A Greek tribute to flour

Flour is a substantial part of every cuisine in the world. It comes in many types, and people around the world consume it almost in daily basis. Do you know its meaning?

123Flour drives us to the word “flower” which is derived from the French “fleur”, with the literal meaning “blossom”. This describes the fine product of flour, which was produced during milling. In Greek the world for flour is “alevri”. It is derived from the verb “aletho” which means grind. Flour is obtained by grinding the seeds/nuts/cereals and is thoroughly used in pastry, bakery and cooking. It is an ingredient that plays an important part in global nutrition, and in the past it was used as a measure defining nations’ prosperity. The lack of flour had vast economic and social results for the country.

It is not known when man started experimenting with the milling of wheat, producing flour. In his transcripts, Homer often referred to millstones and milling, as something very common for that time.

The milling works like this: 2 large heavy stones of cylindrical shape, put together, are pressing between them the seeds. The pulverized product is pushed to the sides and eventually is being collected. There were many types of mills used for the flour production. Starting from the hand mill, where the upper stone was hand moved, to mills which functioned with solar or wind energy. Nowadays, the procedure is completed with the help of automated machinery.

Flour is derived by a large variety of nuts and seeds. Semolina, hard, soft, cornmeal, oatmeal, rye, barley, chickpea, almond, soy are a sample of flour types that can be produced. The most common types of flour are: Bread flour, pastry flour, all purpose flour and self-rising flour.

sprouted flour-resized-600The quality of the flour depends on 3 characteristics:

  • Way of milling
  • Grade of panning
  • Seed quality

In Greece, there is a vast variety of delicacies, made with flour. The most significant is bread, which is an integral part of our diet for centuries. Every kind of dough/pastry (phylo pastry, puff pastry) is made with flour. Dough is used in a vast variety of dishes both sweet and savory. Traditional pies, pasta, bagels and breadsticks, cookies and biscuits, various pastries, traditional cakes, halva or semolina pastries and many more, are a small proof of how important flour is to Greek cuisine.

Examples of typical Greek dishes used with flour or flour products

  • Traditional Greek pies like tyropita, spanakopita, and others.
  • Barley rusks, made with barley flour, are used in the Cretan traditional “Dakos” recipe.
  • Traditional sweets like kourabiethes, tsoureki, semolina halva, baklava, Greek custard pie and loukoumathes, are all made with flour.

Below you will find the recipe from the Greek traditional Halva, which is made with semolina flour.

1

Semolina Halva
Ingredients
1 cup olive oil
2 cups coarse semolina
3 cups sugar
4 cups water
cinnamon
almonds
pine nuts
blonde raisins

Heat the olive oil in the pot, and add the semolina. Slowly roast the semolina, constantly stirring. When it has a darker richer color, add the sugar and water. Be careful, big hot blisters of halva are going to pop, so use an oven glove and protect your hands. Stir constantly over low fire until the mixture is detached from the pot. Add ½ spoon cinnamon, some pine nuts, almonds and raisins and give it a few more stirs. Pour the mixture in a form and let it cool. Serve and enjoy!

What’s your favorite flour delicacy?

Waiting for your thoughts and opinions.

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

Sources:

http://www.wheatworld.org

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flour

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. But why Greek?

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Greece is a land that is blessed with an amazingly fertile soil and ideal climate conditions. Many of the Greek food products are considered to be unique in terms of taste and nutritional characteristics. Greek Olive Oil is one of these products. All of us have at some point read about Olive Oils and how many benefits arise by their consumption.

Then what is it that makes Greek Olive Oil so special?

Greece’s long lasting tradition in olive tree cultivation and olive oil production has a history of more than 5 millennia.
In Greece there are perfect soil and weather conditions in order for the olive trees to grow and fructify at their maximum. That also appears in the numbers of the yearly olive oil production. Greece produces more than 430,000 tons of olive oil annually, a percent that places Greece in the 3rd position in the world classification of olive oil producer-countries.

While speaking of percentages, notice that more than 75%-80% of that is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is the best type of olive oil, due to its lowest acidity levels (< 0,8).

In fact about one third of the total olive oil production (Extra Virgin and Virgin) is exported. The remaining quantity gives Greece the first position in per capita consumption at world level, at approximately 26 liters per year.
Another unique characteristic of Greek Olive Oil, is that it comes from hand-picked olives. There is a majority of small producers that do not use machinery and special equipment to harvest their trees. So it is much more special to taste a juice of a fruit that it is carefully hand-picked from the tree.

The taste, aroma and color are also indications of the unique quality of the Greek extra virgin olive oil. It is an extra virgin olive oil with an extremely fine taste and comes from cold first pressings that meet the ultimate standards.

Greek extra virgin olive oil is the best nutritional gift we can offer to ourselves.