Τρίτη 17 Οκτωβρίου 2017

Ouzo Appetizers: a Flavourful Ritual

 Cheers, or as we say in Greek “Ya mas!”

Ouzo is Greece’s national spirit, a strong anise flavoured drink, reminiscent of Greek summer.

Greeks drink it along with good friends, either straight or watered down, with plenty of ice and always accompanied by delicious appetizers, called ‘meze’ in Greek.

The strong flavour of the spirit actually ‘begs’ for a spicy, salty, or even sourish ‘meze’, usually served on little plates decorating the table’s surface right before you start eating and drinking. 
Ouzo is served bulk or in a carafe, in tall spindly glasses.

With its stimulating and strong anise aroma it promises to tickle your taste buds. Greeks are very fond of gathering with friends around a table eating, drinking, laughing and toasting each other.

Ouzo simply completes the picture and helps out in getting the spirits higher and higher. Traditionally restaurants will bring you another meze every time you order a new carafe of ouzo.

First servings usually consist of olives, cured sardines, some cheese, pickles or cold sliced meats pinned with toothpicks and at every round of ouzo the appetisers differ.

Of course the variety of the meze may vary from one location to the other and from one season to the next.
Flavours will differ between a mountainous village in winter and the ones you’ll taste in a seaside village in summer.

 Ouzo drink is much better when it is accompanied by the little plates filled with delicious tidbits!

Taste the seafood plates such as octopus (which are first hanged in the sun and then grilled on the barbeque), saganaki shrimps (tomato sauce, cheese and shrimps cooked in a pan,) steamed mussels, marinated anchovies with parsley and garlic, fried calamari (squid) and a variety of shellfish served with lemon juice.

Next on the menu is anything that is cured: sardines, mackerel, sliced meats (such as salamaki or pastourmas,) strong cheese (such as ladotyri, kefalotyri and grilled feta with tomato and hot pepper.) This ‘drinking-spree’ is without a doubt incomplete if you don’t accompany it with tzatziki (a creamy appetiser made with yogurt, cucumber and garlic), eggplant salad or tyrokafteri (creamed feta cheese with kerato spicy peppers.)

If you can’t decide which one of all you want you can order a variety of the above mentioned ‘mezes’ and savour a little bit of everything!
(source: Visit Greece)

Short film from Greece wins at the 2017 World Tourism Organisation Awards (VIDEO)

A wonderful short film about Greece in all four seasons won the top prize in the European category of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) international video competition. 

The film was submitted by the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) and was directed by Andonis Theocharis Kioukas.

With visitor numbers to Greece at an all time high, the video and award is a timely reminder that Greece is at the forefront of tourism and cultural experiences in Europe.

Watch the award winning film here:

Greek Food Products Take Center Stage at Anuga Fair

Over 260 Greek food product companies participated in this year’s Anuga food fair held last week in Cologne, Germany, where the world’s finest delicacies went on show.

The Greek companies participated in the exhibition under the umbrella of Enterprise Greece with the aim to expand into new markets and boost their exports.

The event was attended by some 7,500 food and beverage ventures from 110 countries featuring the largest range of gourmet and delicatessen products on the market.

Under the motto “Invest in Taste”, companies, SMEs and cooperatives offering everything, from Greek olive oil and honey to herbs, cheese and raisins met with international buyers with the aim to forge alliances and strategic partnerships.

According to Enterprise Greece CEO Elias Athanasiou, the Anuga meetings paved the way for Greek products – to be branded under a new 35 million euro branding program – to enter markets outside the EU via the catering industry, specialty stores, restaurants and special menus.
The next Anuga fair will be held on October 5, 2019 in Cologne.

Thomas Cook expands presence in Greece for 2018..

Tour Operator says country is promising destination 

Thomas Cook is expending its presence in Greece in the summer of 2018.

The group dubs Greece s one of its most promising in the Mediterranean in the tourism sector in terms of projected growth for 2018.

Greece was a destination in the Mediterranean that stood out this summer. 
 Thomas Cook’s bookings for Greek destinations rose by 24% in the summer of 2017 compared to the summer of 2016”, pointed out Martin Ratchford from the tour operator Thomas Cook’s financial team.

Mediterranean Cooking: Fasolada (bean soup)

By: Ioanna Stamoulou / Greek Classics, Meals.

Fasolada is considered Greece’s national dish and is definitely one of the most traditional recipes of Greek cuisine. 
Every Greek family eats this dish at least once per month, especially during winter.

Serves: 6 Preparation time: 10 mins Cooks in:1.20 mins Ready in: 1.30 mins

500 g beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2-3 carrots, sliced into small round pieces
1-2 tablespoon of tomato paste
½ cup chopped celery + some more for serving
½ red pepper
1 red chili pepper
1 cup of olive oil
salt, freshly ground pepper

Step 1
Place the beans in a saucepan with plenty of cold water to cover them. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to medium and parboil for 30-35 minutes, until slightly tender. Drain in colander and set aside.

Step 2
Fill the saucepan with water up to the middle. Boil the beans with the onion and leek until they are soften and then add the carrots.

Step 3
Add the parboiled beans and boil. Then add tomato paste, celery, red pepper, salt, pepper, chili pepper and continue cooking for about 15 minutes more or until the soup becomes thick and creamy soup.
Step 4
Serve this traditional Greek bean soup (fasolada) while still steaming hot with feta cheese and bread.

Σάββατο 7 Οκτωβρίου 2017

New Review on Tripadvisor: 'Best stay in Plakias'

Together with my wife we spent in Plakias Suites almost full week. Both of us loved this place because:
Location – great! Very close to the beach (can’t be closer). Close to many popular beaches. Yet, a bit distance from city (village) centre – i.e. away from tourist crowds and noise.
Hosts – Eleni and Giorgos are very nice and welcoming hosts! They provide advice about where to eat, where to go, local specificities, nearby beaches, etc.
Facilities – looks and feels like brand new. Bedroom, shower, kitchenette, furniture, bed… Everything!
This is our second visit to Plakias, so we can compare. And Plakias Suites will be our location for our next visit!
  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
See here: TripAdvisor
 Plakiassuites: Ranked #1 of 49 Speciality Lodging in Plakias, Retyhymno - Crete!
  106 Reviews Certificate of Excellence

Photo of the day: October in Crete, Greece

Best destination for a family holiday in October!

October the weather in Crete usually is hot enough to enjoy the beach..

 Temperatures can vary from a low 16°C to a high 26°C with an average of 22°C. 

Κυριακή 1 Οκτωβρίου 2017

Photo of the Day: Skinaria beach from above

Skinaria beach is 33 km south of Rethymnon, and belongs to the area of ​​Plakias.

The beach is relatively unknown to most, but for many it is a paradise and they don't hesitate to classify it as the best beach in Crete!
It is a small beach with fine sand and crystal clear deep waters.
Also, the clarity of the water is truly impressive and exceeds 40m. horizontally!!