Very exciting news as my Greek Cookery Class and supperclubs are mentioned in The Guardian, which has an insider’s guide to Greece its culture, music, food and beaches amongst other topics covered. It’s a wonderful potpourri of not only the obvious tourist attractions, but more authentic spots, cities, islands and places to visit. I’ve written the food section and the full article can be read in the print version of The Guardian in the Travel pages. Alternatively by following the link you can also see all the pictures and text on the insider’s guide to Greece: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2011/jun/04/greece-insiders-guide-holidays#FOR%20FOOD
Here below is my contributon on food in Greece from The Guardian 4 June 2011!
To find the one Greek destination with the best food is about as easy as finding Atlantis, but here goes.
Dishes from Crete, the Cyclades and the influx of 20th-century refugees from Constantinople, Smyrna and Pontus who have introduced their traditional foods (meatballs, stuffed tomatoes/peppers, dolmadakia, bulgur, peinerli and varenika) to the region make Thessaloniki the perfect city to sample Greek gastronomy.
One place I visit regularly is the bougatsatzidiko (cream pastry shop) forbougatsa me krema – a vanilla-flavoured semolina custard between crispy filo sheets topped with icing sugar and cinnamon. It is heaven for breakfast. Serraikon (Vasileos Irakleou 35, serraikon.com/en) has a typical selection of these pies and pastries.
Also try Vary Peponi (Apellou St, just off Nauarinou Square), an intimate restaurant with quality home-cooked dishes, lots of options for vegetarians/vegans – superb pulses. B. (Veta), the cafe-restaurant at the Byzantine Museum (brestaurant.gr/), offers more sophisticated Mediterranean food, while Hatzifotiou patisserie (Paulou Mela St,hatzifotiou.gr) has the best baklava and other syrupy desserts.
Santorini, the island of romance, is the home of fava, a delicious and nutritious yellow split-pea purée. It is also known for its wine, distinctive cherry tomatoes, white aubergines, and the fact that vegetables grow on the dry volcanic land. The 218˚ cafe-restaurant (218.gr) in Oia, in the north, has Greek cuisine with Cretan and Cycladic flavours and amazing views across the Aegean.
In the eastern Aegean lies Ikaria, named after Icarus. Ikaria’s population are famous for living to a ripe age, on a diet based on vegetables, olive oil, honey and horta (wild greens). Try grilled octopus in red kidney bean stew. As befits the birthplace of Dionysos, the god of wine, Ikaria has an organic winery and farm, which has three-bedroom stone houses to rent (from €80 for two, ikarianwine.gr) and holds wine or cookery classes. Ikaria is, not surprisingly, famous for its village parties and festivals, orpanigyria.
Wherever you visit in Greece, try local cheeses. Many are labelled PDO (protected designation of origin), indicating that the cheese has been produced in a traditional way. Try kefalograviera, batsos, kefalotyri, ladotyri from Lesvos and metsovone.
• EasyJet (easyjet.com) flies from Gatwick to Thessaloniki. The Andromeda, a boutique hotel in a 1920s listed building, has doubles from £60 through LateRooms.com (0844 774 1001, laterooms.com).EasyJet flies from Gatwick to Santorini. Stay in a stylish two-bedroom windmill from €280 a night (Our Windmills, +30 694 458 2428,windmill.gr). EasyJet flies from Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh to Athens. From there, fly or take the ferry to Ikaria. Visit island-ikaria.comfor more information
Elisavet Sotiriadou is a writer and chef. She runs Greek cookery courses in London at Leith’s Cookery School, and supperclubs (see facebook.com/GreekCookery)