GREEK GASTRONOMY AND DIET FESTIVAL 2022
From Ancient Times to Modern Mediterranean Wellbeing Philosophy
The gastronomy of Greece has evolved over the centuries. Greek cuisine, with more than 4,000 years of culinary traditions, is rich in authentic flavours and aromas taking advantage of the abundant land of Greece and the rich Mediterranean Sea. Greek diet can be traced back to the dietary habits of Ancient Greeks and is based on a very fertile land, blessed by mild climate, and surrounded by the Sea. Authentic Greek flavours and gastronomy respect mother earth and the beautiful sea.
Greece has always been on the crossroads between the West and the East. Greek civilisation and gastronomy naturally blended with Egyptian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman traditions and cuisines over the centuries. Greece has always been a melting pot of different cultures, ideas and religions and that is reflected on its food and drink.
Greek gastronomy is based on human and sustainability values, eating fresh ingredients from the land or the sea, locally sourced and in season. Greek cuisine is very diverse and it largely depends on what is produced in different geographical region. Naturally the gastronomy of the Greek islands and the long seaside coastline of the country is fish and seafood based. In the mainland, gastronomy focuses more on meat and dairy. The world-famous Greek olive oil, oregano and garlic, as well as quality fresh ingredients, create magic. Most sauces used in Greece are lemon or tomato based. There is a clear dichotomy there! One hardly sees traditional Greek cooking using cream or butter. Instead, olive oil dominates cooking. Seasonal products shape the Greek diet or have an effect on the Greek diet. Any Greek will tell you that there is no point eating tomatoes or watermelons in the winter season, but they practically live on them during summer!
Eating in Greece is not just a biological function. All the way from the ancient symposia, eating is about socialising and connecting with friends and family. Similarly with Chinese, Greeks always eat together and share food. Often small plates “meze” (the Greek version of dim sum) is enjoyed with ouzo, beer or wine over long conversations. Perhaps a little dance afterwards … As often as they can…. they will find an excuse… for a big banqueting celebration, where many people will gather around the dinner table, crack bread, share food and a good laugh. No matter how rich or poor the household, guests and even strangers are always invited in to share the food and enjoy the company. Nothing depicts this better than the official Crete Region Promotional 2013 Video demonstrating the incredible Crete Island hospitality! Greek gastronomy and Greek hospitality need to be experienced to be believed.
The Greek Gastronomy and Diet Festival: From Ancient Times to modern Mediterranean wellbeing philosophy event in Hong Kong is an opportunity for everyone to explore Greek gastronomy, to create an ecosystem of Greek food lovers in Hong Kong and Mainland China and to encourage people to travel and experience the real Greece when the situation allows. What started as an idea was later emerged into something bigger and better when Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Visiting Professor of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University was discussing Greek gastronomy with Professor Kaye Chon, SHTM Dean, Chair Professor and Walter and Wendy Kwok Family Foundation Professor in International Hospitality Management. The initial idea of a week of Greek cooking soon evolved into a full-blown gastronomy festival. Mr Konstantinos Kattoulas, Consul General of the Consulate General of Greece in Hong Kong and Mr Dimitris Fragkakis, Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organisation instantly blessed the idea and provided official support. Ms Sofia Zacharaki, Greece’s Deputy Minister of Tourism will open the Greek Gastronomy and Diet Conference.
A comprehensive range of activities were then initiated and Greek gastronomy experts and professionals got involved for the implementation. Mr Katsuto Sandifer, Coordinator of the SHTM’s Food and Wine Academy and Executive Officer Brigid Yau together with Executive Chef Simone Nabbs, Instructors Delap Lui and Dr Jonathan Sutton created the supportive mechanism for the festival to develop and get access to critical resources. Mr Stelios Iakovidis, importer of Greek products at Levant, supported the festival by facilitating logistics of sponsored products from Greece and by sponsoring the workshop on dairy products. Marina Papatsoni of Costa Navarino and Navarino Icons, Alexandros Kouris of Nissos Beer, Alexandra Anthidou of Northern Greece Winemakers and Dimitris Dambassinas of Hellenic Fine Oils supported and sponsored the festival by donating their products. Doctoral candidate Ioanna Pavlidou energised the Greek ecosystem in Hong Kong whilst Stratos Pourzitakis and the Greek Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong supported the festival with a range of activities. Adele Wong, Elaine Ng and Terrence Annamunthodo of the Slow Food Hong Kong also engaged with the local community. And last but not least, Michelle Lau, Founder of NUTRILICIOUS, facilitated communications, and bridging Greek food and Chinese tastes.
We are grateful to our sponsors, speakers and contributors.
Enjoy the festival and the Greek gastronomy.