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VOLUME 1. CONTENTS

GREECE IS THE WORD! INTERVIEWS:

DESTINATIONS Peloponnese Athens Rethymno, Crete Aegean Islands

GASTRONOMY Guide to a land blessed with divine tastes!

1st GREEK PANORAMA Greece takes Manhattan!

FREE PRESS

Beautiful. Luxurious. Unique

Giannis Antetokounmpo: “Greeks have a great heart!” Dean Karnazes: “There is no place on Earth like Greece!”


Sharing moments of an island escape

Find out more at sheratonrhodesresort.com

Sheraton rhodeS reSort Ialyssos Avenue, Ixia, 85101, Rhodes, Greece T +30 22410 75000 info.rhodes@sheraton.com Š2016 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Sheraton and their logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates. GNTO ID 1143K015A0283800


EDITOR’S NOTE

\4

“GREECE”

IS THE WORD!

In every Greek landscape...the light is the protagonist-hero. The mountains, the valley and the sea form the arena in which he struggles, or the couch on which he reposes. The mountains, the valley, the sea play a secondary role. ”Nikos Kazantzakis”

We know that there’s a place in everybody’s heart for this tiny nation with the huge legacy, the astonishing beauty, the authentic way of life, the amazing friendliness and warmth of its people. We also hope to show to any traveler, to any visitor to be, that there’s so much more to explore, to discover and to enjoy while in Greece. Enough to last for a lifetime of travels and wanderings! Greece’s call to the world and especially to our American friends, is eternal and vibrant. Come to Greece, live the experience it has to offer, spread the word!

There are so many words, notions and emotions that we wanted to include in this note! But let’s keep

«Greece» is the word!

it simple and short, let this first issue of Hellas Blu introduce itself with all that we have prepared for

George, Leonidas & the rest of the Hellas Blu team

you in the following pages. Every word in this magazine, has a thought about Greece behind it. Exposed under the unique Greek

P.S. We would love to see you at the Greek Pa-

light.

norama travel show, 12-13th of May, at the Grand

We only want to share views, ideas, images and knowledge about the country that hundreds of millions

Central Temrinal Station, in Manhattan! You are

around the world, simply love and adore.

all invited!


Contents

STORY

Elena Kountoura: Tourism is our national power

INTERVIEW

P. 6

Giannis Antetokounmpo: “Global Ambassador for Greece” P.

INTERVIEW

Dean Karnazes: There is no place on earth like Greece!”

INTERVIEW

8 P. 14

Andy Zemenides:

“The Greek sun is not in crisis!” P. 19

STORY

So many Celebrities that just can’t get enough of Greece! P. 22

GREEK CHATS

Andreas Andreadis:

“Greeks have hospitality in their genes” P. 28

GREEK CHATS

Lissandros Tsilidis:

“Greece rewards American visitors with great experiences” P. 32

GREEK CHATS

Antonia Skaraki:

Brand is what others think of you P. 36

DESTINATIONS

Welcome to Mythical Peloponnese P. 42

REDISCOVERING Athens:

Glorious, Glamorous and Refreshing P. 48 Rethymno:

The fascinating “gem’ on Crete’s crown P. 52 Aegean Islands:

Under the Greek light P. 56

EDITOR’S CHOICE Sani Resorts P. 64

Aqua Vista Hotels & Resorts P. 68 YACHTING

Discover the yachting world of Greece P. 72 Instayacht:

Book, board and off… you sail! P. 74 GASTRONOMY

A short guide to a land blessed with devine tastes P. 76 “Mezes”:

The “king” of greek culinary culture P. 78 GAEA, An olive oil story P. 82

INTERVIEW

Hellas Blu is a free-press magazine, with three issues per year. Published by Hellas North America Events Inc. and North Events Ltd. Director: George N. Angelis USA Office:

24 -11 41st Avenue, Long Island City, 11101 New York, U.S.A. Contact Tel for Greece:

Greece takes Manhattan! P. 94

North Events Taygetou 46, Ag. Dimitrios +30 210 9713281 Email: info@greekpanorama.com Web: www.greekpanorama.com

A few fast facts about Greece P. 96

Designed by AS ADVERTISING www.antoniaskaraki.com

Maria Loi:

“New Yorkers embrace the Greek cuisine” P. 86 Greek Panorama: Did You Know?


STORY

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ELENA KOUNTOURA «TOURISM IS OUR NATIONAL POWER»!

«Greece is a heaven of authentic experiences for travelers». This is not just a common belief among Greeks or another marketing «motto».


According to a recent worldwide poll by Trip Ad-

a central goal: strong and valued tourism identity

The “sun-sea” model is the basis, he says, but

visor, Greece is among the top five “Dream Des-

and international prestige for the Brand Name

there is also the development of yachting, cultural

tinations” for Americans, regardless of spending

“Greece”. The challenges are ahead of us», added.

tourism and gastronomy. Tryfonopoulos estimat-

ability. And there’s more proof: About 28 million

What about the US market? Kountoura considers

ed that the tourism industry can be turned into a

foreign visitors, from all corners of the world, tra-

the USA one of the most important source mar-

valuable and dynamic platform to export quality

veled to Greece during 2016, placing the country

kets for Greek tourism and values Americans and

products, as well.

high up in the list of top tourist destinations, global-

Greek Americans highly, as visitors and tourists.

“Tourism is an important asset of the Greek mar-

ly. This figure accounts for almost three times the

«We managed to triple our arrivals from the US

ket; tourism is in our DNA and Greece can be in the

population of Greece and it explains why tourim is

and Canada in 2016, a market that was strengt-

top ten tourist destinations by 2020,” he stresses,

so important to the nation’s economy, especially

hened thanks to the contribution of the Diaspora».

adding that Greece has a wide range of attrac-

during the times of economic and finanncial diffi-

Kountoura suggests to every visitor who chooses

tions for all ages including places to stay along the

culties.

one or more destinations in the country to visit

coast, ancient ruins, museums, luxury hotels and

“Tourism is our national power,” says Tourism Mi-

monuments of world heritage and culture, histo-

resorts, fine restaurants, and hospitable open-

nister Elena Kountoura and underlines that Greece

rical religious and spiritual sites and also not miss

hearted people.

is an attractive destination that constantly increa-

the chance to explore fabulous beaches if they

He hopes that tourism will boost the country’s ai-

ses its international appeal. “We always enrich our

love swimming and sailing and the many incredible

ling economy. “Although 2016 was a record-brea-

tourist product. We showcase the image of our

opportunities for sports and recreation in rivers

king year with Greece chosen by more than 28

country internationally. We promote Greek des-

and lakes across the country.

million tourists, who spent more than 13 billion

tinations that offer authentic travel experiences,”

«Everybody is welcome in Greece to enjoy their

euro, we have set clear goals, through our new

she states when talking about tourism.

vacation with safety and to experience firsthand

four-year strategy plan, to make our country one

The ministry’s aim is promoting tourism all year

the hospitality that our country is famous for»

of the top five world destinations. We want about

round and seeking to create multiple benefits in

says Dimitris Tryfonopoulos, General Secretary of

30 million tourists, with a longer- term goal to

all regions of the country, even the most remote

the Greek National Tourism Organization.

reach 40 million,” he says.

ones, as well as highlighting new Greek destinations. She also stresses the importance of creating new resources of revenues and jobs in local communities and ensure the welfare of the country. In recent interviews, Kountoura was confident that 2017, will be, barring any unforeseen circumstances, «the best year in the history of Greece’s tourism». «We have a very personal welcome for every visitor. We invite them to a journey of authentic highlypersonalized experiences and we encourage them to expose themselves to the many choices that we offer and that we can spoil them with,” she underlines. “Greece is the land of beauty, culture and light: a light of life, good spirits and joy derived from the warmness of the sun, our heart-felt hospitality and the liveliness of the Greek people who will engage to make you feel like home and have a truly wonderful experience, while you explore the treasures of our charming destinations,” she adds. Talking to Hellas FM, while on an official visit in New York, Kountoura stressed that Tourism should and does unite all Greeks in the great undertaking to resurrect the country and the economy. Nowadays, international media talks about the return of Greece to the first line of tourist destinations internationally. «There are tangible results, but also


INTERVIEW

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GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO GLOBAL AMBASSADOR OF GREECE

There is no other Greek athlete that takes the world’s breath away like Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, who is only in his fourth season in the NBA. Hellas Blu Magazine and Nikos Papaioannou travelled in the US to witness the Greek Freak at his best.

PLAIN AND SIMPLE: “THE ONLY THING I KNOW IS WORK. EVERYTHING I DO, I DO IT HARD AND I DO IT NOT JUST FOR MYSELF, BUT FOR MY BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY OF GREECE” photo credit: Getty Images


“GREECE IS A WONDERFUL COUNTRY AND GREEKS HAVE A GREAT HEART. WHEREVER YOU GO TO GREECE, THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE HOME” photo credit: Getty Images The Milwaukee Bucks budding superstar has cap- He has become a larger than life icon, for the sists, 1.9 blocks and 1.7 steals, while playing 35.5 tured the hearts of millions around the globe with Greek youths and the same time a symbol of minutes per game. He is leading the Bucks in all his once in a lifetime skills on the court and his hu- hope in a country roiled by economic crisis in re- major statistical categories. mility off the hardwood. It seems a lifetime ago, cent years. He hasn’t realized it yet, because he There is no doubt that Giannis is the tallest and from his days as a player for a tiny basketball club hasn’t visited Greece during the NBA season. He most intriguing point guard that NBA has ever called Filathlitikos, which took him in 2007, when was planning on doing so, at the All Star break, but seen, since Magic Johnson was running the LaGiannis was still sharing a bedroom with his three he was voted to start basketball’s biggest party. brothers and loved soccer.

kers, back in the Showtime era in the 80s.

“My friends in Athens been telling me that eve- Giannis is doing a great job not having all this

These days Giannis is not just an NBA All Star, or rybody is talking about me, especially during the hoopla get into him. He knows that he is away the first Greek player to become an NBA All Star, period of the All Star voting”, Giannis says. “The from his country, Greece, but the Greek flabut one of the youngest players in the history of major TV shows are playing my highlights and all me is burning inside of him. Even now that he is the All Star Game, to be voted in the starting li- that stuff. I guess I will have the chance to digest all thousands of miles away from the place he calls neup. Before the season started the Milwaukee that when I ‘ll be in Athens during the off season”.

home, he manages to live the life of a Greek.

Bucks rewarded the 22 years old point forward Now Giannis is too busy putting up numbers He is a regular at the Omega restaurant in with a 100 million dollars contract extension that that reminds us of all time greats like Kareem Milwaukee, that has the Greek letter “Ω” as a logo. will keep him in Wisconsin until the summer of Abdul-Jabbar and Larry Bird. Antetokounmpo There he orders his two favorite Greek specialties 2021.

is averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.5 as- that he thinks everyone who is visiting Greece,


INTERVIEW

GIANNIS STORY IS AN INSPIRING ONE. IT’S MOVIE MATERIAL THAT COULD BE A HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER photo credit: Getty Images

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must taste: Gyros and lamb chops. Gyros in any Greece are magnificent. Even if you are in Athens

message to the world, about his beloved Greece

kind or form or the traditional souvlaki are Gian- and not on the islands, you got to go swimming

and to everyone who wants to visit his country:

nis all time favorite. He can’t get enough of them, and enjoy the seaside. It’s a must”.

“Greece is a wonderful country and Greeks have

when he is in Greece or away. When Giannis was Since his arrival in the NBA, as a first round pick in

a great heart. Wherever you go to Greece, they

in Taiwan for a visit in 2015 he missed his favorite No. 15 of the 2013 draft, Greek flags can be seen

are going to make you feel like home. That’s what

souvlaki. Here what’s happened as he described in all the arenas. Especially in cities with huge

they did with me and my family. Being now in a

it: “I had a great time in Taiwan, but after a while I Greek communities, like Chicago, New York, Phi-

tough situation like a country we, Greeks, do what

started missing my favorite Greek food, souvlaki. ladelphia and Toronto. At the BMO Harris Bradley

it takes to make it. We have a tough mentality and

Finally after walking around I found something like Center, on a Bucks game day, Greek flags and

unlike what you have heard or read, Greeks are

a souvlaki to eat”.

hard workers that give it all everyday to provide

jerseys of national team of Greece, with Giannis

Giannis doesn’t cook, at least so far, but gyros, name are all over the place.

for their families”.

souvlaki and lamb chops are the specialties that Giannis is the official ambassador of Greece

When Barack Obama chose Greece for his last

he suggest to anyone who visits Greece, along around the globe. He doesn’t feel pressure. He

official visit as the President of the United Sta-

with a visit to the Acropolis and the famous island feels honored to have that role and takes very

tes of America, he surprised everyone when he

of Mykonos: “The places to be are the Acropo- seriously the fact that he is now the role model

mentioned Antetokounmpo as an example for all

lis and Mykonos. Obviously the beaches all over for all the Greek youth. He wants to send his

Greeks. To be precise, Giannis was shocked when


INTERVIEW

\ 12

he heard Obama mention him by name at the

will treasure forever”.

Last February he was named starter for the Eas-

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center: “I

Giannis story is an inspiring one. It’s movie ma-

tern conference All Star team, next to a mega

was shocked when President Obama mention-

terial that could be a Hollywood blockbuster. The

star, like LeBorn James. Giannis still has hard

ed me as an example, while speaking in Greece.

son of illegal immigrants, who was born and rai-

time digesting his journey: “I never expected this

I was surprised that president Obama was aware

sed in a rough area of Athens named Sepolia,

to happen. Who would have said that a kid from

of how hard I work and asking the Greek people to

surrounded with a lot of love from the blue collar

Sepolia, would be at the All Star game in New Or-

work as hard as I do, it was really amazing! It was

neighbors, is right now probably the most exciting

leans, to play next to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving

a huge compliment from President Obama that I

player in the NBA.

and Jimmy Butler”.

GIANNIS SAYS HE WAS SHOCKED WHEN HE HEARD OBAMA MENTION HIM BY NAME DURING A SPEECH WHILE VISITING ATHENS, LAST NOVEMBER. “IT WAS A HUGE COMPLIMENT FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA THAT I WILL TREASURE FOREVER”... photo credit: Getty Images


GIANNIS ANTETOKOUMPO IS ALL SMILES WITH NIKOS PAPAIOANNOU

The blueprint for Antetokounmpo’s success is not classified. It’s plain and simple, as he puts it: “It’s the work I put in. The people that believed in me and my parents that made sacrifices for me. I wouldn’t be here without them. They worked hard for me and my brothers. I took it from them. The only thing I know is work. Everything I do, I do it hard and I do it not just for myself, but for my beautiful country of Greece”. Out of the blue, a country that has suffered from the financial crisis, found in the baby face of Giannis Antetokounmpo, not only hope for the youth, but a great global ambassador, that will spread the word that Greece is a place worth visiting and Greeks -contrary to popular belief- are hard workers.

“WE SHOWED GIANNIS A COVER OF HELLAS BLU AND HE WAS KIND ENOUGH TO SIGN IT FOR US. WE PROUDLY PLACED IT ON OUR OFFICE WALL…”


INTERVIEW

\ 14

DEAN (KONSTANTINOS) KARNAZES “THERE IS NO PLACE ON EARTH LIKE GREECE!”

Ultramarathon runner, mega-endurance athlete, best-selling author. His friends and his fans just say that he is able to keep on running practically for ever! For sure, Dean Karnazes is considered as one of the fittest men on the planet, capable not only to run for days and for hundreds of miles, but also, under extreme climate conditions. Dean’s parents are of Greek ancestry and he is proud of his Greek roots. His love for Greece is obvious and Greek ancient history has inspired him as a writer and explorer. Dean talks to Hellas Blu about Greece and the time he spends there, his involvement with the Navarino Challenge and of course, about his new book “Road to Sparta” and his plans for the Greek Panorama travel show, in New York.


“I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF GREECE. I ONLY WISH I COULD SPEND MORE OF MY TIME THERE.” photo by Vangelis Patsialos @ navarino challenge

WHEN WAS THE FIRST & LAST TIME YOU CAME TO GREECE? HAVE YOUR TIES WITH GREECE BECOME STRONGER THROUGH THE YEARS?

sure what to think. I worried the Greeks might not have the experience to organize an event of this nature. I was wrong. The Navarino Challenge is a truly world class event that offers something for everyone, not only runners. This is our 5th Anni-

I’ve been traveling to Greece regularly for about versary and the Navarino Challenge showcases the past five years. Since the first day I stepped off the very best Greece has to offer. I am incredibly the plane, it’s been a torrid love affair. I can’t get honored to be part of this enduring legacy and enough of Greece. I only wish I could spend more Akis and his team have built something extraorof my time there.

dinary, despite the hardship Greece is facing.

TELL US A FEW THINGS ABOUT WHEN FRIENDS AND FANS ASK YOU ABOUT GREECE, WHAT YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN ”NAARE YOUR FIRST THOUGHTS? VARINO CHALLENGE”. HOW That there is no place on earth like Greece. I have DO YOU FEEL BEING AN AMBASSADOR OF THE TOP GREEK traveled the world extensively and nowhere has the same magic as Greece. It is an enchanting and SPORTS TOURISM EVENT timeless land, and also an idyllic place for sports ORGANIZED IN COSTA NAVAtourism. Sports tourism is a growing worldwide RINO? When I was first approached by Peter Poulos and phenomena and Greece is the perfect destinatiAkis Tsolis about the Navario Challenge I wasn’t on. This is what I tell people.


INTERVIEW

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AN IDEAL DAY DURING YOUR VACATION IN A FAVORITE DESTINATION? My ideal day on vacation has very little relaxing poolside. I prefer activity. Running, surfing, hiking, climbing, and exploring are what I love to do while on vacation. Of course, good food is also something I love, and Greece has the best!

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there is so much to see that I’ve barely scratched the surface. My dream would be to spend a year traveling around Greece and writing about my adventures. Greece is such a diverse and interesting land, I’m not sure a year would be enough.

WHAT ABOUT GREEK CUISINE? WHAT’S YOUR BEST DISH? CAN YOU COOK IT? I love anything from the sea. Fresh seafood is my

ARE THERE ANY PLACES IN GREECE THAT YOU HAVEN’T VISITED YET AND WOULD LIKE TO EXPLORE?

favorite meal, with plenty of wild greens. My yia yia used to prepare wild horta and I still love it today. I’ve followed a traditional Mediterranean diet for most my life. It is the food I grew up on and

There are so many. I visited Ikaria last summer,

the food I still love. Yes, I cook for myself. But the

my mother’s island, and had a fabulous time.

ingredients you get in America are not the same

While I’ve been to the Peloponnese many times,

as Greece.

FOR HIS FRIENDS AND FANS DEAN “IS A MAN WHO CAN RUN FOR EVER!” Photo by Elias Lefas @ Navarino Challenge


BOOK COVER: THE ROAD TO SPARTA - Book Cover: Photo by Vladimir Rys

WHAT WILL BE YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE “GREEK PANORAMA”? I will be there for two main reasons. First, I want to support the Navarino Challenge. I know that with more marketing and outreach we can attract many participants from the US. Second, I have a new book recently published titled, The Road to Sparta. The book is all about Greece, both ancient and modern, and I will be signing copies. I am very proud of this book as it exposes a broader audience to the wonders of Greece throughout the ages.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR NEW BOOK “THE ROAD TO SPARTA”. CAN WE ASSUME THAT PHEIDIPPIDES IS YOUR FAVORITE PERSON FROM GREEK HISTORY? The Road to Sparta starts with the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE and Pheidippides historic un-

“GREEK PANORAMA” IS THE FIRST EXHIBITION FOCUSED ON TOURISM, CULTURE AND GASTRONOMY EXCLUSIVELY FOR GREECE THAT WILL BE ORGANIZED IN MAY 2017, IN THE “HEART” OF MANHATTAN, IN NEW YORK AT THE ICONIC GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL STATION. WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE?

dertaking. It traces both the growth of running since that original marathon and the growth of democracy and Western civilization as a result of the Greek victory at marathon and subsequent ascendency to cultural prominence. While Pheidippides is my favorite person from Greek history, I admire many of the ancient Greeks, from our great philosophers and thinkers, to our architects and mathematicians, to our poets and tragedian playwrights, to our sportsman and heroes. We come from an unsurpassed richness of people and culture.

thing I strongly support. Although I am from San

WHEN WILL YOU VISIT GREECE AGAIN?

Francisco, I travel to New York often and look

I plan on several trips this year starting in the

forward to attending. I have many friends in New

summer. But if you have room in your suitcase, I’ll

York and will be inviting them all!

leave today!

Greek Panorama is a fantastic event and some-


INTERVIEW

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ENDY ZEMENIDES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HELLENIC AMERICAN LEADERSHIP COUNCIL “THE GREEK SUN IS NOT IN CRISIS!”

Greece has been and remains safe and one of the world’s top destinations, waiting to offer its best to all visitors BY DIMITRIS A. FILIPPIDIS dfilippides@gmail.com

HALC HAS FOCUSED ON MAKING GREECE A YEAR-ROUND TOURIST DESTINATION.


ONCE WE LEARN TO TRANSFORM OUR INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS INTO SOMETHING MORE COMMUNAL, GREEK AMERICANS WILL BE STRONGER THAN ANYONE EVER IMAGINED. Endy Zemenides is Executive Director of the Hel- THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IS CONSIDE-

HOW MANY MEMBERS DOES HALC

lenic American Leadership Council, a national RED TO BE THE HEAVY INDUSTRY OF Greek-American advocacy organization. He is a GREECE. HOW DO AMERICANS PERCEI-

HAVE?

We have over 60,000 email activists. We have Greek par excellence, full of passion for his ho- VE GREECE AS A DESTINATION? over 8,000 donors. We have thousands who turn meland. He is a member of the nouvelle vague of Judging by the most popular destinations in to us for news daily – through our Daily Brief and Greek American lobbyists. Mr Zemenides over- Greece for American tourists, the perception of our Greek Current Facebook page. sees a network of Greek-Americans from coast Greece is one of sun and fun on the one hand, and to coast that advocate for close cooperation cultural tourism on the other. This is why you find HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO NEGOTIATE FOR between Greece, Cyprus and the United States on so many Americans who have visited the Greek THE NATIONAL ISSUES WHILE OUR HOa wide range of issues and promotes civic enga- islands, the Acropolis, Ancient Olympia, Delphi, MELAND IS UNDER ALL THIS PRESSURE gement and inter-communal cooperation in the etc. United States.

DURING THE CRISIS?

In June 2013, Endy was named to the Chicago HALC HAS PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT ROLE Council of Global Affairs’ Emerging Leaders Class IN LOBBYING FOR GREECE. WHAT IS THE

changes the context in which all other issues are

The crisis obviously adds issues to the table and

considered. It certainly has made dealing with of 2015, which is made up of 21 emerging lea- AGENDA OF THIS ORGANIZATION some issues more difficult, because there is only ders who will help Chicago compete and thrive in HALC’s agenda and core purpose can be summed so much attention that can be paid to Greece in the global era. up in one line: To ensure the continuity of a distin- policy making circles. Since issues like the econoEndy formerly served as Senior Advisor to for- ct and distinguished Greek American community. my and refuges take precedence, and it makes it mer Illinois State Treasurer and Democratic U.S. There is obviously a political component to this, harder to deal with other issues. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias. He serves on and thus our emphasis on lobbying/advocacy. On the other hand, it has made some issues easier the Editorial Board and Board of Advisors of the Without political power, it is difficult to say that we to deal with, because policy makers are sensitive National Strategy Forum, a Chicago based foreign are as distinguished as we can be. to the dual crises Greece is dealing with and would policy organization, on the Board of Directors of But our agenda isn’t limited to politics. One of our rather ensure Greece’s stability than pressure Atthe National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, and core principles is that on every level that is impor- hens on the Macedonian issue for instance. has lectured in International Relations and Ameri- tant to the Greek-American identity – promoting can Foreign Policy in DePaul University’s Political our culture; preserving our language; promoting Science Department. Greek-Americans; strengthening our institutions; or giving the next generations new and better opportunities – we can do better. We have designed and executed programs – book events, training seminars, mentoring programs, etc – designed to make progress on all these fronts.


INTERVIEW

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WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU WOULD PASS TO THE AMERICANS REGARDING VISITING GREECE? WHY SHOULD ONE VISIT DESPITE THE CRISIS? ARE YOU GOING TO VISIT GREECE THIS SUMMER? The crisis should play no role in you planning to visit Greece. The Greek sun is not in crisis. The Mediterranean, Aegean, Ionian are not in crisis. Greek historical artifacts are not in crisis. The main reasons for going to Greece are still there, and despite what the press may focus on, Greece

HALC’S AGENDA AND CORE PURPOSE IS TO ENSURE THE CONTINUITY OF A DISTINCT AND DISTINGUISHED GREEK AMERICAN COMMUNITY. REGARDING THE ROLE OF HALC, IS THE-

TALK TO ME ABOUT THE PICTURE THE

RE A POLICY REGARDING THE ENHAN-

AVERAGE AMERICAN HAS FOR OUR

CING OF GREEK TOURISM? IS THERE A

COUNTRY? HAS THIS PICTURE BEEN

WORKING TOGETHER WITH THE GREEK

SPOILED BY THE CURRENT CRISIS AND

GOVERNMENT ON THIS SECTION?

THE WAY THE MEDIA APPROACH THE

HALC has focused on making Greece a year-

STORY?

round tourist destination. That is why we pro-

This is a mixed bag. The traditional philhellenic

vided public support of Emirate Airlines’ year-

orientation of Americans is still strong – but this

round direct flight. It is why we are developing

is mostly because of ancient Greece.

cultural tourism products with partners in Gree-

On the other hand, modern Greece has become

ce. It is why we promote agritourism (specifically,

widely known for an economic crisis and a re-

vineyard tours).

fugee crisis. There is little – if any – good news

We have had some dealings with the Greek go-

reported on this front, so Greece’s reputation is

vernment on these tourism promotion measures,

suffering.

but a lot more contact with other stakeholders and private partners.

HOW STRONG AND SUCCESSFUL IS THE GREEK AMERICAN COMMUNITY? As individuals, as families, as heads of companies Greek Americans are wildly successful and influential. Unfortunately, our institutions don’t share that level of success and influence as we do as individuals. Once we learn to transform that individual success into something more communal, Greek Americans will be stronger than anyone ever imagined.

has been and remains safe and one of the world’s top destinations.


www.travelwayeurope.com


STORY

SO MANY CELEBRITIES

THAT JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF GREECE! Gorgeous Greece once again proved to be an irresistible magnet for numerous internationally acclaimed celebrities who spent dreamlike vacations in its mainland and islands last season.


Famous athletes from all sports, super stars from Hollywood, fashion designers and top models came to experience the unique natural beauties of this country and soak up its legendary sun and nightlife. Some of the high-profile names in this long and distinguished list include: TOM HANKS AND RITA WILSON Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson took as usual some time off to soak up the Greek summer sun on the island of Antiparos. The very popular pair was spotted eating and drinking in the low-key Greek island destination with friends, enjoying themselves and the warm summer weather. It was very good to see this highly respected Hollywood couple taking some much needed time to unwind and get away after a rough year. Rita Wilson battled breast cancer earlier last year and had to undergo a double mastectomy while Tom Hanks’ mother, Janet Frager, died and the loss hit him especially hard since he was very close to her. KATE HUDSON The popular actress has a special liking for the island of Skiathos, as she chose it a second year in a row to spend her family holidays. She enjoys the beautiful and serene atmosphere of this Sporades archipelago haven, birthplace of iconic Greek novel writer Alexandros Papadiamantis. Kate kept posting photos on her social media, with one of them, posted by a fan showing her next to the Greek flag. Hudson’s famous mother Goldie Hawn also joined in the holidays. LEONARDO DICAPRIO The highly talented Hollywood star chose to spend some time on the island of Mykonos with his girlfriend Nina Agdal and initially tried to walk around in a hoodie in an effort not be recognised. This, of course, ultimately proved futile as the couple got carried away and were even photographed dancing to the tunes of Greek popular singer Antonis Remos during the latter’s concert in Mykonos. DiCaprio and his company refused sitting in the first line of tables at the concert to avoid drawing attention to them so they enjoyed the whole concert standing in the back rows. The event commenced with a show of fireworks and the venue was packed till the early hours, with many celebrities in attendance.


STORY

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CHARLIZE THERON Another Oscar-winning actress, Charlize Theron, elected the Greek island of Crete to spend her summer rest. The beautiful and charismatic South African resided in Elounda for a few days and even celebrated her birthday there. In contrast with other Hollywood colleagues, she did not arrive on a private plane or yacht but boarded an Aegean flight from Athens, in first class. Charlize was accompanied by two small children and another woman, probably the children’s nanny. The plane’s passengers and crew were surprised to see up close the 41-year old film star and ex-model. Reportedly, she was joined later by another well-known actress and good personal friend, who actually recommended Crete as a great vacation destination to Charlize. GERARD BUTLER The 46-year-old Scottish actor also picked to spend some time on Mykonos with his partner and was seen ‘lazying’ around the beaches and going off on his speed boat. KYLIE MINOGUE World famous Australian pop star was recently seen again on the island of Sifnos with her 28-year-old fiance Joshua Sasse rekindling their ”secret wedding” mystery, after recent reports they were bethrothed secretly on the Greek island. LINDSEY LOHAN The “naughty girl of Hollywood” has made Mykonos a second home away from home. She threw a huge party to celebrate her 30th birthday and of course did not fail to create a scandal with a video showing her fighting with her former fiancé, Russian trust-fund billionaire Egor Tarabasov. PARIS HILTON The 35-year old socialite and heiress of the Hilton Hotel chain couldn’t be missing from the party on Mykonos. Even though she was scheduled to play music at club Cavo Paradiso in August 16, Paris landed earlier in Mykonos airport with a private jet and then boarded a helicopter to the luxurious Myconian Collection Utopia hotel in Elia. This was the second time Paris Hilton visited Mykonos. Her first one was a few years earlier when she was involved with Greek shipping magnate heir Paris Kasidokostas.


TOBY MAGUIRE The celebrated “Spiderman” sailed by the island of Mykonos in his yacht and spent there a much deserved vacation after chasing all those villains to keep our world safe. WILL POULTER The BAFTA award winner, joined the rest of the celebrities on holidays in Mykonos. ANA BEATRIZ BARROS Greek-Egyptian tycoon Karim El Chiaty and Brazilian supermodel Ana Beatriz Barros tied the knot on the lovely and cosmopolitan Greek island of Mykonos in a July event that cost up to 5 million euros with Victoria’s Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio as the maid of honour. ADRIANA LIMA The hot Brazilian model landed in Mykonos to attend a wedding of a best friend and stayed on for much longer. ALESSANDRA AMBROSIO Another Brazilian babe model that expressed her love for Mykonos by posting a photo on her instagram profile with the comment ‘Mykonos, I missed you’. US OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TEAM After winning the gold medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics final against Serbia (96-66) relatively easily, some of the members of team USA jetted off to Mykonos to relax and take in the sun and the famous nightlife on the cosmopolitan island. NBA superstars DeAndre Jordan, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George made their entrance into ‘Nammos’ nightclub and showed off some of their dance moves. They all seemed fascinated with the Greek island of Mykonos and especially the beach of Psarou where they were caught partying wildly on the crystal clear waters. The list goes on and it is definitely not complete as many celebrities chose to visit the Greek islands incognito so they could relax away from the paparazzi and the annoying publicity, even if they usually fail to do so.


STORY

AL PACINO For example, 76-year-old Hollywood movie icon Al Pacino visited the Greek island of Skopelos with his yacht and tried to go unnoticed, but his ‘cover’ was blown when he ordered food from the well known restaurant of ‘Agnontas-Mouria’. According to local reports, the famous star ordered fresh fish, a lobster spaghetti and other seafood. His order was personally delivered to the vessel by the owner of the restaurant who later said he shook hands with the veteran actor. If all of this - and more - happened last year, one can only imagine the huge celebrity turnout Greece is expected to attract during 2017, since demand for this world renowned vacation destination is undeniably stronger this year. Just take into account that Hydra island in Greece was among the secret getaways for the art world’s super rich, according to Forbes which noted: “This gorgeous Greek island has a reputation for celebrity-studded art soirees. During the summer lull in the art calendar, mega collectors, dealers and scensters takeover the tranquil harbor town. Greek islands were also the top choice of the rich and famous for 2016, according to another article by the same magazine: “Beyond the killer combination of natural beauty, history and hip luxury, what distinguishes the Greek Islands is the unique personality of each island. For instance, Mykonos combines a party atmosphere with beautifully pedestrianized shopping streets; while Crete delivers luxury with a sense of privacy.”


Furthermore, agent and operator Lee’s Travel Group, which launched the Forever Cruises brand last December, will charter Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas from June 11 and its ports of call include the legendary Greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos. The entertainment will include “A-list” rappers and in-house DJs, while passengers already confirmed include TV’s Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex stars. Jewel of the Seas will sail a round-trip voyage from Rome, with ports of call including Santorini, Mykonos, Cannes and Monte Carlo. The overnight in Mykonos will include entrance to an exclusive night at the popular Cavo Paradiso night club. The operator’s aim was to achieve a 70/30 ratio of females to males onboard, claiming that this represented the model of most exclusive, highend parties. In short, we are in for another great big hot Greek summer…


GREEK CHATS

\ 28

ANDREAS ANDREADIS

“GREEKS HAVE HOSPITALITY IN THEIR GENES AND THEY CAN DO WONDERS IN CREATING UNIQUE EXPERIENCES!” Head of the Greek Tourism body, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and one of the country’s most successful and resourceful businessmen, Dr. Andreas Andreadis explains to Hellas Blu, why Tourism is and should be the apple of the country’s eye. He considers Tourism vital for boosting growth and an important asset for supporting the local economies and communities. When it comes to experiences for travelers and tourist services, Dr. Andreadis simply states the facts: “Customer satisfaction rates for the greek hotel sector are among the highest, globally” he says and there is more. Off the beaten path, in Greece there is a wealth of unique destinations, hidden gems that one can explore, live like a local and really create lifetime memories.


GREEK CHATS

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1. HOW IMPORTANT IS TOURISM FOR

3. WHAT ELEMENTS MAKE TRAVELING

5. WOULD YOU AGREE THAT INITIATIVES

GREECE AND GREEKS? WHAT IS ITS

TO GREECE A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE?

LIKE THE GREEK PANORAMA TRAVEL

CONTRIBUTION TO THE COUNTRY’S

WHICH OF THESE, DO YOU THINK, CAN

SHOW, IN MAY, HELP TO ACHIEVE THESE

ECONOMY AND SOCIAL COMMUNITY?

BE MORE ATTRACTIVE TO AMERICAN GOALS? Greek Tourism contributes almost 25% of the TRAVELERS. Certainly. It is really important to state that such GDP and more than 10% on employment. It is the The above are the unique characteristics that initiatives not only promote Greece, but push out only sector that continued to bloom during the 8 you are asking for. In regards to the American the message that entrepreneurship in Greece is years of the Greek financial crisis. We are all very travelers, I believe that, sightseeing, culture, and still working full throttle. It is really important the confident that tourism will continue to support our gastronomy are the experiences that they are fact that Tourism can become the vehicle for bueconomy and society. During 2017, we anticipate looking for. The most important element for the sinesses to establish relationships and develop that we will add another GDP unit, supporting the American travelers is the fact that the Greek ho- an extrovert profile. We are supporting Greek PaNational fiscal targets. So, it goes without saying tels and the Greek destinations offers top quality norama and we are curtain that it will have great that Tourism is vital to Greece. It brings growth; services, which are way above the competition. success. it creates jobs; pumps and spreads income to a Customer satisfaction rates for the greek hotel larger spectrum of businesses and professions. It sector are among the highest, globally. Moreover, 6. YOU ARE LEADING THE SANI-IKOS is an important asset for boosting the local eco- there is really a wealth of unique destinations, GROUP OF LUXURY RESORTS AND YOUR nomies and communities.

hidden gems that one can explore, live like a local GROUP HAS BEEN INVESTING GREATand really create lifetime memories. Greek sun LY DURING THE LAST FEW YEARS IN

2. GREECE HAS A LONGSTANDING TRA-

and beaches are extraordinary and this is why CREATING A NEW CONCEPT OF GUEST our destinations are always getting high reviews SERVICES AND EXPERIENCES IN SEVE-

DITION IN HOSPITALITY, WELL-KNOWN AND PRAISED FOR CENTURIES. IS IT STILL EVIDENT NOWADAYS?

in booking.com and TripAdvisor. It is certain that RAL GREEK DESTINATIONS. CAN YOU while in Greece there is nothing than a traveler SHARE SOME MORE DETAILS ABOUT

As a country, we possess the critical mass of cannot find.

THIS VISION WITH OUR READERS?

human resources required. This is the most im-

Ikkos resorts are the first experience, high quali-

portant element, our competitive advantage that 4. GREECE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A QUITE

ty, all-inclusive resorts in Greece. We identify it as

really differentiates from the competition. Greeks POPULAR TRAVEL DESTINATION FOR

“infinite lifestyle” and created a series of specific

have hospitality in their genes, so with the right AMERICANS, ALTHOUGH IT CAN BE A guidance and training we are doing wonders in LONG HAUL JOURNEY FOR MOST PARTS

services in order to support this positioning: 300

creating unique experiences. We also possess OF THE USA. WHAT SHOULD GREECE unique natural beauty, which in itself spawns un- DO TO FACILITATE THIS POPULARITY

de the resort, dine out as we call them, where our

forgettable experiences, historical and archaeo- AND TO ATTRACT MORE NORTH AMElogical monuments that everybody wants to visit, RICAN VISITORS AND TRAVELERS TO

farm-to-table products etc. We created a unique

wine labels, 6 in-house restaurants and 3 outsiguests may enjoy charge free, 24hr room service,

value for money product, creating a solid and difand the appropriate climate conditions to permit GREEK DESTINATIONS? ferent experience. We are enjoying great success. further prolongation of the tourist season. It is the Connectivity is vital in order to maintain and att- In just two years from the launch of Ikkos resorts, duty of everyone active in tourism to safeguard ract more American travelers. Having said that, we managed to hit TripAdvisor’s 1st and 2nd posiour country’s beauty and unique cultural cha- we are working close with the Ministry of Tourism, tions in Europe and 2nd and 6th in the World. The racteristics, and to showcase them, as merited, in order to implement a thorough promotional secret is that guests are feeling like a real “Kings”, among the prime international tourist destina- strategy to the specific market. We have already not worrying about hidden costs, just enjoying the tions.

great publicity results generated from our Marke- unparalleled service. ting company called “Marketing Greece”, and we Sani on the other hand is a complete destination. believe that a close collaboration with the Greek it is identified by its development within a beautiful National Tourism Organization could really boom scenery, a stunning 7 km turquoise beach, more the results.

than 24 superb restaurants, retail stores, suites and bungalows on the beach and a complete care-free sentiment. Sani resort gives the opportunity to families to live a holistic holiday experience in an ideal, quality, clean and fresh environment, just like we envision Greece should be.


Committed to offering you high-end transfer services for business or leisure, we invite you to indulge in a luxurious traveling experience in safety, style and comfort.

www.chriscrossing.gr 4, Apollonos Str., GR - 105 57, Athens - Greece, Tel. ( + 30 ) 216 809 0194 - 5, E-mail: info @ chriscrossing.gr


GREEK CHATS

\ 32

LISSANDROS TSILIDES

“GREECE REWARDS AMERICAN VISITORS WITH GREAT EXPERIENCES AND UNIQUE SENSE OF HOSPITALITY!” «Travel agents are the first tourists in a destination», says Lissandros Tsilides, President of the Federation of the Association of Hellenic Travel & Tourist Agencies. How come? Well, because it’s their job and duty to make sure that they can provide travellers with all the necessary information they might need before choosing and visiting a place of interest and to cater for all their needs. And if they love what they do, then results are guaranteed! This is the case with Greece, greek travel agents and their partners overseas. Plus the fact that Greece is a unique destination, in terms of natural beauties, culture, services and of course, safety and the sense of hospitality like none other. But what do Americans that visit Greece have to say? What else is out there to see and explore, except famous places like Athens, Mykonos and Santorini? And what is... «Dodeka»? Let’s read on!


3. THERE ARE A LOT OF AMERICANS THAT TRAVEL TO GREECE EVERY YEAR, FOR LEISURE OR BUSINESS OR BOTH. HOW IMPORTANT AND HOW USEFUL CAN A LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT BE TO THEM? If you choose a local travel agent, you can be sure that nothing will go wrong while you are travelling. When something does go wrong, local travel agents know how to handle it since they have seen and experienced every problem one can imagine. If there are problems, the visitor probably won’t even notice them, because the agents will have worked behind the scenes to fix them. We know who and how to reach out to in order to get the job done, saving you hours of frustration. That is the value of a professional Greek travel agent. Local travel agents have also a deep knowledge of their country. They are locals that love their country, know it inside out and are proud to present it to their clients.

«AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL TO GREECE THINK OF OUR COUNTRY AS A VERY FRIENDLY AND SAFE DESTINATION WITH AUTHENTIC SERVICES» SAYS LISSANDROS TSILIDES, PRESIDENT OF GREEK TRAVEL AGENTS.

4. WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE ELEMENTS THAT CAN HELP GREECE TO STAND OUT AS A DESTINATION, PARTICULARLY IN NORTH AMERICA? Our country has already a strong tourism identity,

1. SOMEONE ONCE SAID, THAT THERE

2. ON INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, WE SEE

it is a popular choice for travelers from around the

IS NO ONE IN THE TRAVEL BUSINESS

THAT DUE TO SEVERAL FACTORS, LIKE

world and a trending destination for many more

THAT CAN GET TO KNOW A DESTINA-

TECHNOLOGY, CONNECTIVITY ETC. THE

in the future.

TION BETTER THAN A TRAVEL AGENT.

ROLE OF A TRAVEL AGENT IS BECOMING

Competitive advantages of Greece are its rich cul-

WOULD YOU AGREE AND WHY?

MORE CHALLENGING. IS THIS THE CASE

tural heritage, natural beauty and geographical

Without a doubt. Travel agents have years of

WITH THE GREEK MARKET AS WELL?

variety. Moreover, Greece is one of the top global

experience and resources in various destinations,

One of the largest impacts of technology and con-

tourist destinations for sun and beach holidays,

they invest their own money and especially their

nectivity on travel agencies worldwide has been

and it also provides attractive opportunities for

time to travel and visit all the destinations they

the rise of online booking. Since we live in the era

year-round themed holidays, especially through

recommend. Travel agents are the first tourists.

of the Internet, Greek travel agents do face the

alternative tourism.

The most important reason why we, travel agents,

challenges caused by online travel companies.

Greece, however, can offer much more, such as

make this professional investment is for the op-

Nowadays a guest can access a travel portal at

city break holidays combined with island hop-

portunity to meet face to face with the right im-

anytime from anywhere, choose his preferred

ping - which is already a trend – and, together

portant industry contacts, therefore good travel

destination and make an easy payment.

with its friendly people, local Greek cuisine, ouzo,

agents have a “golden network” and know exactly

However, the travel agency is irreplaceable on

wine, traditions and experiences in every corner

who to call to get the answers their clients need.

so many levels. We believe that the growth and

of the country. Practically there is nowhere else

These face-to-face connections are what it really

advancements in technology have helped to en-

that you can find that particular aura, other than in

means to know a destination from the inside.

hance communication, convenience, productivity,

this place. Every corner has its own unique story

speed of business and marketing.

to tell.


GREEK CHATS

\ 34

5. WHAT CAN YOU DO OR YOU THINK

7. YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE MANY AMERI-

9. YOU RECENTLY LAUNCHED A NEW

THAT IT SHOULD BE DONE, TO MAKE

CAN FRIENDS AND CLIENTS. WHAT DO

INITIATIVE CALLED «DODEKA». CAN

THESE ADVANTAGES MORE CLEAR AND

THEY SAY TO YOU REGARDING THEIR

YOU PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS

BETTER SHARED WITH THE AMERICAN

EXPERIENCES IN GREECE?

CONCEPT AND ITS GOALS?

PEOPLE?

American people who travel to Greece think of

In an attempt to showcase alternative tourism in

We need to keep building a very strong brand,

our country as a very friendly and safe destinati-

Greece and to make the goal of twelve month tou-

offer unique experiences to our international

on with authentic services.

rism in Greece a reality, the Federation of Hellenic

guests and also promote them, in ways that the

Their experiences exceed their expectations and

Associations of Travel and Tourist Agencies (Fed-

respective audience can relate to.

they find out by themselves that our country has

HATTA) has created “Dódeka” (Twelve).

Greece has a strong and renowned brand in glo-

little to do with the image that is projected by the

Dodeka is a dynamic proposal aiming at enrich-

bal tourism industry, but is very distinctive too

international media. Greece is an ideal destinati-

ing our tourist product and prolonging the tourist

and embodies great diversity.

on for all kinds of activities in a safe environment

season, which comprises thematic and special

We need to invest more in quality services in or-

at all times of the day and the year and with more

interest activities as well as the promotion of les-

der to attract visitors of higher income and we

travel choices than expected.

ser-known tourist destinations. Dodeka is also a digital magazine and features an

definitely need to take specific actions to extend our seasonality and promote less visited desti-

8. YOUR ASSOCIATION IS ONE OF THE

online site where anyone can find useful informa-

nations of the country. This is particularly true of

MOST DYNAMIC SUPPORTERS OF THE

tion about everything there is to see, smell, taste

unknown destinations, most of which are ready to

GREEK PANORAMA TRAVEL SHOW, IN

and do in Greece as a holiday destination.

welcome new visitors, surprise them and immer-

NEW YORK, IN MAY. WHAT MAKES THIS

We aspire for the constantly enriched program of

se them into local, thematic and unforgettable

EFFORT SO PROMISING? CAN IT HELP

activities of Dodeka to be used as a toolbox, not

experiences.

AND HOW IN BETTER PROMOTING GREE-

only by Greek tour operators and travel agents,

So far Greece has benefited from the unrest in ot-

CE IN THE USA?

but also by their international network.

her popular Mediterranean destinations, but we

The fact that we will participate in a Travel Show

need to work harder and use this short term op-

in the heart of New York, alone, is a tremendous

10. IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SHARE

portunity to maintain good growth. We need to be

opportunity to showcase our country to busines-

A FEW WORDS ABOUT TRAVEL TO GREE-

competitive and explore new opportunities, att-

smen and consumers.

CE TO AN AMERICAN AUDIENCE, WHAT

racting new target groups of modern travelers.

We will follow through the themes that the travel

WOULD YOU SAY?

show will address: Tourism, Culture and Gastro-

All the things you’re looking for in a trip to Greece

6. WE ALL KNOW ABOUT THE GREEK

nomy, and we are delighted that we will be able

- mouthwatering food, deep-blue water, striking

ISLANDS, SANTORINI AND MYKONOS,

to promote Greek tourism in a special and high

scenery, friendly people and the thrill of connec-

ATHENS AND THE PARTHENON, THE

quality market of travelers for Greece, in the best

ting with ancient history - are all here waiting for

CLASSIC TOUR. BUT WHAT ELSE IS OUT

possible way.

you... at very good price.

THERE, IN GREECE, FOR AN AMERICAN TRAVELER TO EXPLORE? There is so much more to Greece than Santorini and Mykonos. There are hundreds of islands and mainland areas of unparalleled beauty, true gems which remain undiscovered. These new destinations do not only rival Santorini and Mykonos but shine through their exceptional attractions, history and flavors, while being away from the big crowds of tourists and noise. Then, there are winter destinations, with a variety of interests in each one of them.

«DODEKA» (WHICH IS THE GREEK WORD FOR «TWELVE») IS A DYNAMIC INITIATIVE AIMING AT ENRICHING TOURIST PRODUCT, WHICH COMPRISES THEMATIC AND SPECIAL INTEREST ACTIVITIES AS WELL AS THE PROMOTION OF LESSER-KNOWN TOURIST DESTINATIONS.


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GREEK CHATS

\ 36

A BRAND

IS WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT YOU…

Antonia Skarakis talks to Hellas Blu about brands and highlights the importance of branding as a sophisticated form of art for communication. Greece is an excellent example of how a unique wealth of concepts and products could lead to a whole new world of messages and a revolution of expressions. After all, as she says, “Greece is Med’s heart, soul and spirit”!


LET’S ATTEMPT TO DEFINE BRAND AND BRANDING, NOWADAYS. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE IT, WHAT’S ITS USE? In times marked by economic crisis and globalization, the presence of Branding and of identity is more valuable and necessary than ever. Brand and branding are not just simple means for promoting our country and our goods. They are the best tools for reaching out and engage the largest possible audience. Brand, is what others think of you. Brand is the ensemble of impressions and experiences that prevail within ourselves.

STARTING FROM THE BRAND «GREECE» AND EVERYTHING BEHIND IT, THERE IS A ONGOING DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW ALL OF THIS RAW WEALTH CAN BE INTEGRADED AND EXPRESSED IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY IN TERMS OF BRANDING. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Greece is the heart, the soul and the spirit of the Mediterreanean world! Brand «Greece», or what each one of us thinks that it should express, is indeed an excellent example, should we want to lead this discussion to new, more creative directions. It’s not just a «living» dialogue which we should always join and follow, it’s also a great challenge for all creative minds, an open call to get more involved, to advance, to come up with new ideas and proposals.


GREEK CHATS

\ 38

We live in a place set on a wealth of history, tradition, natural beauties and intellectual culture. Its people and commodities are the elements reflected in its communicative approach. Elements that compose our identity and through co-determination and self-assesment, our identity becomes this wealth, a sponsor of life.

SO, IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT THIS LEGACY NEEDS A FORM OF EXPRESSION THAT WILL ENCOMPASS NATURAL, CULTURAL AND HUMAN-MADE ELEMENTS INTO COMMERCIAL “MESSAGES”. HOW? Yes, this precious legacy should be expressed, should be visualized. Anyone who wants to create and promote a Greek product should be inspired and be able to inspire others, with this process. All these elements and characteristics, actually, are the «raw material» which should be embedded in a comprehensive «message». To be delivered to its recipients in a form of a design, a packing, a logo, some words. Let’s stop just selling the product and let’s start managing impressions. Whether at work or at home, people live in a world of choices. They share common concerns about their health, their income, the society or the environment. Any time of the day, they make decisions. What they’re going to eat or where, where should they invest, how to save money or where they should spend their money, where to go for a holiday. People choose


brands that make these decisions easy, simple

Our job is to create, today, dynamic brands that will

expectations of the ultimate «judge» of us all, the

and pleasant.

shape the future and that will become the norm,

migthy consumer.

the standards, in all markets.

WHAT IS THE KEY NOTION, THE CRITICAL FACTOR, FOR A SUCCESFUL BRANDING CONCEPT?

Our task is exactly to create or re-design such

AS ADVERTISING

brands, that will serve as example models for com-

is an award wining design agency based in Athens

petition as well. Creative people, creative products

Greece which provides design services and comu-

Well, i think that a «revolution of quality», on all

and creative economy. This is the threefold of our

nication solutions to a worldwide clientele.

aspects, should be our primary quest. We must

mentality and of our work, this is the threefold

realise and value highly the importance of quality

that fills us with motivation and inspiration to pro-

because the core of a convincing greek brand is

duce that exact proposal which will cater for all

the human scale, the human factor and excellent

our client’s needs and at the same time, meet the

basic raw material. In this way, we will be able to manage the impressions created. Because storng brands generate strong and consistent impressions.

YOU AND YOUR TEAM, OBVIOUSLY HAVE AN OUTSTANDING EXPERIENCE IN BRANDING AND IN CREATING OR REDESIGNING BRANDS. WHAT’S HE STORY BEHIND IT?

www.antoniaskaraki.com


www.revithis-realestate.com

+30 210 8135181 info@revithis.com


DESTINATIONS

\ 42

WELCOME TO MYTHICAL PELOPONNESE! THE LAND THAT FILLS OUR MEMORIES WITH FLAVOURS AND AROMAS FROM THOUSANDS OF YEARS A year-round hymn to history, culture, natural beauty, gastronomy and experiences

METHONI: LIVING HISTORY, EAGER TO WHISPER FASCINATING TALES TO MODERN EXPLORERS


The Peloponnese (also known as Moreas or Morias) is the largest peninsula

History & Culture, Sea & Sun, Nature & Outdoor

in Greece and one of the best multi-theme destinations in the Mediterra-

Activities, Luxury & Facilities, Gastronomy & Lo-

nean. It is located on the southern part of Greece expanding in an area of

cal Products, Medical tourism are just some of the

8,320.3 sq miles with a population of more than one million.

elements that compile the rich tourism product of

It is a very famous year-round destination for both Greeks and foreigners

the Peloponnese bound to offer Mythical holidays

receiving more 2 million tourists and 2.5 million hotel stays per year. This

to every visitor.

comes to no surprise, as The Region of Peloponnese can satisfy the endea-

And the Mythical is not attributed to the Pelopon-

vors of every visitor; offering a unique and diverse tourism product from sea

nese by accident, as it is home to 5 UNESCO Cul-

and sun lovers, adventure seekers and wine and food indulgers to culture

tural Heritage Sites, 60 sites of major archaeo-

enthusiasts and sports fanatics. that one can indulge in throughout the year.

logical interest, and 25 museums including the renowned Ancient Olympia one. The Peloponnese offers more than 150 traditional village to discover and 15 areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to explore.

UNSPOILED NATURE TO ENJOY THE SUN AND THE SEA


DESTINATIONS

Peloponnese is home to the prominent Greek antiquity, Spartan & Corinthian city-states, Homer’s main epic tales and Hercules Myths. Traditional settlements, archaeological sites, museums, Classical Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments and monasteries await to be explored. The Peloponnese is also home to five UNESCO World Heritage sites. From the Sanctuary of Asclepius and the Epidaurus Theater to the imposing tomb of Agamemnon, the legendary King Of Mycenae, to the temple of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the first Olympic Games, the Temple of Apollo Epicurus’s and the Mystras Monastery. In this land their legends still live on as bedtime stories. Culture lovers are bound to travel through time whilst exploring the marvels of the ancient Greek Civilization. Should you wish to make your visit more memorable, during the summers months make sure to purchase your tickets well in advance to watch a play at the ancient theatre of Epidavros! With 28% of the total Peloponnese land characterized as Natura, one can only imagine the diverse and breathtaking landscapes that can be witnessed while travelling through the Region. Infrastructure and areas of integrated tourism make the Region easy to explore either by car, coach and bike. The famous, since the ancient times, Mountain Range of Taygetos, adorning the Spartan Valley, along with Parnonas, Artemision, Chelmos, Mainalon, are only some of the mountains whose natural beauty, secret lakes, rivers and hidden caves that are suitable for ARGOLIS: ANCIENT LEGACY MEETS LIVING rafting, kayaking, cave exploring and skiing. In TRADITION AND PICTURESQUE HIDEOUTS mount Chelmos and Mainalon, Ski resorts opera- IN ARGOLIDA

\ 44


te during the winter season, with Chelmos being the second biggest in Greece. The numerous hiking and trekking trails along with the European Path E4, are bound to compensate nature lovers and adventures seekers during their visit. For sea and sun enthousiasts, with some of the most spectacular and unspoilt beaches in the Mediterranean Sea and many luxury and mid-range resorts built on the shore, visitors will surely be coming back. The Region of Peloponnese is surrounded by sea so It goes without saying that swimming is a must. From the Fjord of Gerakas to the unspoiled beaches of Elafonisos and Voidokoilia, opt to sail around and swim in the crystal clear turquoise waters and secluded beaches of the area. Diving is also popular amongst guests who seek to explore the hidden treasures and civilizations of ancient times that lie at the bottom of the sea... Did we mention our Golf courses? Only 45km from Kalamata, two signature golf courses are located by the sea, The Dunes Course and the Bay Course. The Dunes Course is the first 18-hole signature designed golf course in Greece located in a stunningly beautiful west- facing area. Richly endowed by nature the site overlooks magnificent sandy beach, washed by the warm clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea. The 18-hole Bay course is located in Navarino Bay, stretches along a glorious 2 km west-facing seafront offering views of the bay and breathtaking sunset.

CORINTHIA: MONUMENTS OF GLORY PAST CELEBRATING ASTONISHING NATURE BEAUTY.


DESTINATIONS

\ 46

One of the competitive advantages of the Region

land that fills our memories with flavours and aro-

is that all experiences can be topped with a great

mas from thousands of years. . This is the land of

gastronomic experience!

vines , olive trees and orange groves that feed us

Visiting the region of Peloponnese and its tradi-

throughout the year.

tional units of local products is a must. We urge

In this land, people sing and create stories to glo-

you to mix up with locals and taste delicious

rify nature’s gems and prepare traditional recipes

Greek dishes, sweets, wines, vinegar, ouzo, ho-

as a token of their gratitude and appreciation

ney, olive oil, learn all their secrets, from produc-

for nature’s nutritional gifts. In this land the she-

tion to consumption.

pherds live by the mountains, as they produce the

And how can one not be mesmerized by this gra-

milk that breeds us, the famous feta cheese and

cious land? This is Mythical Peloponnese! The

Gruyere, each with its own tastefulness.

NAFPLIO: STROLL IN NAFPLIO’S ALLEYS AND BACKSTREETS, IN TO A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF HOSPITALITY, WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED


With great production of the renowned Kalamata Olive Oil, Nemea wines, mountain honey, Corinthian raisings, lakonian oranges and arcadian aubergines, the Peloponesian cuisine will take away your senses. The Peloponnese is also a booming luxury and wedding destination with a series of quality big-scale investments such as Areas of Integrated Tourism Development, modern integrated destination resorts and luxury hotels underway. The Region’s tourism product is continuously enriched with new tourism infrastructures, such as marinas, tourist moorings and diving areas, city hotels, urban festivals rightfully establishing it as an attractive year-round leisure and business destination. We look forward to welcoming you to mythical Peloponnese!

LACONIA: BREATHTAKING VIEWS AND PLACES, OFFERING AN OVERWHELMING EXPERIENCE


DESTINATIONS

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REDISCOVERING ATHENS GLORIOUS, GLAMOROUS AND REFRESHING!

Athens is one of the most modern ancient metropolies of Europe that never stays still. Every visitor - young or older, to every visit, has new things to explore, new aspects of urban culture to enjoy and new experiences to live. A trip to Athens offers a whole range of options and experiences, from the exciting to the relaxing but most of all what makes it memorable is the warm hospitality of its people.


CULTURAL ESCAPE AT THE CRADLE OF THE WESTERN CIVILIZATION Athens city and the region of Attica & Argosaronic are an open museum with dozens of archaeological sites and more than 80 museums. You can schedule a cultural trip, either for archaeological tour or contemporary art tour. Note that every Metro/Tube station in Athens displays excavation findings or contemporary art installations (large scale). A tip that many visitors don’t know is that with the entrance fee for Acropolis you can also visit the Ancient Agora & Museum, Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery & Museum, Roman Agora, and Temple of Olympian Zeus. Also with a Special Ticket Package you can visit 4 emblematic Museums, National Archaeological Museum, Byzantine & Christian Museum, Numismatic Museum and Epigraphic Museum. Athens isn’t only about monuments and museums, street art is everywhere in the city center. For the last 3 years Athens became something like a Mecca for Street Artists, you can easily discover graffiti on your strolls around the city and the districts of Monastiraki, Psiri, Thissio,

ATHENS, THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS (FOR SO MANY REASONS!)

Gazi, Exarchia or you can book a themed guided-tour that combines the historic past with the vibrant present of the city. Athens nowadays is living a vast bloom in contemporary art with new infrastructures and events of great importance. The brand new National Contemporary Art Museum (EMST) and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center are on the spotlight, also Athens is this year the cohost for the contemporary art exhibition “documenta 14” with Kassel city (Germany) Bike Culture: There is an upcoming two-wheel trend for more than 2 years now in Athens. Sightseeing on a bike or e-bike is available. Take ad-

TOP HOTELS AND RESORTS, READY TO MEET ANY DESIRE

vantage of the extended pedestrians all over the city center or if you are on for a physical challenge follow the cycle path that leads from the city center to the sea (runs parallel to METRO Line1) or pedal parallel the coastal area. ATHENS FOR THE FOOD LOVERS Greek gastronomy comes with 3.500 years of history and it is based on pure, fresh, Greek ingredients, proper use of herbs and spices, fish and seafood, lamp and goat meat and the master of all, olive oil. In Attica, popular Mediterranean nutrition it is not about fashion or trend it’s an

ANTIQUITY: 5.000 OF HISTORY UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY


DESTINATIONS

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everyday way of life for inhabitants and visitors.

3,000 years have passed since then, and all

Join a 5senses journey inside the heart of Athens, with spices, small shops

throughout this time vines have been cultivated

with products from all over Greece, Varvakeios Central Market, street ven-

in the soil of Attica. By tradition Attica was the

dors and local delicacies.

home of “retsina”, wine with unique flavor is an

Follow one of the various guided city food tours: strolling, tasting, and coo-

excellent accompaniment for Mediterranean cui-

king, or follow your instinct. Hotel restaurants in Athens are always a good

sine.

choice for a mouthwatering gastronomy experience and most of them

Many varieties of grape are grown today, but the

come with astonishing views.

Savatiano variety is characteristic of Attica, bea-

Combine an Athens trip with a tour at Attica’s wineries, stroll around viney-

ring the last years many awards in contests all

ards and taste Athens wines along with traditional cheese, seasonal fruits

over the world. There are more than 60,000 ac-

& local products.

res of vineyards in the region, and many wineries

Once upon a time, the God Dionysus visited Attica and decided that it was a

which still continue Attica’s long tradition. Athens

good place for his favorite vine. So he taught Icarius, who was the King of a

has yet another reason that makes it special. It

town in Attica, how to grow vines and how to make wine. And so Icarius was

is the only European capital where vineyards and

probably the first person to be blessed with this knowledge.

wineries are just a stone’s throw away of the city center. ATHENS BY THE SEA-SIDE Can’t make up your mind sightseeing or sunbathing? In Athens you can easily combine both. The cosmopolitan Athens Riviera is just a stone’s throw away of the Acropolis. The southern coastal area from Paleo Faliro to Sounio is filled with esplanades, marinas, luxury resorts by the sea, beach bars & restaurants, organized or secluded beaches. There are 80km for you, to enjoy summer vibes throughout the year. Sunset time at Sounio’s Poseidon Temple is just pure magic. Island hoping If Athens is the crown, Argosaronic Islands are the gems. Hydra, Poros, Aegina, Spetses await you to explore them. Each one comes with personal character and distinctive charm. You can explore them one by one or visit during a day cruise. ENCHANTING HYDRA Hydra is the Island of Admirals and Artists. Looking like a rock inside the Saronic Gulf has been a magnet for tourists since 1950. Hydra remains unique and still has fanatic friends around the world, keeps the cosmopolitan allure of the past companied with modern facilities. Stepping at the island is like stepping in a different atmosphere. Stone mansions, hidden yards full of flowers, narrow alleys and no vehicle at all. You can reach

A CITY BY THE SEA…


Hydra in an hour and a half with a flying dolphin

RUN THE ATHENS AUTHENTIC MARATHON

from Piraeus port. Hydra Island offers tranquility,

Running in Athens: The opportunities to join a race of endurance in Athens are many round the year.

beauty and balance.

The major annual event though is Athens Authentic Marathon held every November. For 2017 the date is set for Sunday November 12th. More than 40,000 runners from all over the world will compete

COSMOPOLITAN SPETSES

in the Classic Route that Pheidippides & Spyros Louis took and they will join the celebration of strength

Locals say “once you’ve been to Spetses, you

and will-power. Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association took the initiative to begin a synergy

seek to come back” and it’s true. Historic mansi-

for the promotion of Athens Marathon. You can find out more at www.athensauthentic.com

ons of admirals, vivid nightlife, traditional shipy-

You can see people taking the hills of Athens like Lycabettus and Philopappos for training or the Natio-

ards, breathtaking beaches, museums, traditional

nal Gardens or even the Panathenaic Stadium, which is the finish line of the Athens Authentic Marathon

family stores baking and selling almond-sweets.

and the Stadium of the 1st Modern Olympic Games in 1896.

Spetses island can awake your senses either you

Now is the time to experience Athens. Be a part of the renaissance of the city in terms of tourism,

visit for a day or for a month. Spetses island is

cultural events and infrastructure with new hotel openings and new aspects of city tourism to explore.

only 50 nautical miles away from Athens, you can

For more information about Athens, Tourism, Hotels, Events you can visit www.all-athens-hotels.com

reach the island by flying dolphins approximately at 2 or 2,30 hours. VOLCANIC POROS Poros is the island of serenity and romance and also the only island in Greece baring a male name. “Poros” means “passage” as Poros island and the across coast of Troizina, Galatas are so close to each other so they are supposed as one part. A long sea canal runs through them creating a magnificent area. Poros is overgrown with pine trees which reach the sea; Beautiful sandy beaches with pine trees generously offering their shadow to swimmers, plenty of archaeological sites, neoclassical mansions, the Old Russian Dockyard and the imposing Historic Clock up in the hill make Poros Island an ideal destination for tranquility and endless walks around both coasts. AEGINA OF GREAT ARTISTS & PISTACHIOS Aegina is the island closest to Athens, just an hour from the port of Piraeus with ferries travelling back and forth almost every hour. Many artists use Aegina as their permanent house. Aegina’s inland is ideal for excursions and tours. Don’t leave the Island before buying their trademark product “Fistiki” that is a local peanut with shell. In Aegina you will find numerous restaurants and taverns by the sea, crystal clear waters for swimming and of course a vibrant nightlife. A must visit archaeological site is the Temple of Athena Aphaia that was built in 480 bC

THESE LITTLE “SNAPSHOTS”, TO BE REMEMBERED FOR LIFE


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RETHYMNO:

THE FASCINATING “GEM” ON CRETE’S “CROWN”! Set in the Mediterranean sea, on the mythical island of Crete, the cradle of European civilization. More than 12 km of soft sandy beaches embraced by the Cretan sea to the North, flanked by the Ida mountain chain and highest peak of Crete to the south of the city. There, at its highest mountain peak, according to ancient greek Mythology, Goddess Rea found refuge to give birth to Zeus! Further on the south, the shores of the Libyan sea, a breathtaking landscape, dotted with picturesque villages and settlements, goldsand beaches and unspoiled wilderness.

GUESTS? ALWAYS WELCOME AND ALWAYS WITH A “TSIKOUDIA”!


CULTURE AND MAIN CULTURAL EVENTS In Rethymno, holidays never end! Live in the mo-

and dairy products. Every July Rethymno orga-

ment, in the rhythm of Rethymno Carnival in the

nizes a week full of tastes, colors and music celeb-

heart of winter, or taste authentic Cretan pro-

rating the quality Cretan products at Cretan Diet

ducts at the Cretan Diet Festival in July, travel

Festival. (find more atwww.cretandietfestival.gr/

in time through deifying arts during the Renais-

en/)

sance Festival of Rethymno every second year in

The Renaissance Festival celebrates the period of

October.

Cretan Renaissance in order to bring this period

Every year during the period of Carnival the Ret-

to the present.

Rethymno, the capital of Rethymno prefecture,

hymnians, Cretans as well as visitors from all over

The interdependence of many cultural fields pro-

is the third largest city of Crete with a munici-

the world participate in the famous Rethymno

ves that the Venetian period exerted great in-

pality of 63,000 habitants. It is centrally locat-

Carnival. Over 16.000 people participate, with

fluence, providing the spiritual seeds that brought

ed on the north side of the island, 1-hour drive

more than 30 floats that parade through the

Arts to their peak.

approx. away from each airport and each port of

main streets of Rethymno , inviting thousands of

(more at www.rfr.gr/)

neighbour prefectures.. There are traces of a civi-

visitors ! (more info at www.rethymnocarnival.gr )

Organized races for running and walking, beach

lisation that dates back 4,500 years, numerous

The Cretan Diet has long been hailed as healthy,

running and many beach sports are taking place

Byzantine churches and monasteries, enchan-

based on the high-fibre fresh fruits and vegetab-

yearly in the historic city center or at the villages

ting Venetian monuments, the most well-pre-

les,herbs, as well as Cretan Sheep Meat, fresh fish

with participants covering a wide range of ages.

served Renaissance city in Greece, with endless beaches, caves, gorges and unique flora and fauna. The first findings that indicate the human presence in Rethymno date back to the post-Minoan period. The ancient city of ”Rithymna” flourished in the 4th and 3rd century BC. The old town is situated around the walls of the Venetian Fortezza. Within the old city of Rethymnon, there is a large number of narrow streets, picturesque alleys, graceful wood-balconied houses and monuments still preserve the old Venetian style and Ottoman influences to a great extent. It has been declared a ”protected historical monument” and a traditional settlement. The Fortezza fortress, the picturesque Venetian harbour, the Lighthouse, the Rimondi fountain, the renaissance architecture of the Loggia, the Neratze mosque, the Archaeological Museum at Saint Francis church (Basilica), the Porta Guoraentrance to the town during the Venetian occupation - the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete are some of the old town’s highlights. A beautiful sandy beach and crystal-clear seas dominate the coastline of Rethymno. Due to its central location and because of its numerous Archeological sites, historic monuments, spectacular beaches, traditional villages, cultural events and famous gastronomy, it accommodates more than half a million tourists and attracts more than 1 million visitors on day tours and cruises annually. Tourism, Agriculture and Culture are the driving forces for the local economy, for creating jobs and for boosting alternative tourism.

“SO MUCH TO DISCOVER AND TO ENJOY, IN EVERY CORNER OF RETHYMNO’S INLAND”


DESTINATIONS

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THE TASTE OF CRETE … Within the Mediterranean sea the Cretan diet is world wide known for it has past present and future. This heritage of tastes goes all the way back to bronze age period, showing us the way towards a healthier way of living. The resent archeological excavations, except marvelous buildings and artifacts, have also uncovered anthropological findings and inscriptions about the diet habits of the Minoans, thus connecting the diet of the past of this island and its bond with today’s culinary trends. But the most important substance of the Cretan diet is the olive oil. The south of Rethymno is the largest olive field in the eastern Mediterranean. The relationship of Crete and Cretans with this tree is not just . Olive oil is an essential element of our daily diet as it was for the Minoans 4500 years ago. The vitamins of olive oil, are valuable source of health and strength for the inhabitants of Crete. Traditionally today, as well as during the Bronze Age the people of this island consume a great variety of beans, bulbs, wild greens and less often, meat and fish. Finding authentic Cretan dishes based on local produced ingredients in every alley of the historic center or in any village, will become a charming

THE OLD TOWN. THE CHARM OF THE PAST, HIGHLIGHTED BY THE SENSE OF TODAY.

challenge for you, a call to an authentic gastronomic experience.

HOMER IN CRETE, ANCIENT ELEUTHERNA The hill of ancient Eleutherna at the foot of Mount plain, two-storied edifice on a hillside, sunlit, with Psiloritis is situated in Crete’s heart. The town’s courtyards with local plants. Visitors enter from position and its relation to the sea created an the decorated with columns atrium, in halls acopen society, as revealed by research and exca- commodating the town’s history since 3000 vations carried out by the University of Crete that B.C. till 1300 A.D. with everyday life objects and began in 1985 and continue till today.

works of art-masterpieces from Prehistory, the

Ancient Eleutherna reveals all its secrets since geometric, archaic, classic, Hellenistic, Roman 3000 B.C. till the 14th century A.D. From the ex- and early Byzantine years. Pots, sculptures, figucavation of the Orthi Petra necropolis it appears rines, copper, gold, and iron objects are exhibited. that the Early Iron Age, especially since 900 B.C. The findings of the Orthi Petra necropolis’ extill the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 5th cavations are particularly important, since they century B.C., is the town’s most important period, depict Homer’s world: the ritual of funeral pyres directly connected to the dawn of the Hellenic ci- described in the “Iliad”, especially Patroclus’ fuvilization and Homer, the legendary poet and aut- neral pyre. Also a society of heroic warriors and

THE ELEUTHERNA MUSEUM. FANTASTIC This is the first archaeological site museum in The museum’s emblematic exhibits are accom- LOCATION, UNIQUE DESIGN, ASTONISHING EXHIBITS. ONE OF A KIND! Crete and the fourth largest in Greece, a modern, panied by special films and screenings. hor of “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.

imperious princesses is outlined.


ARKADI MONASTERY

UNIVERSITY OF CRETE

A very important site in Cretan history, this mo-

true cultural and outdoor getaways.

The University of Crete is one of Greece’s most

nastery stands as a symbol of patriotism and sa-

. 1,624 native wild plants with 170 endemic plant

distinguished higher education institutions. This

crifice. Perched on the northwestern cliff face of

and 1,000 animal species

modern university in Rethymno has the faculties

Psiloritis, on an altitude of 500 meters, this used

· 12 walking trails (E4)

of education, philosophy and social, political and

to be a major cultural and spiritual center during

· 4 Natura2000 - 13121.4200 acres areas

economic science. The university is producing in-

the 16th century.

· 10 of the most famous caves of Crete - Ideon

ternationally significant research. The university’s

During the Ottoman occupation it became a cen-

Andron (the birth cave of Zeus)

mission also includes international cooperation

ter for the resistance. Its revolutionary history

· 11 small and large, impressive gorges

and integration. It has staff and student exchan-

was culminated in 1866, when 600 fighters and

· 65km sandy beach

ges with many European and American research

300 women and children holed up in there. When

· 180 nests of endangered sea turtle Caretta ca-

and Erasmus programs and welcomes many in-

the Ottomans broke through the main gate and

retta, which lays its eggs every year on the 8 Blue

ternational students to the City.

entered the monastery, its defenders decided

Flags-beaches of Rethymno.

against surrendering and blew up the gunpowder depot, killing everyone inside. LIVE THE FULL CRETAN EXPERIENCE IN RETHYMNO. Take part in authentic village life with the people and explore a wider spectrum of adventures that make your trip truly special and authentic. Whether you are hanging out with locals or challenging yourself on all walking or cycling routes through the well preserved traditional villages, these memories stay with you forever. Find cycling routes to the 8km cycling path into the historic center or choose from 22 cycling paths to create a unique, personal tour that gets you away from the touristy, crowded attractions, and instead, focuses on all the hidden details that make the city so wonderful to experience. GOING GREEN Known for its openhearted welcoming people, thriving nature with a wide variety of flora and fauna, gorges, mountainous villages and hiking trails

RETHYMNO LIFE: NEVER MISSING A no’s inland is the perfect place to experience a CHANCE TO CELEBRATE AND ENJOY LIFE.

and also for its rich history and tradition, Rethym-


EDITOR’S CHOICE


EDITOR’S CHOICE


EDITOR’S CHOICE

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EDITOR’S CHOICE

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EDITOR’S CHOICE

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DISCOVER THE YACHTING WORLD OF GREECE

Greece, the land of Apollo, evoking images of white washed buildings and crystal clear blue waters, offers 14,000 miles of coastline and over 4,000 islands. Sun blessed beaches and majestic scenery await the visitor, with no better way to experience it all than by private yacht, with you private company and your own crew to serve you. Yachting is unequaled to any other holiday in Greece as you enjoy the freedom to chose where and when you want to go and experience the fabled great open blue as Homer once wrote about. With never having to unpack a suitcase but once, worry about booking hotels, airplanes and ferries and flagging down taxis, it allows you more time for enjoying your company, swimming, dining and exploring the wonders of Greece. A day aboard is fun loving as you drop anchor at a deserted beach and swim right off your yacht and play with the yacht’s onboard seatoys. Dine on the aft deck al fresco with a meal of fresh cooked delectable Greek specialties prepared by your private chef. Later in the early evening pull into a bustling harbor and explore the town taking you back to times of old. Pop into the clubs where the young and young at heart all enjoy the nightlife into the wee hours. Yachting can be as affordable as renting a hotel room but has so much more to offer than four walls and a ceiling; the freedom of taking control of your vacation and the opportunity of changing your route and plans at a moment’s notice is a cherished perk to use a yacht to explore the Grecian islands. Come and visit the “Yachting World of Greece” aboard a private floating villa- your own yacht- be


pampered by your own crew and explore one of the hottest 2017 destinations for this summer’s vacation. HOW TO GET STARTED Contact a yacht broker and request a yacht for the budget you have in mind, for the amount of people you plan to cruise with and for the dates, specific or not, you intend to vacation. Let the broker take care of the rest – from offering you various yacht options to getting you booked and sorting all the details. All that is left is to tell them your food and drink preferences, book your airfare and then show up for embarkation! It is no wonder that Greece’s yacht brokers confirm that their guests are often repeat clients, returning over and over again to experience the splendor which is Greece – whether to new island groups or to their beloved classic choices. Happy cruising!


EDITOR’S CHOICE

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FIND A PRIVATE BOAT,

BOOK, BOARD AND OFF YOU... SAIL! INSTAYACHT is an innovative mobile application that offers a high level of unique services on transfers, island hopping and daily cruising. In other words, INSTAYACHT is a marketplace for instant and conventional boat chartering service, making it a unique experience on Greek Islands.


It was founded in 2016 by Dimitris Koutsolioutsos

Greece, can now choose the boat of their choice

and Stamatis Papageorgiou. Their main goal was

(luxury or economic), the destination throughout

to help travellers who wanted to cruise around

Greek islands, the duration of the cruise and the

Greek islands, to be able to find boats instantly

desirable yacht facilities.

for cruising, and to help them feel like Kings and Queens, without having to pay a fortune.

3. INSTANT

All the above can now be accomplished with three

For our demanding travellers who want to cruise

main INSTAYACHT services:

or transfer “on the spot”, there is now an option, for the first time in chartering history, of the ins-

1. TRANSFER:

tant booking service. It gives them the opportu-

Travellers who want to sail around Greek islands,

nity to travel within the day, with the boat of their

now can choose both pickup location and the de-

choice, among available boats in their region,

sirable destination, define the time and the boat

combining both transfer and cruising services.

requirements for their instant transfer.

But there is more in INSTAYACHT that meets the eye...

2. CRUISE:

INSTAYACHT now offers to its users the oppor-

Travellers who want to spend their holidays in

tunity to travel around Greek islands with unique offers! In the application, users can find the tab “Offers” in which they are able to book unique transfer/cruise deals. ARE YOU READY TO CRUISE AROUND? website: instayacht.com facebook: www.facebook.com/instayacht w: +30.2106202309 Contact us at travel@instayacht.com for Special Offer for Hellas Blue Magazine

ARE YOU IN FOR SAILING HOLIDAYS, ISLAND HOPPING OR EXPLORING THOSE OUT-OF-REACH IDYLLIC BEACHES? INSTAYACHT MAKES IT POSSIBLE


GASTRONOMY INTRO

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A SHORT GASTRONOMY GUIDE TO A LAND BLESSED WITH DIVINE TASTES!

How traditional Greek products, heritage and cooking, meet modern greek creativity, leading to a culinary heaven Yes, greek food has been famed for years mainly

Places and landscapes, products and people,

with the collective national taste.

by moussaka, souvlaki, ouzo, wine and some olive

history and traditions, happenings and rituals,

From the rosemary-scented snails of Crete, the

oil. But there’s so much more in to it, all those me-

markets and enterprises, tastes, recipes and lo-

ladenia of Kimolos, the chickpeas of Sifnos, the

rits and aspects of greek culinary heritage that

cal cuisines, unfold before you in such a way that

tomato fritters and fava of Santorini, the pastit-

can make your head spin! In a good and pleasant

every place will come to life as a gastronomic des-

sada and sofrito of Corfu, the meat pies of Kefal-

way, that is.

tination.

lonia, the stuffed vegetables of Macedonia, the

It’s not easy to put in to a few words this wonder-

The unique mosaic of Greek gastronomy show-

matsata of Folegandros, the spetsofai of Pelion,

ful world of greek gastronomy. Furthemore, to

cased through its exquisite tiles, the aspects and

the cheesepies of Epirus, to the most important

explain how important and needy is for Greeks

dimensions of the country’s gastronomy.

local dishes, as well as the more universal ones

– and their guests, mind you - to get together to

Reassuring and comforting, traditional local

like youvetsi, stifado, pastitsio, moussaka, stuf-

share and enjoy “what’s in the kitchen today”.

cooking, the cooking of our childhood, takes us

fed tomatoes, vegetables stewed in oil are what

Let’s make an effort. With the valuable guidance

back to the age of innocence, meals taken around

connect Greeks with their past and their collective

of George Pittas and his fascinating “Greek

the family table with grandparents and relatives.

gastronomic conscience. Tastes that bring with

Gastronomy Guide”! (www.greekgastronomy-

There the taste of the family core was connected

them a feeling of security, continuity and unity in

guide.gr)

with the communal local taste and, even beyond,

a world that has lost its collective and communal


references.

eatery, was where foreign travelers first got to

tural phenomena applies to gastronomy as well.

The particular geographic configuration of Gree-

know and taste Greek food, Greek retsina and the

At the end of the day the cuisines that acquire in-

ce, characterized by the longest coastline in Eu-

Greek way of having fun.

ternational renown are those that had confidence

rope, high snow-capped mountains that reach the

One of the characteristics of the old-fashioned

in their uniqueness and which succeeded in pro-

sea, small rivers and narrow valleys, and hund-

taverna was the pleasure taken in the ritual of

moting their genuine local cooking with only the

reds of islands, resulted in the creation of many

eating. Perhaps harking back to the old notion of

minimal adjustments needed to correspond to modern times and conditions.

micro-environments that favoured the cultivation

companionship coming from breaking bread to-

of specific crops that in turn defined the cooking

gether, taverna diners eat as a group and share

and tastes of their localities.

the food.

LOCAL “PANYGYRI”:

This diversity highlights the characteristic pro-

Instead of ordering a separate dish for each per-

A CELEBRATION OF LIFE

duce of various areas of Greece that represent

son, several dishes are ordered and placed in the

Local Festivals are those special days of the

the whole spectrum of what constitutes food.

middle of the table so that everyone can help

year where all the members of society will join

Some of these products may be charged with

themselves to a bite of everything as they choo-

up to celebrate their local saint’s nameday in the

history and symbolism or intertwined with the

se, using either a fork or even their fingers, beha-

church, country chapel or the monastery bearing

culture of each place. They may give it its culinary

viour inconceivable in western culture.

his – or her – name, brought together by the fami-

identity, form the basis of the local cuisine and de-

Glasses of retsina clink, good wishes are exchan-

liar rituals. The religious element, the food

fine its gastronomic singularity.

ged, knives and forks meet in midair over plates

and drink, the various traditions of the

Some of these have become identified with Greek

as do diners’ eyes, while some gourmands vye to

agricultural cycle, dancing, singing and

life both in the present and in the recent past, but

sop up the last drops of oil or sauce with chunks

revelry are what make these festivals so

also in the distant past, stretching back in some

of bread.

beguiling. They are of great interest in general,

cases to Greek mythology. We think of the olive

These days the joy and fun in traditional as well

but each one has something distinctive about it.

associated with the goddess Athena, wine with

as neo-traditional tavernas, ouzeries, meze joints

That is why these fetes are inimitable as social

Dionysos and wheat with Demetra.

and magerika (places specializing in home-coo-

events, bringing together features you won’t find

Other foods carry with them a grand history, such

ked slow food) is often reminiscent of the good

in exclusively cultural festivals.

as the currants of Corinth, which played a vital

old days where food, good talk, jokes, singing,

In spite of all the radical changes that have occur-

role in Greek economy of the 19th century rep-

revelling and dance were inseparable. One of the

red in the past fifty years, changes that have

resenting 70% of Greek exports and enormous

characteristics of the neighbourhood taverna,

overturned centuries worth of morals and habits

profits for the areas where they were grown and

especially in the countryside, is that you are likely

especially as concerns the traditional community,

marketed.

to be served a lot of local produce, much of which

these festivals continue to constitute a common

Many choice products have been awarded PDO –

may well come from the proprietor’s own vege-

form of expression for most participants who by

PGI (Products of Designated Origin or Products

table patch.

their presence are resisting the alienation

of Geographic Indication) by the EU because they

Nowadays, a wave of fresh air is inspiring Greek

from their traditional culture, whose essen-

are so closely identified with the food ways of

cooking mainly thanks to new approaches to

ce was the cohesion of their society. Perhaps it is

specific areas. Some examples are the mastiha of

local produce. The conjunction of past with pre-

in these remnants of community life that we may

Chios, the saffron of Kozani, the Corfiot kumquat,

sent, global with local, traditional with modern

find the solution to the utter and total globalizati-

the apples of Pelion, Aegina’s pistachios, the figs

has created new possibilities in the spectrum of

on that is threatening to level us. In the hypocri-

of Kymi (Evia), the graviera cheese of Naxos, Za-

art and social life, but also in the world of gast-

sy of today’s social interactions and the escape

kynthos nougat, Thessaloniki’s sesame rings…

ronomy.

through “virtual travel”, these festivals are here to

“The more local something is, the more

remind us that real life still exists. Life shared

TAVERNAS AND RESTAURANTS: THE

universal it becomes” could be the new motto

with others.

“HEART” OF SOCIETY AND SOCIALIZING

that lifts topicality from the strictly local to the ge-

Feel free to explore and learn more about greek

The taverna, a laidback, no frills, neighbourhood

neral. And of course whatever holds true for cul-

gastronomy at www.greekgastronomyguide.gr!


GASTRONOMY

\ 78

“MEZES”

THE “KING” OF GREEK CULINARY CULTURE When we talk about “mezedhes”, in Greece, we mean a huge variety of appetizers that are served before a meal or several dishes served to accompany a greek drink, like ouzo, tsipouro, tsikoudia or local wine. “Mezes”, goes beyond gastronomy and cuisine. When Greeks say, “let’s sit down and have a mezedhaki”, a special kind of… social ritual is about to take place. A get-together, for short or for long, mostly informal or relaxing, to chat about practically everything, from relationships and about things going on, up to the… weather or politics, or even to discuss business, plans and strategies. The “mezes ritual” is so embedded in the social life and culture of Greeks, that it is happening everywhere and throughout the day. It could take pages after pages to describe the different kinds of “mezedhes”. But let’s make a start.


GASTRONOMY

\ 80

Greek cuisine is very diverse and although there

red onion, feta cheese and kalamata olives, dres-

• Patatosalata: Potato salad with olive oil, finely

are many common characteristics amongst the

sed with olive oil [in Cyprus it contains also crac-

sliced onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice or vinegar.

culinary traditions of different regions within the

ked wheat (bulgur), spring onions instead of red

• Saganaki: fried yellow cheese usually graviera

country, there are also many differences, making

and lemon juice].

cheese; the word “saganaki” means a small coo-

it difficult to present a full list of representative

• Horta: wild or cultivated greens, steamed or

king pan, is used to say “fried” and can be applied

dishes.

blanched and made into salad, simply dressed

to many other foods.

For example, the vegetarian dish “Chaniotiko

with lemon juice and olive oil. They can be eaten

• Skordalia: thick garlic and potato puree, usual-

Boureki” (oven baked slices of potatoes with

as a light meal with potatoes (especially during

ly accompanies deep fried fish/cod [bakaliaro me

zucchini, myzithra cheese and mint) is a typical

Lent, in lieu of fish or meat).

skordo, i.e. fried battered cod with garlic dip, being

dish in western Crete, in the region of Chania. A

• Kolokythoanthoi: zucchini flowers stuffed

a very popular dish].

family in Chania may consume this dish 1-2 times

with rice or cheese and herbs.

• Spanakopita: spinach, feta cheese (someti-

per week in the summer season. However, it is

• Koukkia: fava beans.

mes in combination with ricotta cheese), onions

not cooked in any other region of Greece. Many

• Lachanosalata: Cabbage Salad. Very finely

or spring onions, egg and seasoning wrapped in

food items are wrapped in Filo pastry, either in

shredded cabbage with salt, olive oil, lemon juice/

phyllo pastry in a form of a pie.

bite-size triangles or in large sheets: kotopita

vinegar dressing.

• Taramosalata (from Turkish tarama, roe):

(chicken), chortopita (greens), spanakotyropita

• Marides tiganites: Deep-fried whitebait, usu-

fish roe mixed with boiled potatoes or moistened

(spinach and cheese), kreatopita (meat pie, using

ally served with lemon wedges.

breadcrumbs, olive oil and lemon juice.

minced meat) etc.

• Melitzanes, eggplants.

• Tzatziki (from Turkish cacık): yoghurt with cu-

Here is a list that presents some of the most

• Melitzanosalata: aubergine (eggplant) salad,

cumber and garlic puree, used as a dip.

representative Greek dishes that can be found

looks like Potato salad.

• Tyropita: cheese (usually mizithra) a whi-

throughout the country and the most famous of

• Pantzarosalata: beetroot salad with olive oil

te-cream cheese pie with phyllo pastry.

the local ones:

and vinegar.

“MEZE”… RULES! Meze (Appetizer) is served in restaurants called mezedopoleíon, served to complement beverage, and in similar establishments known as tsipourádiko or ouzerí (a type of café that serves beverage, like ouzo or tsipouro). A tavérna (tavern) or estiatório (restaurant) also offer a mezé as an orektikó (appetiser). Many restaurants offer their house pikilía (“variety”), a platter with a smorgasbord of various mezedhes that can be served immediately to customers looking for a quick and/or light meal. Hosts commonly serve mezédhes to their guests at informal or impromptu get-togethers, as they are easy to prepare on short notice. Krasomezédhes (literally “wine-meze”) is a meze that goes well with wine; ouzomezédhes are meze that goes with ouzo or with tsipouro, as well. • Deep Fried vegetables “tiganita” (courgettes, aubergines, peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms). • Dolmathes: grapevine leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables, meat is also often included. • Fava: Yellow split pea puree or other bean purees; sometimes made of fava beans. • Greek Salad: The so-called Greek Salad is known in Greece as Village/Country Salad (Horiatiki), essentially a tomato salad with cucumber,


GASTRONOMY INTERVIEW

\ 86

MARIA LOI:

“NEW YORKERS EMBRACE THE GREEK CUISINE” Maria Loi is a Greek chef who operates the restauran “Loi estiatorio” in New York. She speaks to the Hellenic Blu about her life, her restaurant and the greek cuisine.

MARIA LOI’S MISCHIEVOUS GRIN, SPARKLING EYES, AND CULINARY PROWESS HAVE MADE HER A FOOD SUPERSTAR;


HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO OPEN A RESTAURANT IN NEW YORK? WAS IT THE CRISIS THAT LED YOU TO THIS DECISION OR CHALLENGE TO TRY YOUR LUCK IN A WORLD METROPOLIS? “A year or so before the crisis, I was visiting to advise a friend on their restaurant and career, and happen to pass by the space of my first New York establishment. I noticed the handles of the door spelled my initials, ML, in Greek, and knew that I had to come to New York! In the next 15 days, I completed my outstanding business in Greece and became a New Yorker. “ WHY DID YOU CHOOSE NEW YORK AND NOT ANY OTHER MAJOR CITY, FOR EXAMPLE IN EUROPE? “I love New York City. New York is the city that never sleeps (like me!), and the city of opportunity! It is very different from Greece but, like Delphi, it is full of energy. It is the only place I can live except Greece.” DID YOU ENCOUNTER DIFFICULTIES IN THE EARLY DAYS OF YOUR NEW BUSINESS ENDEAVOR? IS NEW YORK OPEN AND WELCOMING TOWARDS TO NEW ENTREPRENEURS? “As Frank Sinatra said, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!” As welcoming and supportive as New York can be, the expectations of New Yorkers are very high. They love people who use their skills and passion to make new things. If you have the passion and the skills, New York will adopt you as one of its own.” WHAT WAS YOUR GREATEST ANXIETY WHEN YOU STARTED? WERE YOU AFRAID SOMETHING WOULD GO WRONG? “I didn’t really have anxiety or fear, because I am so passionate about my food and my work, and I am so proud to be Greek. I just wanted everyone to see Greece and Greek cuisine through my eyes. I believed then, and still do now, that if you love what you do, and are proud of what you do, success will be yours!”

APART FROM THE MENU, DID YOU ENVISION AND EXECUTE THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF LOI ESTIATORIO; “Of course! From the moment you walk in the door at Loi Estiatorio, we want to transport you to the Greek seaside! The photographs on the wall are pictures I took from my home in Nafpaktos. We also take great pride in creating an authentic Greek experience for all of our customers from the ingredients and preparation of the food, to my personal greetings for everyone…” WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY OF YOUR MENU AT THE RESTAURANT? “I believe it is important to honor and respect ingredients, and classic dishes native to the cuisine; but at the same time, it’s important to put your own unique stamp on them – it’s what makes Loi cuisine special. Sometimes I focus on the traditional flavor profile, other times I focus on the traditional composition – you must respect the traditions, but look towards, and innovate for the future.” IS YOUR MENU HEAVILY SEAFOOD BASED BECAUSE YOUR ROOTS ARE FROM NAFPAKTOS, A COASTAL CITY? “No, my menu highlights real Greek food. It is heavily seafood-based because Greece is known for the best fish in the world--and it’s healthy!” HOW DO NYERS RESPOND TO GREEK CUISINE – IS IT CONSIDERED FOREIGN TO THEIR TASTES? “New Yorkers are well-informed diners, and very health conscious. Greek cuisine has elements that are familiar to them, and elements that are not; because Greek and Mediterranean food is known to be the healthiest, New Yorkers embrace the cuisine with open arms.”


GASTRONOMY INTERVIEW

\ 88

WITH LOI, MODERN KNOWLEDGE AND ANCIENT LORE ARE CAREFULLY BLENDED TO CREATE A NEW BRAND OF “SOUL” FOOD—DINING THAT IS AS GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL AS IT IS FOR YOUR BODY. HOW EASY WAS IT TO CONVINCE OUTSI-

WITH THE EXPERIENCE YOU’VE GAINED,

“Yes! I’m so thankful for the support and love I

DERS THAT GREEK CUISINE IS NOT ONLY

WHAT’S THE PERCEPTION NYERS HAVE

receive from the Greek community, and support

MOUSSAKA AND SOUVLAKI?

REGARDING GREEK CUISINE AND TRA-

Greece and the Greek community in any way I can.

“New Yorkers knew about the Mediterranean

DITIONAL GREEK PRODUCTS? IS THERE

I always feel very proud when I hear that my food

diet, and after reading my book The Greek Diet,

ROOM FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

reminds fellow Greeks of home, or that something

they learned the pillars of Mediterranean cuisine

AND DISTRIBUTION OF GREEK PRO-

I make is ‘just like my YiaYia used to make!’ – that’s

were Greek. It was very easy to show them that

DUCTS TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC?

the goal, to capture the essence of Greece in my

the Greek food they knew can be healthy, tasty,

“I believe the perception of Greek cuisine and

food.”

and easy. They have learned that Greek food is

Greek products is very positive! There is definite-

not only ‘street-food’, but beautiful, elegant cuisi-

ly room for further development and distribution,

HAVE YOU COOKED FOR MANY FAMOUS/

ne as well. Simplicity leaves you with nothing to

as the trends are all heading towards the healthy

WELL KNOWN PEOPLE DURING YOUR

hide behind - using fresh, local, seasonal ingredi-

lifestyle the Greek community has subscribed to

TIME IN NEW YORK? WHO WERE THEY

ents to showcase the flavors of Greece is how I

for thousands of years.

AND HOW DO THEY RESPOND TO GREEK

like to share the cuisine of my homeland.”

States are using more homeopathic remedies for

CUISINE?

People in the United

simple ailments, like the common cold; why take

“I have cooked for President Obama, Vice Presi-

WHAT GREEK DISHES AND FLAVOR PRO-

cold medicine that makes you drowsy, when you

dent Biden, and 250 renown guests at the White

FILES DO NYERS PREFER?

can drink some honey and lemon, and some ore-

House. Celebrities and politicians, as well as chefs

“New Yorkers love the authentic flavors of Loi Es-

gano tea, and feel better almost immediately!”

from around the world, all dine at my restaurant.

tiatorio. They love my Htapodaki Stin Schara and

We let our famous regular customers quietly en-

Lavraki, my Moussaka and Pastitsio, and of cour-

DO YOU HAVE GREEKS HAVE CUSTO-

joy their meals – it’s because I don’t name them

se, my Baklava! They loved my Pougi so much

MERS IN ADDITION TO YOUR LOCAL

that they keep coming back. I feel free to tell you,

that we launched a line of Loi Dips that are now in

CLIENTELE? WHAT DO THEY TELL YOU

however, that Kathleen Turner, George Takei and

Whole Foods Markets!”

WHEN THEY TRY YOUR DISHES?

Tony Bennett are all more than customers to us


- they are my friends. I’m very blessed to have

“Americans, at least my customers, love Greece.

gin Olive Oil Contest in Malaga, Spain, during the

these friends, because they know that in Greece,

Once they see pictures of the countryside, meet

International Convention on Extra Virgin Olive Oil

you trust the chef to give you the best, and that’s

the people, and taste the food, it becomes their

and the Mediterranean Diet.”

what I strive to do!”

new favorite.”

WITH YOUR CULINARY EXPERIENCE,

“GREEK PANORAMA” IS THE FIRST EX-

DO YOU LONG FOR GREECE? WHAT DO

WHAT ELEMENTS OF GREEK CUISINE

HIBITION FOCUSED ON TOURISM, CUL-

YOU MISS FROM HOME, NOW THAT YOU

SHOULD BE SHOWCASED TO ENTICE THE

TURE AND GASTRONOMY EXCLUSIVELY

ARE IN THE US?

PUBLIC?

FOR GREECE THAT WILL BE ORGANIZED

“Everyone who knows Greece misses it when they

“I believe Greek cuisine is the best cuisine – not

IN MAY 2017, IN THE “HEART” OF MAN-

are away. I miss simple things like getting fresh-

because I am Greek, though I am very proud to

HATTAN, IN NEW YORK AT THE ICONIC

ly pressed olive oil from the olive press. Being

be! It’s because it stems from a very healthy, na-

GRAND

STATI-

a native Greek, of course I miss it. It is deeper

tural way of eating; local, sustainable, and availab-

ON. WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST THOUGHTS

than just a fond memory of vacation; Greece will

le. As we say in The Greek Diet, people should eat

ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE?

always be in my heart and soul.”

food that is tasty, healthy, and easy. We love sho-

“As the Global Ambassador of Greek Gastrono-

wing people authentic Greek products and ways

my, I always support the promotion and prolife-

of eating. It makes me happy to tell people to en-

ration of Greek culture and cuisine - I am very

joy everything from a little more Greek wine and

excited and proud to hear about this ”Greek Pa-

olive oil to yogurt, honey, and oregano.”

norama” event showcasing Greek Gastronomy,

CENTRAL

TERMINAL

Culture, and Tourism at the historic Grand Central APART FROM AMBASSADOR OF GREEK

Station!

CUISINE, WE KNOW THAT YOU PROMOTE

It is unfortunate that I cannot be a part of this

GREECE IN EVERY WAY – HOW DO AME-

event, as this showcase overlaps with another

RICANS RESPOND UPON HEARING THE

event I am participating in, as the President of

WORD ‘GREECE’?

the Jury for the World’s Best Healthy Extra Vir-


GASTRONOMY INTERVIEW

\ 90

WHO IS MARIA LOI Maria Loi’s warmth and huge smile are your first welcome. Her table’s colorful bounty is fresh, festive, healthful and reminiscent of her days growing up along the seaside in Greece. The dining space echoes with laughter, comfort and delightful conversations; this is where memories are made. Everyone seated at the Loi table feels like a special friend, carefully chosen to share this life. With Loi, modern knowledge and ancient lore are carefully blended to create a new brand of “soul” food—dining that is as good for your soul as it is for your body. When Maria Loi chooses ingredients and creates recipes, she considers the ancient grains and flavors that continue to flourish millenniums later. This is an area of expertise; her book on ancient Greek dining was the only official cookbook of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. These ingredients, as respected as the great Greek minds of Plato, Socrates and Hippocrates, are the pillars of a healthy, tasty Mediterranean diet: olive oil, Greek yogurt, grains, beans and freshly picked greens. Maria Loi’s food is about truth in flavor. Hers is a philosophy derived from the warm, scented Greek air and the sounds of loved ones around the table. Maria Loi’s mischievous grin, sparkling eyes, and culinary prowess have made her a food superstar; she is a popular television chef in Greece and the author of more than 36 cookbooks, and over 150 magazine editions. She owns an exquisite gourmet restaurant in idyllic Nafpaktos and has a line of Maria Loi dinnerware and kitchen appliances. The Chef’s Club of Greece, a worldwide culinary organization has recognized her as an official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy; in June of 2016, she was unanimously re-elected for a second term as the official Ambassador. She is also the founding partner in a fashion company. Maria now shares her expertise and knowledge

A NATURAL TALENT IN GASTRONOMY, RIGHT FROM THE START!


GASTRONOMY INTERVIEW

\ 92

with American audiences. She quickly earned a reputation as the U.S. leader in authentic Greek cuisine and ingredients: In March 2012, Maria was invited to cook for President Obama, Vice President Biden, and 250 honored guests at the White House. Her latest book, The Greek Diet (October 2014, HarperCollins), written with veteran health journalist and athlete Sarah Toland, is grounded in the Greek Mediterranean lifestyle and combines these classic ingredients in recipes that satisfy the soul and the palette. The Greek Diet includes 100 healthy, authentic Greek recipes that use delicious unprocessed ingredients that will delight amateur and experienced home cooks. The Greek Diet has been translated in Portuguese for publication in Brazil, and has been translated in Greek for publication in Greece as well, with more editions on the way. Her pasta line, Loi Pasta launched at Whole Foods Market in March of 2016, with other Greek products hitting shelves in mid-2016. Her new line of dips, Loi Dips, officially launched exclusively at the opening of the new Whole Foods Market location at Bryant Park. She is a frequent television guest and speaker on the topics of Greek cuisine and culture, and healthy eating. Chef Loi was invited as one of America’s top six female chefs by Fortune Magazine and James Beard Foundation to the 2014 Fortune: The Most Powerful Women Summit. Her restaurant, Loi, was a favorite of the media and celebrities and a staple on New York’s Upper West Side from 2011 to June 2014. Now, Chef Loi has brought her unique approach to Greek cuisine to Loi Estiatorio, her new restaurant in the heart of Manhattan, an ode to the flavors of Greece (opened February 2015). Chef Loi has also partnered with Hampton Forge to create Loi by Hampton Forge, her own line of cookware and tabletop products, which launched at the Chicago Housewares Show in March 2015. In January 2016, Chef Loi was the inaugural chef of The Ritz-Carlton Central Park South’s Kitchen-Takeover series, which opened to rave reviews. In April 2016, Chef Loi was invited to be a panelist at the Mediterranean Diet Roundtable Conference in LA, with professors from Harvard University, and other decision makers in the food industry. In November 2016, Chef Loi was a judge at the

inaugural Ernesto Illy Coffee Awards at the UN, rican causes that care for children in need. She and traveled to Australia as a featured chef for is a founder of Elpida (the Greek word meaning OMG Week, a weeklong festival in Melbourne “hope”), a foundation to support children with curated by Chef George Calombaris, with the top cancer. She oversees a fund that grants university Greek chefs from around the world. Most recent- scholarships to underprivileged students. Chef ly, Chef Loi has been named the president of the Loi also works closely with The Center for Discojury at the ‘World Best Healthy Extra Virgin Olive very and their Department of Nourishment Arts Oil Contest’ that will take place in Malaga, Spain, as a DaVinci Master Chef. In June of 2015, Chef in May 2017.

Loi received the prestigious Women’s Award from

Chef Loi is deeply involved in Greek and Ame- the Women Together Foundation at the United


Nations, honoring her for the philanthropic accomplishments over the years, focusing on her time since moving to the United States. In May of 2016, Chef Loi received the Leadership Award from Save Latin America Inc. for her work empowering women across multiple fields. Chef Loi was inducted in September 2016 into the New York Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, the pre-eminent global women’s organization in the areas of food, wine, and hospitality. During her diverse career, Maria spent many years representing clients Texaco, Nokia and ITT Sheraton among others. This rewarding yet fast-paced life, long hours and travel separated her from her roots and the Greek traditions of family, food, balance and nature. From that experience, Maria developed a lifestyle program for all that would nurture a healthy body and soul, influenced by the Greek ancients! Ultimately, her mission in life is simple, subscribing to THE motto – tasty, healthy, easy – Chef Loi wants to change the world - one healthy, Greek bite at a time.


1ST GREEK PANORAMA

\ 94

GREECE

TAKES MANHATTAN! Travel Show arrives in Grand Central Terminal Station to showcase Greece and excite thousands of visitors The lights of Greek tourism, culture, and gast-

In the Vanderbilt Hall there will be more than 40 also invested significantly in the hub www.gogree-

ronomy will flash in New York, this May, for the

kiosks and a dedicated area for food and wine cenow.com . Part of their strategy is to continually

highly-anticipated exhibition, Greek Panorama,

tasting so that visitors will be able to taste tra- look for new opportunities in the tourism market.

the first exhibition exclusively about Greece that

ditional Greek food products and wines that are Want to learn more? Please visit www.greekpa-

is taking place in the Big Apple.

already available in the US. Cultural events will run norama.com

Featuring presentations for most tourist desti-

in parallel with the exhibition.

nations in Greece, this exciting event will present

Opening hours:

hotels-accommodation offers, tour operators and

CELEBRITY GUESTS

travel agencies, tourist resorts, Greek gastronomy, real estate, shopping, yachting, cruises and

The Greek community, as well as the Greek-Ame- Saturday 13 May 2017: 10:00 – 18:00 rican community, stand together on the side of East Vanderbilt Hall

great destinations!

this important initiative. Great personalities will

Treat yourself the chance to taste Greek flavors

be present at the exhibition, and many surprises

and drinks and enjoy happenings and lots of sur-

are in store for participants.

prises!

The love of the Greek diaspora for the country is

Organized by Hellas North American Events, Inc.

a catalyst for this exhibition. It will turn it into a ce-

in collaboration with North Events, the events will

lebration of Hellenism.

take place May 12-13, 2017.

To coincide with Greek Panorama, organizers had

GREEK PANORAMA WILL SHOWCASE THE BEST OF GREECE: CULTURE, TRAVEL, GASTRONOMY, SHOPPING, AND MORE, MAY 12-13 IN NY

Friday 12 May 2017: 10:00 – 18:00


DID YOU KNOW?

\ 96

A FEW FAST AND

– HOPEFULLY – INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT GREECE!

For a spot under the sun About 28 million arrivals by non-resident visitors were recorded in Greece in 2016. That’s almost 3 times Greece’s population! In general, about 75% of tourist trips take place between May and October. THE US WAVE About 700.000 Americans visit Greece every year, most of them for holidays. Athens, the Greek Islands of the Aegean Sea (especially Santorini and Mykonos) Crete, the Peloponnese, Chalkidiki and Thessaloniki are their favorite destinations. Many Americans visiting Greece also prefer to take a cruise. 3.000 YEARS-OLD AND KEEPS GOING The world’s third leading producer of olives, the Greeks have cultivated olive trees since ancient times. An ancient olive tree is located on the Greek island of Crete and is one of seven olive trees in the Mediterranean believed to be at least 2,000 to 3,000 years old. Although its exact age cannot be verified, the Olive Tree of Vouves is considered the oldest, estimated at over 3,000 years old. It still produces olives! LOOKS TINY ON THE MAP, BUT… Greece has the 11th longest coastline in the world, nearly 9.000 miles in total. There are over 2000 islands, of which more than 200 are populated. On the other hand, Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. What a combi-


DID YOU KNOW?

\ 98

nation! The highest mountain in Greece is Mount Olympus and yes, it is the “authentic” Olympus, home to the Gods of ancient Greek Mythology. ATHENS, “MOTHER” TO SO MANY THINGS Athens is one of the oldest cities in Europe, as it’s been inhabited continuously for 7000 years. It’s also the birthplace of Western philosophy and literature, democracy, political science, some major mathematical principles and last but not least, of comedy and tragedy.

SOUVLAKI Yes, everybody who is learning things about

AND THE WINNER WAS… According to Greek mythology, a long, long time ago, Athena and Poseidon agreed that whoever presented the best gift, would have the city named after the winner. The contest took place on the Acropolis. Poseidon struck the rock with his trident and produced a salt spring and a horse. Athena brought forth an olive tree from the ground by the touch of her spear and she was proclaimed the victor... SPONGE AND MARBLE Greece is the leading producer of sea sponges. About 7% of all the marble produced in the world comes from Greece. OLYMPIC GAMES Greece is the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, first recorded in 776 BC in Olympia, and hosted the modern Olympic Games twice, the inaugural 1896 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Summer Olympics, both in Athens. During

Greece has heard about souvlaki. Tasting souvlaki the parade of nations Greece is always called first,

is a must, when visiting Greece, as you can find a

as the founding nation of the ancient precursor of

place making souvlakia practically in every corner

modern Olympics.

in every town. In its original form just the chunks of meat in skewers – the “kalamaki”, not wrap-

SO MUCH WHITE AND BLUE…

ped in pitta bread - it has been around for a few

Many Greek structures such as doors, window-

thousand years. It was known with the name obe-

sills, furniture, and church domes are painted a

liskos (dim. of obelos –spit), mentioned by among

turquoise blue, especially in the Cyclades Islands.

others in the works of Aristophanes, Xenophon

It reflects the blue and white of the sky and the

etc. The skewered kebab-like recipe existed as a

sea, but legend says that it is used because of an

favourite in ancient Greece during Archaic times,

ancient belief that this shade of blue keeps evil

as the earliest references are attested in Homer.

away. They called the color “kyano”, which the

However, excavations held in Akrotiri on the is-

words “cyan” and “cyanide” are derived from.

land of Santorini and recently, at Eleutherna, in Rethymnon, Crete, unearthed stone sets of bar-

BUILT TO LAST…

becues for skewers and iron skewers (Greek: kra-

The Parthenon (“Place of the Parthens,” from

teutai) used before the 17th century BC.

parthenos or “virgin”) was built almost 2,500 years ago and sits on the Acropolis above the city of Athens. It actually featured colorful sculptures and a large gold-and-ivory statue of Athena. It took 15 years to build. A SALAD TO WATCH Probaply the most famous salad in the world, the Greek salad or «horiatiki» ( a villager’s salad) has an endless number of variations. Nevertheless it all starts with the basics: Tomatoes, cucumber, onions, olives and feta cheese, salt, oregano and of course, olive oil. After these, it’s up to you...


ATHENS

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