Salt has been sprinkled over food throughout the centuries and Greece is no exception. There are places in the world that derived their wealth from salt mining, and its use in Greece can be traced back to ancient times. It is unclear why and how the ancient peoples throughout the world started mining and using salt.
Back in Ancient Greece, however, salt wasn’t looked at as a common season. It was used sparingly, but over the centuries, its importance grew. By the 5th Century B.C., salt was regularly being used to preserve whole fish, and this is a practice that’s still done. Here’s some more information as to how the Greeks use salt
Salt Was Considered a Luxury
Back in Ancient Greece, salt was considered a luxury item, which is why it wasn’t used as the main seasoning in the cooking back then. It was relatively difficult to obtain it, as most of the salt found in Ancient Greece was mined on the island of Salamis. Although it doesn’t seem like a great distance now, it was considerable during ancient times since it was shipped using boats before distributing it to the rest of Greece.
Salting Whole Fish
One of the earliest uses of salt was to use it to preserve fish. As mentioned above, by the 5th Century B.C., salted fish was becoming a staple food in Greece. In fact, the salted anchovies that were are so familiar with today were served even then! Whether Greeks salt the fish themselves or use canned and salted anchovies that they purchased in the store, these fish aren’t normally eaten as is. They’re usually rinsed with water and then marinated with olive oil, lemon juice, herbs such as parsley, and maybe a sprinkling of red wine vinegar.
Using Salted Cod
Salted cod is another product that can still be found in Greece. Codfish are much larger than anchovies, and salted cod can either be purchased as a whole fish or in smaller pieces. The fact that cod has been overfished is possibly evidence as to how popular it has been, and salting it was a natural way to preserve it. Salted cod can be kept unrefrigerated for long periods of time. When ready to use, moisture was added to it, which served to both reconstitute the fish and to also remove some of the salt. For a time, salted cod was considered a major protein source since meat was often hard to come by. Referred to as bakaliaros, salted cod is still part of the cuisine. Today, it is most often reconstituted in milk or water, breaded, and fried in olive oil.
As you can see, salt has been an important part of Greek cuisine since Ancient Greece. Although it was considered a luxury item back then, salting whole fish became a fairly widespread practice. Salted anchovies and salted cod are two common fishes that have been an integral part of Greek food for centuries and some version of both of these foods can be found all over the world.
Sunny valleys rich with volcanic soil, a Mediterranean climate of mild breezes, Greece has ideal conditions for making wine. It’s no wonder that vineyards have been thriving there for thousands of years.
Despite its long history of grape cultivation, Greece was long overlooked by traveling wine connoisseurs. The country has finally begun to take its place as a world-class wine destination. Here are some of the top wine tasting destinations to visit in Greece if you enjoy wine.
The region around Nemea is a classic destination for wine enthusiasts. The mountains and valleys create ideal climates for various grapes. Differences in elevations and direct sunlight bring out the many personalities of the local grape, called Agiorgitiko.
Vineyards at the bottom of the valley produce a strong, red wine. Those near the peaks, around 9000 feet, create some of the best wines. The most sought-after grapes grow in fields on the hills and moderate slopes.
You may want to visit the island in September for one of the most popular wine festivals in Greece, “Great Days of Nemea.” During this festival, people gather to enjoy the newest wine releases and to celebrate the harvest. While here, you can also enjoy local food specialties and tour parts of the region.
Nearby, the quaint harbor town of Nafplio not only boasts great opportunities for drinking wine, it also has several hotels that will provide a base for your stay. Spend your evenings sampling wine and food pairings at the many restaurants. You may even reserve a day to explore the cobblestone streets.
The Greek Islands
There are several islands that are known for their wine. In Santorini, a massive volcanic eruption preserved the history of winemaking. Grape seeds and vats from the Bronze Age were covered in ashes and pumice. The volcanic debris created ideal soil conditions for today’s vineyards. Today, the island is especially known for its Assyrtiko, a crisp, dry white varietal.
The history of winemaking in Crete traces back to the Minoans. Production took a hit when the tiny phylloxera insect decimated the island’s agriculture in the 1970s. The vineyards were replanted, and Crete is reemerging as a center for wine production. Its Vilana grape makes some of the most popular white wine in Greece.
The island of Rhodes may have the best climate in Greece for producing wines because it enjoys some of the sunniest weather and shortest periods of rain. It has long been noted as a producer of fine wines. The Mandelaria grape makes a delicious red wine, an anomaly in this region where white wine rules.
Naousa owes its reputation to the rich soil in the foothills of northern Greece. It lacks the Mediterranean climate of other Greek wine regions. The interplay of mountains and sea creates much colder winters. Only some grapes can ripen in this climate.
This region was the first in Greece to receive an official appellation title in 1971.Its namesake wine is made from Macedonia’s most popular red-wine grape, Xynomavro. High-quality Naousa is one of the world’s finest red wines.
Greek wineries are known for their dedication to tradition and also for their quality. Visit each region to understand the great history of wine production.
Christmas in Greece
Greece, endowed with beauty and a rich tradition, invites you to go on a special Christmas journey through all the senses; to taste, smell, see and feel the authentic Yuletide spirit through a plethora of seasonal delights.
The first snows of the winter transform mountain villages, their traditional dwellings, and spiraling peaks, into a scene fit for a Christmas card. Icing sugar-dusted fir trees; crisp, clear air; smoke wafting gently out of chimney tops from the roaring log fires in every heart; the smell of sweetmeats and pastries; rosy faces lit up in anticipation of the coming festivities and time-honored customs. And on top of this, the mild winter in our country guarantees a generous helping of sunshine to accompany you on countryside walks and to add that extra touch of joie de vivre to the celebrations in cities, villages, and islands all over Greece.
Athens always has a grand welcome in store for Christmas. The illuminated central squares and streets ring with music and merriment. All corners of the city- its hotels, shops, cafes, and restaurants- are bedecked with thousands of twinkling fairy lights. Syntagma Square with its gleaming Christmas tree, carousel and other children’s rides, confectionary stalls and numerous events leads the whole city into the holiday mood. The National Garden is transformed into a dreamland of discovery that enchants both young and old alike.You’ll be carried away by the intoxicating, fairytale atmosphere and as a visitor, you’ll soon find yourself immersed in the jollities, with exactly the same verve and enthusiasm as the Athenians around you. There are literally countless opportunities for recreation and entertainment in cultural hubs like Technopolis and other such venues. Theatrical performances, music concerts, outdoor events, charity bazaar s as well as the nightlife; whatever you choose has that special Christmas sparkle.
Patra becomes a children’s paradise at Christmas. Your little ones will adore the fairytale village that is now a seasonal fixture at the port. Weaving a little Christmas magic with all their favorite stories, it makes an irresistible festive treat.
Hopping on the famous rack-and-pinion railway, walking the town’s alleyways while taking great refreshing gulps of mountain air, visiting the Monastery of Agia Lavra and, of course, skiing or riding snowmobiles down the slopes of Helmos are just a few of the things you can do in this historic town.
Pelion enthralls its visitors with its heavenly beauty whatever the time of year and Christmas is no exception. It only takes a few snowflakes to settle to make the perfect winter wonderland. Take a winter stroll through gorgeous villages and forests so dense the sun rays cannot penetrate them. Finally, don’t forget to make some time for fun and games in the snow at its ski center.
Elati – Pertouli
Fir trees, snow-covered meadows, the scent of wood and wet soil, a hot brew in a chalet or elegant café, sleigh rides at the ski center of Pertouli. This is an area in the heart of Greece whose scenery can rival anything seen in the Alps.Combine your stay with a visit to a special Christmas fun park in Trikala, the Mill of the Elves. Definitely a major winter highlight for the city, it consists of various rides, children’s activities and artistic events. It goes without saying that it all revolves around Santa’s workshop. Even now the elves will be beavering away to make the story of this Christmas as transfixing for Mum and Dad as it is for the kids.
You’ll get the feeling here that the lake is practically untouched by human hand and, as a veil of white mist swirls up from its waters, this mysterious and captivating location makes an ideal romantic Christmas retreat. Definitely for lovers of pristine nature and those who hanker after more traditional ways of living.
Traditional and unpretentious, mountainous Metsovo enchants its visitors at Christmas with its authentic atmosphere and copious amounts of the white fluffy stuff!
Agios Athanasios – Kaimaktsalan
In Agios Athanasios, the beautiful village with its buildings of typical Macedonian style, you can celebrate Christmas in a snowy landscape of astounding beauty. And naturally, the ascent to Kaimaktsalan ski center is a must if you don’t want to miss all the fun on the slopes.
Illuminations twinkle through the misty air; wonderful aromas have you yearning for all the Christmas treats; the traditionally decorated ship takes pride of place in Aristotelous square; groups of friends gallivant around town in high spirits and restaurants overflow with customers. The city pulls out all the stops at this most wonderful time of the year. Everyone and everything skips to the festive beat and a relaxed, joyful demeanor will unlock all the magic for you.
Whether your intention is to head for the ski slopes by day and the village bars and clubs by night or simply take relaxing strolls through magnificent countryside, Arahova guarantees an unforgettable Christmas.
Oniroupoli- The Dream town of Drama
Christmas is coming and Santa is in charge! In the central square of the city, he’s taken up temporary residence in a village straight out of your children’s sweetest dreams. And he’s brought his elves along to liven things up just in time for the big day.
Christmas customs in Greece
On Christmas and New years eve, up and down the country, neighborhoods harken to the voices of children singing carols, heralding the happy news of Christ’s birth.In Greek homes, a flurry of baking means that delicious aromas hang permanently in the air. The Christopsomo, blessed bread, is prepared for Christmas and Vasilopita, a special pie with a lucky coin hidden inside, for New Year’s Day. And no dining room would be complete without a bowl of kourambies and melomakarona, traditional Christmas treats, to tempt your guests throughout the holiday.Finally, what better way to invoke the season’s spirit than watching children hanging baubles on the tree and then shrieking with delight when the lights are turned on for the first time. It has been known for some Greek families to get their tree up and decorated by the middle of November, such is their enthusiasm to get the celebrations underway.
In Greece, we love and cherish Christmas. That’s why everything comes together to make the Christmas you have always dreamt of. The one in your heart!
We have all heard that ‘an apple a day, keeps the doctor away’, but lately, more and more studies show that wine can bring many benefits to the body and make a significant contribution to maintaining our good health.
So how can wine help us when we drink it regularly, but in moderation? Let’s see in detail!
1. LIVE LONGER!
It is known that in Ikaria people live longer than anywhere else in the world. Daily consumption of wine is part of a diet that can enrich the lives of those who follow it because it is less reliant on animal feed and more on plant foods. The inhabitants of Crete and Sardinia, known for their longevity, enjoy red wine almost daily, appealing to the main part of their anti-aging lifestyle. A 2007 study shows that procyanidins, the compounds found in tannins of the red wine, contribute to the promotion of cardiovascular health. Wines produced from vineyards in areas of south-west France and Sardinia, where people tend to live longer, have particularly high concentrations of this compound.
In addition, researchers at Harvard Medical School have revealed that resveratrol directly activates a protein that promotes health and longevity in animals. Resveratrol protects the body from aging conditions.
2. IMPROVES YOUR MEMORY!
Resveratrol can help improve short-term memory. After just 30 minutes of testing, the researchers found that participants taking resveratrol could better memorize words and show faster performance in the brain that is related to the formation of new memories, learning, and emotions.
3. HELPS TO REMOVE YOUR SPOTS!
Resveratrol is better and more effective in inhibiting the growth of acne-causing bacteria than benzoyl peroxide found in most creams and other anti-acne products. Moreover, it works even better when combined with benzoyl peroxide. So far, wine consumption is the best way to take advantage of its properties as its topical application as an ingredient in creams has not proven effective. In other words, it is best to drink good wine, like those you will find at vladikaswines.gr by buying expensive creams with the main ingredients of wine.
4. HELPS YOU TO BE FIT!
What do you prefer – to drink wine or to melt in the gym? Scientists at Alberta University in Canada have found that resveratrol improves the function of the heart, brain, and bones, and even offers benefits similar to those of regular gym visits. In other words, if you drink a little wine and go to the gym, you will quickly acquire the body of your dreams. If on the other you just want to stay fit, then remember that the wine is just as effective as the gym so make the choice according to your tastes!
5. HELPS YOU TO COMBAT DEPRESSION
Do you know that wine helps you relax, but also can guard against depression? Researchers in Spain found that men and women who drank two to seven glasses of wine a week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Even taking into account the lifestyle factors that could affect their findings, reducing the risk of depression is evident.
6. KEEPS YOUR EYES HEALTHY
Resveratrol stops the out-of-control development of blood vessels in the eye, according to the Washington University Medical School in St. Louis. This may help treat diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration associated with age. Note that these studies were done in mice, so the dose for humans is not yet clear.
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Nafplio has charming Venetian heritage and is one of the most beautiful towns in the area of Argolis (in eastern Peloponnese) as well as one of the most romantic cities all over Greece. Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834.
A sovereign naval nation-city in ancient times, Nafplio was founded and named (according to Greek mythology) by hero Nafplios, father of Palamidis.
A target for Franks, Venetians, and Ottomans, they all repeatedly tried, and succeeded quite a few times, to conquer it.
In 1829, after the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire, Nafplio was chosen as the first capital of the new-founded state and democracy. The palace was on the square in front of today’s town hall.
In 1833 the capital moved to Athens, the town remaining capital of the prefecture.
It occupies a knockout location, on a small port beneath the towering Palamidi fortress, and is graced with attractive narrow streets, elegant Venetian houses, neoclassical mansions and interesting museums.
It’s also full of quayside cafes, posh boutiques and many comfortable hotels and guesthouses, and it has a lovely romantic downtown with cozy streets – it is a great place to stay for radial traveling around Peloponnese.
Nafplio is built in two parts, the old, covering all the peninsula and the new, expanding to the north and the east.
Upon your arrival you will probably drop off at the central bus station, which is at the east end of the old town, or at the port, hosting a large parking area, at the north seaside of the town.
It is sometimes confusing to some that the hill overlooking the town is on the south of the town and the sea on the north. But once you notice it is easy to walk around the orderly shaped blocks.
By Porto Planet
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Ouzo has a special place in Greek cuisine and culture and it is an original Greek aperitif. In Greece especially, it is the perfect choice to accompany sea food delicacies in a seaside setting, with good friends. Tradition traces it back to 14th century Athonian monasteries, when by chance some monks mixed alcohol with anise.
Ouzo is a product with protected designation of origin (PDO) within the European Union (EU). Initially it was manufactured in the regions of Tyrnavos, and Kalamata, while at the end of 19th century Lesvos island is the most famous nationally and internationally ouzo producer being the company of Plomari. There is a production of 7 million liters each year, of which 80% is consumed within Greek borders.
Tradition and cuisine
When someone tastes ouzo with mezes they surely will not forget the moment. Moments like those are spent amongst good company, with loved and cherished people. Mezes are served on a big plate in the middle of the table and everyone shares food from the same plate, that’s why one Meze is never enough, kind of like ‘Lays’!
Traditional “Ouzeri” (ouzo specialized taverns) are everywhere in Greece. Ouzo is served in small shaped bottles together with ice cubes on a separate plate. You can drink it plain – without water, just ice – or you can drink it mixed with water, depends what you prefer better. As already mentioned mezes follow the drinks.
A big variety of sea food is mostly eaten, but also some meat plates, green vegetables, small Greek type pies and Greek cheese. This type of lunch or even in special occasions, a night out combined with good company can last for hours.
Its unique flavor has the ability to remain undistorted of the various aromas’ of the Meze plates that accompany it. Thus it becomes a choice of food lovers, those who like good food, those who like to enjoy a meal in the shade of great Plane tree, or along a beautiful Greek island’s coastal sea front tavern.
Ouzo and its ‘ancestor’ tsipouro are rightfully identified with Greece and its people.