Greece provides the myth, the traditions and the continuity for what we do
In this land, Gaea (the Earth) had an eminent position in economy, philosophy and religion. She was the Supreme Goddess, the Great Mother. In Greek mythology, there were gods with a direct relation to Nature, like Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, Artemis, the protector of wildlife, and Dionysos, the god of vine and wine.
The dietary habits of the ancient Greeks were characterized by simplicity and frugality. Their foundation was the so-called “Mediterranean triad”: oil, wheat, wine. Barley bread dipped in wine, accompanied by olives was a typical first meal of the day.
DINNER WITH FRIENDS
Dining for the Greeks has always been a social event. From the ancient Greek banquets and symposia, up until today, we prefer to dine with friends. You don’t see many cultures where eating off a common plate is the rule on a table, whether at home or in restaurants. For the Greeks having a meal alone only satisfies hunger, while eating with company means sharing tastes and experiences.
COOKING THROUGH THE CENTURIES
Olives and olive oil have always been an integral part of the Greek diet. In ancient Greece, the olive tree was considered to be sacred, synonymous to light and life. The Greeks were the first to cultivate the olive tree in the European Mediterranean region. Recent excavation in Santorini has brought to light petrified olive leaves, which, based on the latest carbon dating methods, appear to be over 60,000 years old. Furthermore, palatial archives recovered in Knossos (Crete), Pylos, and Mycenae (Peloponnese) provide numerous references – in Linear B writing – concerning the cultivation of olive trees, as well as the trade routes of olive oil across the prehistoric Aegean Sea.
Wine is still an everyday ingredient in our food; for the ancient Greeks it was part of breakfast, let alone the other meals of the day. Olive oil and wine also had a place in ancient medicine, since their medicinal properties, which have been today scientifically established, had already been observed.
Our country developed an economy based on the olive tree, the vine and wine. The olive and the olive oil are still today our most traditional, strongest exports.
THE GOODNESS OF GREEK FOOD
Unique products of exceptional quality and taste
Greece is a country blessed with fertile soil and excellent mild climate. The products produced in Greece are internationally recognized for their top quality and their high nutritional value. In our country, thanks to the particular climatic conditions, the natural way of farming is the norm.As a result, our agricultural products keep all their aroma and taste. Each piece of land has its own microclimate, which means that natural products vary from place to place. They all have a common characteristic, though: they are truly delicious!
THE "SECRETS" OF GREEK CUISINE
Traditional agricultural products are an integral part of Greek tradition. The classic Greek cuisine is rich in flavor, thanks to the pure products of the Greek land and the herbs of Greek nature. The herbs, usually wild, and harvested from the mountains, are famous for their taste, aroma and healing nutritional properties.
Unique products of exceptional quality and taste, such as olives, olive oil, cheese, wine, honey, vinegar, spices and fish, are the basis of traditional Greek cuisine, which can meet the high-taste expectations and nutritional needs of modern society. The “secrets” of Greek cuisine are: quality, fresh ingredients, Greek olive oil, the use of herbs and spices, and simplicity.
GASTRONOMY IS AN AUTHENTIC CULTURAL ELEMENT
The international term “gastronomy” is of Greek etymology, a combination of the words gaster (stomach) and nomos (law). By gastronomy, we characterize the art of enjoying fine food, from the selection of ingredients, and the preparation of food up until serving.
Gastronomy is one of the authentic cultural elements of a region. It highlights the particularities of taste of a local cuisine, and it is often linked to the qualitative characteristics of its society, “revealing” elements of its history, customs and traditions.
The true way to taste Greek gastronomy is to travel to our country and experience unique flavors, images and feelings firsthand. In the meantime, PELASGAEA can offer you a “taste” of Greece through its products. The invitation to visit our country is always open!
Fresher, healthier, tastier, and heart-warming!
People who live around the Mediterranean basin have been proven to have a higher life expectancy and fewer heart disease problems than those living in other Western societies. Research concludes that this has to do primarily with the Mediterranean diet and the use of olive oil.
Based on “food patterns typical of Crete, much of the rest of Greece and southern Italy in the early 1960s”, this diet, along with regular physical activity, emphasizes “abundant plant foods, fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert and olive oil as the principal source of fat”.
THE CRETAN CUISINE
It is the basis of this diet. The core of the cuisine consists of food derived from natural sources. Food of animal origin was less important. In general, people consumed seasonal and local products, available which underwent minimal or no processing. The traditional cuisine was widespread in the island until the 1960s when, with improving living standards, alimentary patterns changed towards more meat and other animal-derived produce.
“The use of olive oil is crucial to the Mediterranean Food Pyramid: Although typical Western and Mediterranean diets can have a similar total fat content, the Mediterranean Diet is high in health-protective mono-unsaturated fat.”
Fresh and dried fruits, legumes, endemic wild herbs and aromatic plants, and rough cereals, were consumed in great amounts during that period. Dairy products were consumed on a daily basis in low to moderate quantities. Poultry and fish were consumed on a weekly basis in moderate quantities, while red meat was consumed only a few times a month. The main supply of fat was effectuated by olive oil, which was amply used not only in salads but also in cooking. Red wine was used in moderation to accompany meals. Finally, the most common dessert was fresh fruits, while sweets (the traditional honey-based pastry) were reserved for special occasions.
The use of olive oil is crucial to the Mediterranean Food Pyramid: although typical Western and Mediterranean diets can have a similar total fat content, the Mediterranean Diet is high in health-protective mono-unsaturated fat. Replacing saturated fats (animal fats like butter and lard) with olive oil seems to make a difference in health prevention.
CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
The Mediterranean Diet however, is a lot more than just food. It was inscribed in 2013 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Its importance is highlighted in the following excerpt by the Organisation:
“Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a moment of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity and a way of life guided by respect for diversity…”