Tag Archives: heirloom produce

In the navel of the world, Delphi, Greece

With the view from my room at Iniohos Hotel & Restaurant, Delphi, 700 meters/2,300 feet up Mount Parnassus, overlooking the Pleistos Valley and the Corinthian Gulf it’s no wonder the Oracle of Delphi could glimpse the future!

room at the Iniohos Hotel

Yannis Papathanasiou, second generation owner of Iniohos, is as equally fascinated as I with the interplay of ancient regional culture and history with the development of the region’s food. He decries the weakening of traditional food making techniques and availability of such products as cheese from Crete using an enzyme from fresh figs, and natural yeast made from boiling grapes to syrup creating natural yeast used in their breads.

Corinthian Gulf

Yannis shares a feeling frequently expressed to this well-Greek-traveled journalist that Greek tourism in general has not concentrated enough on developing local tourism that cover these interest – popular culture/”people culture,” the history – not simply ancient – and local foods rarely found outside of the region.

Shortly after lunch, Yannis was off to food markets in Athens – 200 plus mile round trip – to pick up special ingredients from trusted purveyors and special spices from India. He didn’t arrive back until well after midnight. India?

lunch at Iniohos Hotel & Restaurant

A lunch of flaky spiral spanakopita, local grilled smoked sausages, tomato and feta salad all seemed very typical for a traditional Greek restaurant. Yet then an aromatic plate of Indian squash and peppers arrived. The executive chef at Iniohos is from India, and there’s a reason.

Delphi was a magnet for the entire pan-Hellenic world beyond what we now know as Greece. It was always an international city bringing together believers in the Pantheon. Today tourists from China, India and Japan flock to marvel at Delphi – as well as many other ancient Greek sites. After all, at one time all these regions were contemporaries – allies and enemies – always tied by the commerce of the great trade routes.

looking down on the Sanctuary of Athena

Hotel Iniohos sits high on the steep Mount Parnassus hillsides in the heart of Delphi. Delphi’s founding is shrouded in mist dating from the 1400s BC. Yet by the apex of the classical era (600s – 400s BC) and even into Macedonian and Roman empire days Delphi held an unparalleled position – and earned great wealth ­ – within the belief system of the Greek pantheon. Considered the “navel of the world” to ancient Greeks Delphi was more important than the gods’ home of Mount Olympus. Delphi was their Vatican.

Greek city-states kept treasuries at Delphi to pay for services

Pythia, the honorary name given to the Oracle of Delphi, held sessions from the stunningly positioned Temple of Apollo. There is evidence of volcanic fumes that seep up from deep in this tectonic active region that may have induced euphoria, even hallucinations. The Oracle’s pronouncements on the petitions and predictions asked were often cryptic – almost rants – and open to wide interpretations. Yet listened to with baited breath and frequently followed with auspicious outcomes.

Temple of Apollo
The theater at Delphi

Delphi was more than just the Oracle and became a commercial religious city of pilgrimage. Temples, sanctuaries, a vast theater with panoramic views of the valley and sacred springs dot the site.

The Thelos at the Sanctuary of Athena (4th century BC) in Delphi is iconic. It was often the first temple many pilgrims saw when entering the vast complex of the Oracle. Considered in its own day a masterpiece of Greek architectural symmetry and polychrome decoration it had 20 outer and 10 inner marble columns. Devotees of Athena still come to pay homage and pray to the goddess.

The Thelos at the Sanctuary of Athena

The ancient site of Delphi – a mere 20-minute walk or short taxi ride from the center of town – is extensive and built on the hills of Mount Parnassus, so walking within the site is essential. There is a modest admission charge to the main complex – the Temple of Apollo – including the excellent Archaeological Museum of Delphi. There is no admission charge to enter the Thelos at the Sanctuary of Athena, which is another easy 20-minute walk down the hill. You do want to see it all so allow yourself at least 3-hours.

treasures at the Archaeological Museum of Delphi

The modern Archaeological Museum of Delphi caps this UNESCO World Heritage Site and is recessed into the mountain constructed of the same honey colored marble as the temples. Much of the art were gifts from around the pan-Hellenic world to the Oracle and priests of the temples, or burial objects for those fortunate enough to be interred in this sacred land. It’s superbly arranged in chronological order from 2,000-year-old bronze figurines to the eerily beautiful statue to Antinoos (2nd century AD). This remembrance to a tragic gay love story is sculpted in marble smooth as wax with rivulets of hair delicate and life-like.

statue of Antinoos (2nd century AD)

On the morning I walked the grounds of the Thelos at the Sanctuary of Athena, a group of women – not a staged event – were dressed in modern versions of ancient robes chanting and meditating to the goddess Athena. It seemed strange at first. Then it all became real; they were giving thanks  at the navel of the world to mother Earth.

When you go: Modern toll-roads and many bus companies connect Athens with Delphi.

Disclaimer: the author was a guest of Iniohos Hotel & Restaurant. Travel arrangements were made by the MTCgroup

Temple of Apollo

 

You can read more articles by Marc d’Entremont at:

Hellenic News of America

Travel Pen and Palate Argentina

A farmers market in Manhattan

The culinary arts intersect with the performing arts in New York City.

Tucker Square Greenmarket
Tucker Square Greenmarket
 Who would except to find farmers markets in Manhattan? Yet they are becoming increasingly popular.  The Tucker Square Thursday Greenmarket offers locally grown produce directly across for the iconic Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
at the Tucker Square Greenmarket
at the Tucker Square Greenmarket
at the Tucker Square Greenmarket
at the Tucker Square Greenmarket
at the Tucker Square Greenmarket
at the Tucker Square Greenmarket
at the Tucker Square Greenmarket
at the Tucker Square Greenmarket
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center

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Postcards from seven Greek Islands: have fun this summer

Kythnos island
Kythnos island

It is an undeniable cliché that the islands of Greece are firmly part of the great destinations of the world. It’s an extra pleasure to be a guest on one of the lesser known islands, Kythnos.  The island is ideal for tourists who seek tranquility. Five photo perfect villages dot the island and all are easy to reach by car. Their compact size makes them enjoyable to wander on foot. Kythnos being a classic Cyclades mountaintop, driving the roads means going either up or down until on the spine of the island. The panoramic views are spectacular. Read my article in the Hellenic News of America,  Kythnos: small island with a big Greek heart.

 

Ios Island
Ios Island

Homer chose Ios as his final resting ground. His tranquil burial site on the herb blanketed north hills of the island offers a panoramic view of the Aegean. In the 21st century thousands of young tourist in July and August choose the island for its clubs, resorts, secluded beaches and music scene. Yet even at the height of the summer season and certainly the remaining ten months of the year, the tranquility Homer enjoyed for millenniums is the genuine character of Ios.  my article in the Hellenic News of America,  Slow down on the Greek party island of Ios   tells you how to still have fun!

 

Paros Island
Paros Island

Flowering shrubs, trees, herbs and succulents blanket the hillsides while clear Aegean water laps Paros Island’s shore. Classic white villages accented with blue are surrounded by soil envied in the Cyclades. Buildings jumble upon one another like blocks and many pre-industrial stone streets are pedestrian only, too narrow for anything more mechanized than a scooter.  Ancient and protected grape vines thrive along with winter wheat, olives, fruit and produce. Please read about Savor culinary and historic Paros Island in the Hellenic News of America.

 

Milos, Greece
Milos, Greece

From volcanic cooking at Cafe Restaurant Sirocco on the island of Milos to Barriello’s 150-year-old vaulted  basement in ancient Trypiti, the culinary scene in Milos is part of a trend among young Greek chefs to preserve grandmother’s recipes but tweak them for the 21st century. Read about this gastronomic find in the Hellenic News of America in Eating Milos: culinary stars in a Cycladic galaxy

 

Sifnos Island
Sifnos Island

The steep Sifnos Island hillsides that rise from the Aegean Sea are crisscrossed by dozens of centuries old foot and donkey paths. These tended rock walled paths still connect island towns. With the decline in the use of donkeys, Sifnos tourism promotes them as ideal walking trails, although a hiker will have to make way for goats and the occasional working donkey. This acceptance that both ancient and every day reality still coexist is the unique pleasure of Sifnos, and in the Hellenic News of America find out why Tradition crafts 21st century Sifnos.

 

Selene's, Santorini Island
Selene’s, Santorini Island

“Selene is zero distance from farm to table,” Georgia Tsara says with a broad smile obviously as pleased with the restaurant’s location on Santorini as she is with this fabled island’s products. The volcano that blew Santorini into history 3,500 years ago is responsible for sculpting the magnificent and photogenic 800-foot cliffs currently topped by some of the most sought after hotels in all the Greek Islands.It’s responsible as well for some products unique in all of Greece, and my article,  A Santorini lunch with Selene’s Georgia Tsara in the Hellenic News of America will guide you to one of the finest meals you’ll experience in your travels.

 

Alonissos Island
Alonissos Island

Not all Greek islands are similar, just as the mainland is a patchwork of ecosystems. The Cyclades, the tourist mecca of islands in the south Aegean, tend to be dry with low vegetation and whitewashed villages trimmed in blue shuttered windows and doors. Alonissos, located in the central Aegean, is the most northerly of the Sporades islands with towering pine forests tumbling down the rocky cliffs to the sea. They’re more akin to the northern New England coast of the U.S.A. than southern Greece. Discover why Alonissos Island is a floating spoon sweet.

 

Santorini Island
Santorini Island

You can read more articles by Marc d’Entremont at:

Hellenic News of America

Travel Pen and Palate Argentina

Original World Insights

 

A Florida restaurant bakers dozen

Casa Marina Hotel, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Casa Marina Hotel, Jacksonville Beach, FL

Among Florida’s Roaring Twenties grand hotels it seems Al Capone slept in many, including Casa Marina. The mid-1920s Prohibition era was profitable for Florida including Jacksonville Beach. The beachfront Mediterranean Revival club-like Casa Marina, complete with a sprinkler system, opened in 1925 to a high living bi-coastal clientele.

Casa Marina Hotel Penthouse Lounge, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Casa Marina Hotel Penthouse Lounge, Jacksonville Beach, FL

Ninety years later on the deck of the Penthouse Lounge & Martini Bar overlooking the Atlantic’s pounding surf Casa Marina serves a premium Tequila Margareta – without the slushy ice – that I’m confident infamous Al would approve.

 

 

 

Read what intrigued even the big Al to Jacksonville Beach…

Al Capone slept at Casa Marina on Jacksonville Beach

 

Lobster & Mango Salad, Sea Salt, St. Petersburg
Lobster & Mango Salad, Sea Salt, St. Petersburg

Blessed with Florida’s agricultural and ocean abundance at their doorstep, restaurants in St. Petersburg don’t have to search far for quality ingredients.

Smoked Fish Sandwich, Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, St. Petersburg, FL
Smoked Fish Sandwich, Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, St. Petersburg, FL

A relaxed Gulf of Mexico life style and plenty of Florida sunshine draw residents and tourists to a plethora of cafes, fine dining, bars and beach side venues serving traditional fried fish platters to truffled wild mushroom risotto. With an emphasis on independent ownership St. Petersburg chefs have the freedom to experiment or just create the best grilled grouper sandwich on the beach. Here’s a dozen to try in the St. Petersburg area…

A dozen good reasons to eat St. Pete

 

Maximo Moorings Seafood Shack, St. Petersburg, FL
Maximo Moorings Seafood Shack, St. Petersburg, FL

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Gold, God…potatoes…in Quito, Ecuador

 

 

Iglesia de San Francisco. Quito, Ecuador
Iglesia de San Francisco. Quito, Ecuador

 

La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Quito, Ecuador
La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Quito, Ecuador

Since the start of history gold has been connected to the divine and the boundaries of people, state and heaven have intertwined in myriad and mysterious patterns.  In post conquest 16th century Quito (Ecuador), An A-list of priests, monks and nuns from four of the Church’s most influential religious orders provided the patronage for a celebrated era of artistic expression.

La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Quito, Ecuador
La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Quito, Ecuador

Sumptuous interior decorations, intricate carvings and golden altars express prominent Moorish geometrical figures, Italian Renaissance style and European baroque architecture. In the 1970s UNESCO dubbed it “Quito Baroque” in their 1978 designation of Quito as a World Heritage Site.

 

 

 

 

Just click the link to see many more photos and read the article…

To the glory of gold and God in Quito, Ecuador

 

The iconic soup of Ecuador: Locro de Papa
The iconic soup of Ecuador: Locro de Papa
One of 200 varieties potatoes in Ecuador
One of 200 varieties potatoes in Ecuador

At least 4,000 varieties of potatoes grow in the Andean Highlands that encompass territory stretching from northern Argentina through Ecuador. An important food staple for all pre-Columbian Andean cultures, the Incas created chunu – dehydrated potatoes that could be stored for up to a decade.

Read how a vegetable becomes a national icon and follow a simple recipe for an Ecuador national dish:

The iconic soup of Ecuador: Locro de Papa

 

rich soil in the crater of Pululahua Volcano just north of Quito
rich soil in the crater of Pululahua Volcano just north of Quito

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Suite 101

San Diego and La Jolla: hotbed for slow food

 

Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA
Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA
Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA
Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA

From the rustic refinement of La Jolla’s Torrey Pines Lodge to the local spunk of Rubio’s citywide Fresh Mexican Grill, there’s a locally owned venue in any price bracket for all residents to patronize in this southern California urban county, and they seem to happily do so often.

Ribs at the La Jolla Open Aire Market
Ribs at the La Jolla Open Aire Market
Sunset off Del Mar, San Diego
Sunset off Del Mar, San Diego

Sea, cliffs, beach and mountain vistas abound, the climate begs for outdoor dining and the region’s relative affluence blend to create menus of imagination and freshness – California Modern.

Come read about eleven restaurants and a market that exemplify the best San Diego, La Jolla and Southern California offers…

 

Eat California Modern in San Diego and La Jolla 

 

Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego

You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Rehoboth Beach and Harrisburg: an art and culinary drive

Harrisburg the capital of Pennsylvania and Rehoboth Beach in far southern Delaware may be 165 miles apart, but they share similar European colonial origins, the Susquehanna/Chesapeake Bay river basin and legendary farmlands.

Wearable art at the Art League of Rehoboth
Wearable art at the Art League of Rehoboth
Larry Ringgold,  driftwood horse sculpture,  Peninsula Gallery
Larry Ringgold, driftwood horse sculpture, Peninsula Gallery

 

From plein air painters feasting on the raw natural beauty of beaches and marshland to cutting edge jewelry design, southern Delaware has nurtured the arts for the past century.  As the motto of the Art League of Rehoboth says, Art Grows Here.™

 

 

Abraxas Hudson, artist , owner Abraxas Studio of Art, Lewes, DE.
Abraxas Hudson, artist , owner Abraxas Studio of Art, Lewes, DE.

 

View eleven of Sussex County’s best galleries at…

 Southern Delaware art galleries break design barriers

 

Cafe Fresco's Dim Sum Donuts
Cafe Fresco’s Dim Sum Donuts

 

a Pennsylvania dairy farm
a Pennsylvania dairy farm

Before there was state government, before there was coal, iron, steel and chocolate, farm and tavern table were always next-door. The ingredients to make a creamy mushroom risotto, charcuterie, or a Polish vegetarian chili are still from the earth surrounding the Harrisburg/Hershey region.

Bar at Devon Seafood Grill
Bar at Devon Seafood Grill

 

A spotlight on eight venues offering  culinary creativity…

Where farm and table are always next door 

 

Scrambled eggs w/truffles, pheasant sausage at Suba
Scrambled eggs w/truffles, pheasant sausage at Suba

 

You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

New energy for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Fireworks over the Susquehanna River from City Island
Fireworks over the Susquehanna River from City Island

A new generation of young professionals have reversed the population decline, want an urban experience and are revitalizing Harrisburg.

Ralph Vartan, Michael Wilson & Danielle Prokopchak
Ralph Vartan, Michael Wilson & Danielle Prokopchak

Read about the movers reshaping a once “rust-belt” city at…

The faces of a new Harrisburg

 

Stained glass dome of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chambers, Capitol Building
Stained glass dome of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chambers, Capitol Building

Harrisburg is still one of the major railroad transportation hubs of the Northeast connecting to the west and the south. Old steel mill buildings and warehouses have been repurposed for new specialized industries and institutes of higher education.

Lark Quartet, Harrisburg
Lark Quartet, Harrisburg

Read more about Harrisburg’s new mayor – not a cookie cutter politician!

Sense the energy of 21st century Harrisburg

 

roast duck at Carley's glazed with a not overly sweet orange plum sauce and topping wilted spinach and goat cheese infused polenta.
roast duck at Carley’s glazed with a not overly sweet orange plum sauce and topping wilted spinach and goat cheese infused polenta.

Farmers who created Pennsylvania’s moniker the “American breadbasket” in the late 18th century built Harrisburg.

Buddha Buddha's cucumber martini
Buddha Buddha’s cucumber martini

Young professionals flooding center city Harrisburg, PA, have a penchant for gathering with friends – that’s fueling a revitalization of hospitality businesses. Read the rest of the article at…

Revitalizing Harrisburg hospitality along with the city

 

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You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Travel

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Shawnee Inn’s Own Local Sourcing

Great Shawna Island Farm at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

Pennsylvania’s Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort takes food sustainability seriously, and creates profits, taking food from their farm to their tables.

 

Shawnee’s beekeeper Erin Schroll

ShawneeCraft Brewery: aging beer in oak casks & hand bottled
Foodshed Alliance products at Shawnee Inn’s Tuesday market

 

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Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks: Days of Food and Wine

From the moment you drive across the 1931 Bagnell Dam you know you’ve entered a different world.

Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks: Days of Food and Wine

Read more at Global Writes, the journal of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association