot and potato. Saut all

the phyllo pouch on top.

102 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Cretan Dakos with Ouzo Jelly


Kerasma recipes
Chef Christoforos Peskias

For the Ouzo Jelly


150 ml water
150 ml Greek ouzo
2 gr. agar-agar
2 gelatin sheets, soaked in iced water
For the Dakos
6 Cretan barley rusks (dakos) (10 cm/4 inches in diameter)
5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Water from the tomatoes
5 oz. (150 gr.) Greek xynomyzithra cheese, crumbled
Greek oregano, to taste
Extra virgin Greek olive oil, as needed

1. Combine the water, ouzo, and agaragar and whisk in a saucepan. Bring
the mixture to a boil and remove from
heat. Cool to tepid, add the gelatin
sheets, and whisk.
2. Strain the mixture and place in a
clean shallow container. Refrigerate
until thick. When set, cut the jelly into
small cubes.
3. Soak the rusks with the tomato
water.
4. Mix the tomatoes with the ouzo
jelly and divide the mixture equally on
top of the rusks. Place a heaping
tablespoon of xynomyzithra in the
middle of the rusks. Drizzle with some
olive oil, sprinkle with oregano to
taste, and serve.

103 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Island Spaghetti with Lemon Grass


and Naxos Cheese Sauce

Kerasma recipes

Chef Christoforos Peskias

5 servings

1 pound (1/2 kilo) spaghetti


8 roasted tomatoes (peeled, unseeded, cut into 4 slices,
baked in the oven at 80C for 4 hours, drizzled with
some olive oil, sprinkled with salt, sliced garlic,
and small thyme leaves), cut into julienne strips
2 small sprigs of lemon grass, chopped
5 oz. (150 gr.) Greek xynotyri from Naxos,
or other hard, pungent Greek cheese, grated
Fresh basil, chopped, as needed
60 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
25 green olives, pitted and quartered
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Boil the pasta in salted water to al


dente. Drain and place in a large bowl
together with the tomatoes, lemon
grass, olive oil, and olives.
2. Serve the pasta in individual plates
and sprinkle with grated xynotyri and
fresh basil.

104 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Ikarian Marinated Octopus and Eggplant Salad


Kerasma recipes
Chef Miltos Karoumbas

6-8 servings

For the Octopus


2 pounds (1 kilo) octopus,
trimmed and rinsed
100 ml vinegar
2 bay leaves
5-6 black peppercorns
For the marinade
100 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
50 ml apple vinegar
3 Tbsp. Greek capers
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dried Greek oregano, to taste

2 oz. (50 gr.) sun-dried tomatoes


2 oz. (50 gr.) red pepper, finely
chopped
2 oz. (50 gr.) scallions, finely
chopped
2 oz. (50 gr.) red onion, finely
chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp. salt
Ground white pepper
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
150 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil

For the Eggplant Salad


2 pounds (1 kilo) large eggplants (about 4), roasted in
the oven

1. Bring the octopus to a boil in a large

hours. Remove and serve over the egg-

5. Chop the rest of the vegetables and

pot of water seasoned with the vine-

plant salad.

mix them with the eggplants in a

gar, bay leaves and peppercorns.

3. Wash the eggplants well, cut away

large bowl. Add the spices, olive oil,

Reduce heat and simmer for about 45

the stems, pierce them with a fork in

garlic and lemon juice and set aside.

minutes, or until tender but al dente.

several places, and roast them whole

Serve the octopus with a dollop of the

Remove, cool, and cut into rounds.

in a preheated oven at 375F/190C.

roasted eggplant salad.

2. Whisk together all the marinade

4. As soon as the eggplants are roast-

ingredients and pour into a bowl.

ed, remove, cool, and peel, keeping

Marinate the octopus for about 3

only their flesh, unseeded.

105 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Syros Cheese Bread


Kerasma recipes
Chef Miltos Karoumbas

6-8 servings

For the First Batter


1 pound (400 gr.) butter
pound (225 gr.) cream cheese
1 heaping tsp. fine salt
1 scant tsp. dill, finely chopped
2 oz. (60 gr.) finely chopped
scallions
tsp. ground red peppercorns
For the Second Batter
1 pound (500 gr.) eggs
100 ml fresh milk
100 ml dry white wine

For the Third Batter


2 pounds (1 kilo) pastry flour
2 oz. (60 gr.) baking powder
1 pound, 10 oz. (600 gr.) Syros
San-Mihalis cheese, or other
hard Greek cheese, grated
pound (200 gr.) Greek green
olives, quartered
3 oz. (100 gr.) turkey slices,
diced

Note: All ingredients should be at room temperature.


1. Place the ingredients for the first

3. Using a slotted metal spoon, gradu-

ately in a preheated oven at

batter in the bowl of an electric mixer

ally fold in the ingredients for the

350F/170C for about 35-40 minutes.

and whisk until smooth.

third batter (soft flour, baking powder,

Remove from the oven and let the pie

2. Combine the ingredients for the sec-

San-Mihalis cheese and olives) with a

cool for 5-10 minutes inside the pan.

ond batter. Gradually mix the second

slow, circular motion.

Remove and serve.

batter with the first batter and con-

4. Butter a large rectangular pan and

tinue beating until blended and soft.

pour in the mixture. Level the surface

Remove the bowl from the mixer.

with a spatula. Place the pan immedi-

106 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Lamb Baked with Mint Sauce


and Olive Oil Cheese

Kerasma recipes

Chef Miltos Karoumbas

6 servings

2 pounds (1 kilo) lamb leg, boned


pound (200 gr.) Santorini-type cherry tomatoes
1 pound (400 gr.) Mytilini lathotyri (olive oil cheese)
180 ml white wine
1 pound ( kilo) small red potatoes, unpeeled, cut in half
400 ml water
1 small batch of fresh mint leaves
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 pound ( kilo) spinach leaves, blanched
60 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, finely chopped

1. Wash the lamb and cut into serving

Add the potatoes, water, mint leaves,

Cut the lathotyri and tomatoes into

pieces. Blanch it for 15 minutes and

salt, and pepper and cook for about 45

cubes and spread them evenly. Place the

drain.

minutes.

baking dish in the preheated oven at

2. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot

3. Place the blanched spinach in the

375F/190C and cook for 10 minutes

and saut the onion and garlic. Add

bottom of an ovenproof baking dish.

until the cheese melts and the tomatoes

the lamb and brown. Pour in the wine.

Add the cooked lamb with the potatoes.

are roasted. Remove and serve.

107 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Watermelon, Feta, and Olive Oil Salad


Kerasma recipes
Chef Stelios Parliaros

4 servings

1 1 /2 pound (750 gr.) peeled watermelon


3 oz. (100 gr.) sugar
6 gelatin sheets (30 gr.)
50 ml fresh strained lemon juice
100 ml sweet Greek white wine
Feta for garnish, cut into small cubes
Extra virgin Greek olive oil, for drizzling
Some leaves of fresh mint or spearmint, for garnish

1. Peel and seed the watermelon and


pure the pulp in a blender.
2. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold
water.
3. Pour the watermelon pulp and
sugar into a saucepan and bring to a
boil. Simmer until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and add the soaked
gelatin sheets. Add the lemon juice
and wine, stir and empty the mixture
into a shallow rectangular baking
dish.
4. Refrigerate until thick. When ready
to serve, cut the watermelon confection and feta into small cubes. Serve
the salad cold, drizzled with a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with mint
or spearmint.

108 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Rocket, Watermelon, and Asparagus Salad


Kerasma recipes
Chef Nena Ismirnoglou

4 servings

For the Sauce


4 Tbsp. water
Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup watermelon, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp. extra virgin Greek olive oil
4 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Pepper, to taste
For the Salad
7 oz. (200 gr.) green asparagus, washed and dried well
1 pound (600 gr.) watermelon, cleaned and cut into small slices
1 bunch rocket, washed and dried well
5 oz. (150 gr.) fennel bulb, washed and cut into chips
7 oz. (200 gr.) melihloro cheese from Limnos, or other
semi-hard Greek sheep's milk cheese, cut into thin slices

1. In a small skillet combine the water

3. Trim the tough bottoms off the

4. Place all the ingredients for the

and sugar and stir until the sugar dis-

asparagus. Remove the tender tips

salad apart from the cheese in a bowl.

solves and a light syrup forms.

and set aside. Using a potato peeler

5. Drizzle with the sauce, mix careful-

Remove and cool.

grate the asparagus stalks into long

ly, and serve sprinkled with the cheese

2. In a blender, pulse together all the

thin strips like tagliatelle. Steam the

slices on top.

ingredients for the sauce and syrup.

tips of the asparagus for 2 minutes,


remove, and cool.

109 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Saganaki with Skewered, Grilled Nectarines


Kerasma recipes
Chef Nena Ismirnoglou

4 servings

For the Sauce


4 Tbsp. water
Tbsp. brown sugar
cup nectarines, cut into cubes
4 Tbsp. extra virgin Greek olive oil
4 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Pepper, to taste
4 large rosemary sprigs
2 medium nectarines, washed and cut into 12 slices
3 oz. (100 gr.) fennel bulb, cut into 8 slices
8 large green olives, pitted
2/3 cup Greek olive oil, for frying
1 cup flour
2 cups water
360 gr. (12 oz.) arseniko cheese from Naxos or Greek
kefalotyri, cut into 4 slices

1. In a small skillet combine the water

olives, 2 fennel bulb slices and 3 nec-

6. Strain the skewers from the sauce

and sugar and stir until dissolved and

tarine pieces.

and let the sauce aside. Grill the skew-

a light syrup forms. Let it cool.

4. Pour the sauce into a shallow con-

ers for 2-3 minutes on each side.

2. Place all the ingredients for the

tainer and marinate the skewers.

Divide the saganaki (fried cheese) and

sauce and the syrup in a blender and

5. Preheat the grill. Heat the olive oil

the skewers among 4 plates. Drizzle

pulse together.

in a small skillet. Place the flour in a

the skewers with the reserved sauce

3. Trim the leaves off the rosemary

plate and pour 2 cups water in a bowl.

and serve immediately.

sprigs, leaving just a few on top. Wash

Dip each slice of cheese in the water,

and wipe the sprigs. Thread a nec-

dredge lightly with flour, shake off the

tarine slice first on each of the sprigs,

excess, dip again in water and fry

followed by the fennel bulb slices and

until golden on both sides. Drain on

olives. Each skewer should have 2

paper towels.

110 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Melon Souvlaki with Feta Ice Cream


Kerasma recipes
Chef Christoforos Peskias

6-8 Servings

For the Feta Ice Cream


1,000 ml milk
300 ml heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 pound (700 gr.) Greek feta cut into cubes
1 Greek melon, peeled and cut into cubes (1-inch/2 cm)
Sugar, for sprinkling
1. Heat the milk with the cream to

stove and heat until it reaches

4. To serve: Thread 4 melon cubes on

160F/70C. Add the feta and remove

175F/80C. Strain the mixture and

each skewer. Sprinkle the skewers

from heat.

refrigerate until cool.

with sugar and heat with a small

2. Whip the egg yolks with an electric

3. Place in an ice-cream maker and

kitchen blow torch to caramelize.

mixer and gradually add the feta mix-

process according to individual unit's

Serve with quenelles of feta ice cream.

ture. Place the mixture back on the

directions.

111 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

White Chocolate Mousse


with Greek Mountain Tea

Kerasma recipes

Chef Stelios Parliaros

4 to 6 servings

800 ml heavy cream, 35% fat


2 tsp. (10 gr.) Greek mountain tea
6 oz. (250 gr.) white chocolate

1. Bring 300 ml of cream and tea to a


boil in a medium pot. Remove from
heat and let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Whip the remaining 500 ml of
cream.
3. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler, remove from heat and slowly add the whipped cream, stirring all
the while. Pass the tea-steeped cream
through a sieve to remove the tea and
fold into the mousse, stirring gently
and carefully.
4. Fill individual bowls and refrigerate.
Garnish with tea leaves.

112 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Watermelon Pie
Kerasma recipes
Chef Stelios Parliaros

7 oz. (200 gr.) sugar


3 eggs
6 oz. (180 gr.) butter, melted
7 oz. (200 gr.) flour
2 pounds (1 kilo) watermelon, juiced and strained
Sesame seeds
Cinnamon, for garnish (optional)

1. Combine the sugar, eggs and butter


in a large bowl until just blended. Add
the flour and stir vigorously. Add the
watermelon juice and stir again.
2. Empty the mixture in a rectangular
glass baking pan and bake in a preheated oven at 350F/170C for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame and continue baking for another 20 minutes.
Bake a little longer, as needed, until
set but soft.
3. Remove from oven, cool on a rack,
and serve, sprinkled with cinnamon.

113 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Baked Summer Fruit Compote


with Mastiha Liqueur or Yogurt

Kerasma recipes

Chef Stelios Parliaros

4 servings

3 fresh figs, halved lengthwise


2 peaches, cut into 6 pieces each
10.5 oz. (300 gr.) combined red and green grapes
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
Sugar for sprinkling
100-200 ml Mastiha liqueur
1. Place all the fruits in one layer in a
pan, drizzle with melted butter, and
sprinkle with sugar.
2. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F400F/180C-200C for 15 minutes.
Remove and cool on a rack. Serve
them in a bowl drizzled with the
Mastiha liqueur.
Note: If desired, serve the preserve
accompanied with yogurt.

114 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Grape Cream
Kerasma recipes
Chef Stelios Parliaros

6 servings

750 ml (net weight) fresh grape juice


1 1/3 Tbsp. (20 gr.) sugar
1.7 oz. (50 gr.) cornstarch
Olive oil for oiling the pan
6-10 grapes, cut in half

1. Keep half of the fresh grape juice,


pour the rest into a pot and heat over
low flame until it comes to a boil.
2. Combine the sugar and cornstarch
and dissolve into the reserved grape
juice. As soon as the juice comes to a
boil, pour in the cornstarch mixture
and simmer over low heat, stirring all
the while, until thick and set.
3. Brush a 1-quart baking pan or 6
ramekins with oil and spread the
halved grapes evenly on the bottom.
Pour the mixture into the pan or
ramekins and refrigerate until well
chilled and set. Remove from the pan
or ramekins and serve.

115 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

Lavender-Scented White Cream with Apricots


Kerasma recipes
Chef Stelios Parliaros

For the Cream


500 ml cream
2 pounds (1 kilo) lavender, chopped/grated
3.5 oz. (100 gr.) sugar
6 egg yolks
3 oz. (10 gr.) gelatin sheets
4.5 oz. (130 gr.) heavy cream
For the Apricots
6-8 apricots
1.7 oz. (50 gr.) butter, melted
1.7 (50 gr.) sugar

1. Pour the 500 ml of cream and grat-

2. Soak the gelatin sheets into cold

3. To prepare the apricots: Cut the

ed lavender into a pot. Whip the sugar

water and then add them to the mix-

apricots in half, remove the seeds,

and yolks in a bowl and empty the

ture. Stir gradually until the mixture is

butter them and sprinkle with sugar.

mixture into the cream. Stir constant-

cool. Whip the cream until it is as

Preheat the oven to 425F/220C and

ly over low heat until the temperature

thick as strained yogurt and add it to

bake until caramelized.

reaches 185F/85C. (Do not let it

the mixture. Stir well and spread the

boil.) Remove from heat and immedi-

cream in equal amounts in individual

ately pour the mixture into a clean

ramekins or a baking pan. Serve with

pot.

baked apricots.

116 GREEKGOURMETRAVELER

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