DIY Greek Christmas

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Christmas: the time of the year everyone is waiting for!

What does it actually mean to have a Greek Christmas time?

Christmas is connected with the values of family, friends, love and compassion. Christmas time is already here and kitchens start to smell like cinnamon and spice .The holidays are full of family dinners, name days and many occasions for gathering and eating together. It is a wonderful opportunity to dress up, gather with your loved ones and arrange a festive lunch or dinner to celebrate.

Every region of Greece prepares its own local Christmas dishes. Each area specializes in a dessert, a main dish, or even an ingredient. That way we have a plethora of genuine traditional recipes that represent us in local and national level.

Preparation of the dinner is a family procedure. One way or another every family member is involved into it. The “cook” decides what dishes to prepare and the grocery list is getting ready. Then it is time for shopping and in-house arrangements. Regarding recipes, a typical start for a festive dinner would be a warm comforting chicken soup ,by Kenton Kotsiris, ideal for welcoming your guests. This soup is made with a technique called “avgolemono”, when whisked egg whites are added into it and gets a thicker creamier texture.

A less typical but authentic Greek recipe from Diane Kochilas is that of leek tart with metsovone cheese, a smoked P.D.O. Greek cheese with rich flavor.This recipe would be ideal as a cozy appetizer as it is preparing the guests for more intense flavors up next.

Roasted turkey is a relatively new addition to the festive main dishes. Most traditional main course dishes ask for meat like pork or lamb cooked either in the oven, or in casserole. One classic Greek recipe is pork with lemon and celery, or with dry fruits and nuts. The side dishes which come along are generally based on rice or potato, but not in their simple edition. A typical Greek dinners also has at least 1 – 2 salads in the middle, generally with vegetables of the season.

The typical Christmas bread with symbolic meaning and strong religious influences is called Christopsomo and is eaten on Christmas Day.  (Recipe here).

Every Christmas table has it desserts, and most of the times more than one. A typical Greek Christmas dessert is “Diples” that can be eaten any time of the day. Another famous Greek Christmas dessert is “Melomakarona”, a syrupy biscuit with winter herbs and spices.

The Greek Christmas menu doesn’t stop here. It has a long catalogue of appetizers, pies, main courses and desserts. It’s full of aromas, flavors and traditions that makes it unique and special.

We ‘d love if you share with us your own favorite Christmas recipes.

Our warmest wishes for Happy Holidays!

Greek Brands team

http://www.greekbrands.com

Greek P.D.O. Cheeses: Vol.2

Greece has a great variety of cheeses and 20 of them are registered as P.D.O. Each one of these 20 cheeses, has its own cultural and geographical characteristics. They follow traditional production methods, require a lot of hand work and are connected to a know-how of decades. If you plan on visiting Greece, search for these authentic flavors, and taste as many as you can.

Following our previous post, here are 5 more P.D.O. Greek cheeses, that have an interesting taste story to share.

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  • Kalathaki (Basket) Lemnos

Soft white cheese with a cylindrical shape, which matures in brine and has a slightly acidic taste. Kalathaki is produced in a traditional way by sheep milk or a mixture of sheep and goat milk (in percentage less than or equal to 30%) on the island of Lemnos. The name “basket” is derived from the specific knitted molds used for preparation that look like small baskets.

  • Metsovone

It is a hard yellow smoked cheese with a slightly salty and spicy taste. It is traditionally made with cow milk or a mix of cow-sheep-goat, with the two latter in proportion not higher than 20%. It is produced in the province of Metsovo, in Ioannina prefecture, where it got its name. Metsovone has an interesting story. The benefactor Evangelos Averof-Tositsas, decided to send some youngsters from Metsovo to Italy in order to learn the art of cheese making. These youngsters later returned to Greece and combined Greek traditional cheese making techniques with methods of preparation of certain Italian cheeses and started producing a cheese that was later named after their region. That is when Metsovone cheese was born.

  • Manouri

Soft white cheese with a sweet flavor produced from sheep or goat milk (or their mixtures) whey, in which sheep’s or goat’s milk cream is added. Produced in central and western Macedonia and Thessaly. It is considered that the most famous cream cheese is produced prepared in Blast (Blatsi) of Macedonia.

  • Katiki Domokou

It is a soft white cheese, with pasty texture characterized by its cool and slightly acidic taste.Produced from mixed sheep and goat milk, in the county of Domokos of Fthiotida prefecture. This cheese is produced in this area for many years and the technique has been taught from generation to generation from shepherds who lived in the area.

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  • Graviera Naxos

Hard cheese with cylindrical shape, and white-yellow color. Salty and tasty, with sweet notes. It is produced exclusively from cow’s milk or a mixture of it with sheep and goat milk (last at no greater than 20% by weight). Traditional and branded, it is produced on the island of Naxos in Cyclades, but consumed widely across territory.

Have you enjoyed any Greek cheeses?

Share with us your comments!

http://www.fetacheese.gr

http://www.greekbrands.com

Photos credits:

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Greek Olive Oil : Export trends for 2014-2015

10905523_s It is considered one of the most valuable export products for Greece. This is why we refer to it as liquid gold. Greek olive oil offers us a competitive edge in quality and a powerful asset in our exports portfolio.

The way Greek olive oil has been exported has changed dramatically through the years. From bulk containers with no actual product specifications, we have reached an era in which everything is reported and controlled. Olive oil products are now in specific packaging and come with labels of nutrients, expire dates and lot numbers. They also have quality certificates and are traceable in terms of crop, producer and batch.

Greek olive oil may have a bulk history, but it seems as though this era has come to an end. Now branded Greek olive oil is gaining ground. It comes in sophisticated packaging, ready to be communicated and sold internationally. Behind all this, lies a great effort in marketing, promotion and communication.

583338_sAbout exports, year 2013-2014 has not been a good year for Greece in terms of quantity and pricing, as it wasn’t a good year for the olive trees. Fortunately this prediction is not going to be verified this year. As described in the International Olive Oil council’s newsletter this is going to be a success year for Greece. The production is predicted to double since last year and is projected to surpass even other countries’ production climbing up to more than 300.000 tons. In the meantime, rest of the Europe is facing a rough year, mainly due to bad weather conditions. Moreover, predictions indicate that there will be higher demand than supply and consequently, that will lead to higher prices.

Taking into account its qualitative superiority, its supreme taste and its beneficial characteristics, one can easily conclude that this is an opportunity for Greek olive oil to develop and flourish.

This is more like a Marathon run, so the required supplies towards this goal are resistance, determination and persistence.

The focus point is to keep the demand in high levels, by pointing out its added value in comparison to other olive oils. This goal can be achieved, but it requires a lot of effort in marketing, a full exploitation of distribution channels, and continuing advertising.

http://www.greekbrands.com

http://www.greek-olive-oil.com