Experience the Flavours of Autumn

Ranging from Michelin-seasoned chefs to open flame sunset dining, these gastronomic events taking place around Greece showcase the best of seasonal farming and produce throughout the Autumn months.


This three-day multi-event getaway is the perfect escape for those who want to experience Greek gastronomy by connecting with local producers and enjoying unique, curated food experiences.

Where: Guests will be accommodated at a modern villa located in Agioi Theodoroi facing the Gulf of Megara, located 1hour outside of Athens. The activities will take place around Nemea and Corinthia, in the Peloponnese. 

When: Thursday, October 5 – Sunday, October 8 (retreat runs for three days)

What’s special about it? The Kefi Experience focuses on providing a deep dive into Greek gastronomy, specifically that of the northern Peloponnese. Guests will go to an olive grove and pistachio farm to sample and taste what makes the fall season so unique in the region. By going beyond the well-known destinations, you’ll meet local farmers, cultivators, and chefs. Special culinary events include an exclusive open flame 6-course meal with an organic natural wine pairing, all in a sunset location. All the details are seen to by the Kefi Experience team over the course of the 3 days. 

Cost: The full 3-night stay starts at €1200 for one person (twin room) and €2700 for 2 people (double room, en-suite). Mention IN+SIGHTS GREECE when enquiring and you’ll receive a 15% discount. 

Want to check out some of the curated events but can’t spend the full 3 days away? Special day passes (without transfers) are also available starting from €250.

What it includes: The cost of accommodation (three nights) with a private pool and beach access, and all experiences are covered in the ticket. This includes all meals and special dining events, drinks, a pistachio farm visit and sampling, an olive grove visit and tasting, a vineyard visit and tasting, and all transfers. 

Ideal for: Solo travelers and/or couples/friends looking for a getaway to relax and take a deep dive into Greek culture and the gastronomic scene.

Tickets/more info: kefi-experience or @‌kefi_experience


Following the success of its Supper Club Series in June 2023, Mona returns this Autumn with a new programme of pop-up culinary events at its downtown “Living Room” space in Monastiraki. The sold-out Summer edition featured a melange of international guest chefs and cuisines from Italy, Taiwan and the Middle East, and the Fall series of events promises to be just as enticing, featuring chefs seasoned in Michelin-star restaurants ranging from Turkish-Italian farm to table, to Greek herbs and seafood purism to a creative tasting menu touching upon French, Italian, Japanese and Nordic influences.

Where: Mona Athens Hotel

When: The series of dinner events will take place from late September through to early November.

September 26 + 27 – Stories from the soil | Chef Osman Serdaroglou, Izmir

October 18 – Herbs and Ocean Tales | Andreas Nikolakopoulos, Greece

October 31+ November 1 – The Eclectic Tasting | Federico Vigano, Zurich

What’s special about it? The invited chefs will be showcasing their dedication to seasonal fare across five dates. Each distinctive dinner will be paired with a selection of Greek natural wines, all served to an accompaniment of eclectic tunes in the setting of Mona’s intimate restaurant space.

Cost: Tickets range from €55-65.

Ideal for: Foodies, solo or groups, who appreciate interesting flavours and crave a social aspect to dining out.

Tickets/more info: more.com


Paradiso events transform ordinary spaces around Athens for guests to enjoy seasonal food and sample natural wines in a beautifully designed setting.

Where: This series of intimate dining events will take place at a secret location within the National Garden in the center of Athens.

When: Over the weekend of 22-24 September, you can opt for an early evening experience on Friday 22 September, or enjoy the mild midday sun on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September. 

What’s special about it? Every Paradiso event links design, culture, food and wine in a comfortable social setting. Guests may show up as strangers but they’ll often leave as friends. 

Cost: €60 for wine tasting and meal. Products used are exclusively seasonal and organic ingredients from Greece. Wines will be curated by Habiba wines, an exciting boutique winemaker.

Ideal for: Anyone with a passion for food, wine and design will appreciate the details that go into the experience curated by Paradiso. The social environment makes it ideal for solo visitors as well as couples or smaller groups.  

Tickets/more info: available via @paradiso_athens

Chat With Chef Alexandros Tsiotinis

Award-winning chef Alexandros Tsiotinis talks about his journey to opening up his own restaurant, his favourite cuisine, and which ingredient he loves cooking with most. 

Born and raised in Athens, Tsiotinis’ interest in food began at a young age, and his desire to become an innovative chef led him to Paris, where he worked alongside culinary pioneers such as Alain Passard, Helene Darroze, Eric Frechon and Pascal Barbot. 

It’s no surprise Tsiotinis would go on to achieve great things, including the opening of CTC Urban Gastronomy, a Michelin-awarded restaurant in Athens’ Keramaikos neighbourhood. Featuring both an elegant terrace and a cozy indoor dining space, here, Tsiotinis invites “guests” to sit back and enjoy a memorable dining experience via his creative degustation menu, which consists of one transcendently impressive dish after the other.

During our recent chat, he also let us in on where to go to taste the freshest fish! Read on to discover more. 

Tell us a bit about your childhood and how it influenced your passion for food. 

When I was a child, my Sunday table was always a point of reference. My family’s love of food and that nice feeling of sitting around a table is what made me realise that this is what I want my everyday life to be like.

When did you start your career as a chef? 

When I was 17, right before finishing school, I decided to become a chef. Soon after that, at 18, I entered culinary school.

How did you find the transition from Athens to Paris? 

After I began my studies in Athens, I realised that not only did I really like this profession, but that it also suited me. At the same time, I noticed the focus in Greece was far behind and if I wanted to improve, I needed to see things from a different perspective. Paris (and France in general) is the Mecca of gastronomy, so I decided my culinary future should unfold there.

What led you to open your own restaurant in Athens? 

To me, a chef must be a traveller to gain both experience and knowledge from around the world. I also believe a chef should complete his “journey” at home. So, I decided to return to Athens and create my own space where I could express myself freely. 

Having received so many accolades, including a Michelin star, what’s been the highlight of your career so far?  

I really believe in crossroads, and I think the two most important ones for me were the day I started culinary school, followed by May 1st, 2015 when I became a restaurateur. This move opened up a completely different world for me.

What influences your creative dishes at CTC Urban Gastronomy? 

Absolutely everything. Any image, taste, or even a memory can be transformed into a dish.

What standout dish have you created that’s been a huge hit with your guests? 

I’ll tell you about a dish that was created within ten minutes and has been with me for the last ten years. It’s our signature sweetcorn velouté flavoured with lobster, truffle and a bergamot espuma. You will find this dish on all our menus.

Which ingredient do you love cooking with most?   

I love citrus. I admire the way its flavours change like a chameleon; becoming sour, bitter, or even sweet- depending on the needs of each dish.

Having travelled the world, what country has impressed you with its cuisine? 

I must mention France, with its culinary culture that captivates me to this day. But also Japan. As with everything else, the Japanese have created an incredible philosophy around food, which they adhere to.

Your ideal way to spend an afternoon away from the kitchen?  

At home with friends, watching movies, playing games, and having a laugh. 

What excites you most about Athens’ current dining scene? 

That the locals have now become more knowledgeable about food. That they’re interested in something different. And they are embracing new efforts.

Finally, if you had friends from overseas visiting Athens for the first time, where would you take them for a night out? 

To Kavos in Corinth, where they can discover the real taste of fresh fish. 

Whipped Feta, Chargrilled Piperiés and Almonds Recipe

There is always a dip or two on most Greek dining tables. Here, Greek-style yoghurt provides a creamy and smooth base for tangy, salty and crumbly feta, which, once combined, creates a dreamy bowl that pairs perfectly with the smoky peppers and roasted almonds. 

Note: Serves 4 


-250 g (9 oz) Greek feta, roughly chopped

-180 g (6 & 1/2 oz) Greek-style yoghurt

-150 g (5 & 1/2) Roasted red piperiés or store-bought roasted red peppers (capsicums), finely sliced into strips

-35 g (1/4 cup) roasted almonds, roughly chopped

-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


-In a food processor, pulse the feta and yoghurt for 1–2 minutes, until smooth.

-Take care not to over-whip the mixture or it will become too runny.

-To serve, spoon the whipped feta into a shallow serving bowl, top with the sliced piperiés and chopped almonds, and drizzle with the oil.

This recipe has been shared with IN+SIGHTS GREECE courtesy of Helena and Vikki Moursellas.

You can find this recipe and many more Greek feast ideas in their new book Peinao, out September 2023.

Grizo & Prasino: Organic Tea Experts

Grizo & Prasino is a family, all-things-tea-related business run by husband and wife Kostas and Aggeliki, from their botanical farm in Thrace. The seed for this idea was planted almost a decade ago and the couple took its first steps towards making it happen right after their wedding day! We recently had a chat with the duo to discover their story.

Tell me more about yourself and your company Grizo & Prasino!

In 2012, Kostas and I got married and we spent the money that our family and friends gave us for the wedding to buy the equipment for our first business (similar to Grizo & Prasino) called ‘Drogi Biological Herbs’.

As an agriculture engineer, Kostas had a personal interest in herbs and aromatic plants since 2008- I have vivid memories of his enthusiasm each time he would taste a new herb. I also had a bee in my bonnet for their medicinal properties and read every book under the sun about them. At the same time, we run our separate businesses, I, as a lawyer and Kostas, as an Organic Farming consultant. It was these jobs that would fuel the bank and allow us to make our hobby happen and turn it into a business. In 2016, things changed with the arrival of our baby. Our time was limited so we decided to turn into business coaching to get more information about running a business and how this hobby of ours could potentially turn into our full-time income source.

In 2017, after a serious health issue, I decided to leave my career in law and so Grizo & Prasino was born at the end of the same year. Since then many things have changed – the way we work, the time we dedicated to the farm, and even our original goals! We grow as our business grows and we learn from our mistakes. Thankfully we make plenty of them!

How did it feel when you had your first sale?

I cannot remember much about our first sale however what I do remember is that by the time our website went live in December 2017, we were exhausted! We had spent so much time building our branding strategy, setting up the website and clearly communicating who we are, our vision and values; that when we started receiving positive feedback from our friends and loved ones we felt pride, happiness and an impatience to see where this would lead us.

Where in Rodopi do you go foraging?

Wild foraging at a commercial level could be harmful to nature so we have our own farm where we cultivate the herbs we use. We steer away from practices that would potentially damage the environment and our customers. Take as an example the case of Malotira in Crete, the famous Cretan tea that is nearly extinct due to over-foraging. Then, there is always the matter of quality consistency. With wild foraging you cannot control certain parameters such as the rainfall and the conditions of the top and sub-soil, that affect the taste, flavour and therapeutical properties of the herbs.

What do you love more about this job?

We both followed our dream, quit our day jobs and turned our hobby into our business, working every day on something that we both love. It wasn’t an easy task but our love for botanology and herbs gives us the strength to keep going. There is an innumerable number of products that could be based on herbs and I am not even sure if one life is enough to learn all about them and apply them to our products. Grizo & Prasino allows us to be creative, to constantly think of new ideas and make them happen. It is also a job that brings us closer to nature as we spend plenty of time on the farm. But beyond everything else, it is a job that allows us to produce commodities that helps others and makes their life better. We don’t just sell stuff, we believe in their magic, too!

How has your life changed since Grizo and Prasino?

I am not going to bore you with the details but, as I mentioned, I used to be a lawyer so you could say that life has changed massively ever since. I no longer chase deadlines nor do I have to support cases I am not agreeing with. I am not visiting the farm as frequently as Kostas does but when I do it does me good and I it lifts my spirit. As for Kostas, even though he is an agriculture engineer and working as a consultant for all those years, he too found himself getting out of the office more than he used to. If you knew Kostas in real life, you would see that the outdoors suit him more than the office. He loves agroecology and trying new practices for our farm. Some of those practices look outdated but they are far from it! He is always on the hunt for new practices and techniques that are applied on other farms in Greece and abroad. It is a very creative process and come to think of it, creating a farm is like painting on a larger scale, isn’t it?

What are your top places around Komotini to reconnect with nature?

We love the little village of Pandroso and the beach of Molyvoti (also known as Kursumlu). Those are the first places that come to mind when we need to get some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors. Rodopi is full of interesting places to visit and it is truly amazing how there are still so many pristine and unspoiled spots to explore.

Last but not least, what are your favourite Grizo and Prasino tea flavours and
which flavour one must definitely try?

My preferences vary with the change of seasons. Around this time of the year, I like to drink the “exhale” (sage, pergamot and juniper root), but before that, I frantically drank “mantarili” (mandarin, honeysuckle and chamomile). However, the flavour that I love and keep going back to again and again is the “xana & xana” (rosemary, althaea and louiza) with no sugar, please. Kostas’s favourite is the “orange tzitzimenta” (mint, ginger and orange) and he believes it’s the best of our creations! I guess he is a mint kind of guy as he also likes “pu & pu” (mint, sage and calendula) no sugar for him either.

Images by Anna Paraskevidou- art traces ©


Best Greek Wines to Pair With Chocolate

Every year on July 7th World Chocolate Day allows chocolate lovers around the world to indulge in their favourite treat without any guilt. And to celebrate we’ve rounded up the best Greek wines to pair with the chocolate of your choice.

Over the years, Valentine’s Day has become synonymous with chocolate, in the consciousness of the world. But each year, on July 7, we commemorate chocolate’s introduction to Europe in 1550.

Chocolate offers a broad range of flavors and flavor complexity, just like wine. When wine and chocolate are paired successfully, the result raises both elements to a higher level and creates a perfect duo for the tongue and mouth. 

Insights Greece - Best Greek Wines to Pair With Chocolate
Chocolate and wine

As with any pairing of food and wine, there are no set rules. Palates are subjective and experimentation is the key to discovering new loves. However, there are some tips and established norms for those who prefer shortcuts over trial and error. Let’s see some pairing suggestions below. 

Dark Chocolate 

Dark chocolates with 70% to 100% cacao are the most intense. By definition, dark chocolate contains a minimum of 35% cocoa solids. They have a rich flavor and they call for a wine that offers full-body, robust aromas and intense flavor sketches with bold fruit. A Zinfandel wine would do the job in this case, but The Zinfandel variety is not vinified in Greece so dark chocolate lovers won’t be able to combine their favorite chocolate with an appropriate wine. Ok, I’m joking. Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate usually work well together, because Cabernet Sauvignon is generally full-bodied and it needs to be matched with intense flavors, so raising the cocoa content in the chocolate is key.

As the cocoa content decreases (50% and below) we may consider a wine from Syrah or Merlot grapes. 

If I had to opt for some Greek labels, those would be the Avlotopi of Tselepos Estate, an 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and the Les Rois Des Montagnes of Papargyriou Winery, an intense and concentrated 100% Syrah wine.

White Chocolate

Even though it is referred to as white chocolate, this dessert isn’t technically true chocolate as it doesn’t include cocoa, but cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids. Its sweet flavors of cream, milk, honey, vanilla, caramel, or fruit make it quite a versatile pair with wine. Italy’s Moscato d’Asti with its subtle bubbles would make an ideal candidate. Another route, for pairing wine with white chocolate, based on Greek vinifications is Muscat, which tends to be lightly aromatic and fruity, i.e. characteristics that lift and refresh the palate. Gewürztraminer with its slight sweetness plus typical lychee fruit tends to also hold up quite well to the buttery mouthfeel and intense profile of white chocolate.

Recommended labels: Lenga, a semi sweet Gewürztraminer from Avantis Estate and Lagopati, a Muscat of Alexandria, Limnos from Chatzigeorgiou Winery. 

Milk Chocolate 

Milk chocolate has a smaller percentage of cocoa and a higher percentage of sugar, compared with dark chocolate. This factor, plus the milk content means it’s milder, and sweeter transmitting flavors of brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, honey, caramel, milk, cream and nuts. The ripe, red fruit and often lighter body and silky tannins of a Pinot Noir or a medium-bodied Merlot will match well with the smooth character and cocoa butter components of milk chocolate. From Greek varieties, an Agiorgitiko could also hold up quite well to the mild mouthfeel and integrated profile of milk chocolate. Also, a sparkling wine could pair well. The bright acidity and fusion of bubbles bring out the intense fruit flavors and chocolate accents particularly well. 

Suggested labels: Aurelia Sparkling from Zoinos Winery and Nemea from Gofas Estate i.e. a 100% Agiorgitiko. 

If you are being skeptical about the above combinations and have doubts, you should go with a classic. The rich textures, ripe fruit factors, hints of chocolate and sweet profile of sweet Mavrodaphne makes it a no-brainer for pairing with many kinds of milk and dark chocolate choices.

Summers in Greece are very hot and chocolate consumption decreases during the summer months. The 7th of July is in the heart of the Greek summer and if a chocolate bar seems an unlikely option, then… how about celebrating the day with a refreshing chocolate ice cream … 

So, if you want to enjoy a scoop of your favorite ice cream alongside your glass of wine, look for a sweet, ruby-hued, semi-sparkling dessert wine with floral notes and hints of red berries.

Insights Greece - Best Greek Wines to Pair With Chocolate

Akakies Sparkling from Kir Yianni Estate is an easy-to-find and budget-friendly option. Add fresh raspberries or strawberries to this already delicious combination. Perfection!

So, whether you enjoy a simple chocolate bar or something more elaborate, remember that with a bit of flexibility and delicious experimentation, you are sure to find remarkable wine and chocolate pairings that achieve the balance and seamless synergy of a well-paired union.

Happy “World Chocolate Day!”

For more wonderful wine explorations, follow George on Instagram @george.winestories


Niko Koulousias, Greek Chef Selected by the Royals

Distinguished Greek chef Niko Koulousias, who descends from Neapoli in Kozani, has been working with leading restaurants in England selected by the Royal family and in 2018, he was chosen among dozens of other top chefs to prepare the menu for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle; this year Niko also created dishes for the Queen’s 70 Year Jubilee celebrations. 

By Julia Vagiani 

Since he was a child, Niko knew that cooking would be his life choice. In an interview, he said “Instead of playing football or any other games with children from my neighborhood, I was at my uncle’s vegetable garden. I enjoyed watching how vegetables grow and smell.”

By sixteen, when he could finally follow his dream, Niko enrolled in a culinary school. He holds a diploma and degree in culinary arts from New England Culinary Art Institute as well as a Culinary Master’s degree from Claude Dornier-Schule Friedrichshafen. He also holds other professional certificates in culinary Arts and business facilitation with vast experience in the hospitality industry; especially all over the world.

Niko is a globetrotter chef who is also usually referred to as “Future Nokia” by his peers, based on the trait of connecting people and entities together all over the globe for business and other professional purposes. He is phenomenal in bringing like-minded individuals together to work out potentially viable plans for regular business, he is also a Business Representative Partner in charge of Europe’s operation.  

Another great achievement of Niko was when he played an instrumental role in the building and growth of the Ghana Chef association as a professional chef in Ghana. His skills of influence have taken him to the corridors of power for numerous governments in the world and he has previously cooked for several world-famous personalities. 

Niko has an enviable approach to marketing and presentation of products to prospective clients from a European perspective, which most of the time ends up in business relationships. One of these classical traits was demonstrated through his achievement of linking Ducasse Education of Paris to establish a culinary art school in Lebanon and being one of the numerous chefs that did the catering for Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding in England, because of his cooperation with one of the shops that were in the “Crown List”, which is a list of suppliers chosen by the palace. That event, lead to winning Queen Elizabeth’s trust and the recent taking over the coordination and organisation of the Queen’s 70th Jubilee celebration, and for the second time, he left his gastronomic “seal” in the palace.

In 2007, Niko was named “Best Chef in Northern Greece” and has since received several awards for his rich cooking with spices, truffle, Kozani’s saffron and honey, ingredients based on the Greek cuisine. He dearly loves Greece and wears the Greek flag on his chef’s clothes. “The Greek flag means a lot to me. I want to show our flag, to talk about our culture, our lifestyle, and our history. Naturally, I get strength when I can wear it on me, I feel proud to be Greek”. 

His latest plan is to choose geographical spots and restaurants across Greece and other regions, who wish to host the chef’s vision. Niko’s desire is to offer a unique experience by inviting everyone on a journey of sensory education in the “origin of taste” that was born to offer a simple but fundamental approach to gastronomy, for culinary enthusiasts.

Experience Cretan Culture With a Food Tour in Chania

Chania is known for its wonderful people, warm hospitality, and fresh produce. And if you would like to learn about the Cretan cuisine and culture, this unique food and wine tour run by a local will allow you to experience all the gastronomical delights this beautiful city has to offer on foot. 

Awaken your senses as you leisurely stroll through the picturesque streets of Chania that are adorned with a fascinating history; and immerse yourself in the aromas and flavours of Cretan cuisine, as a hospitable local Cretan host guides you to spots where you can taste authentic savoury and sweet treats. 

Kelly Michelakis from The Greek Odyssey, says her tours are designed for guests to “learn about the food that makes Crete so special, as you will be able to sample many Cretan delicacies and learn what the Cretan culture is all about by a local. 

“Sip on a Greek coffee and enjoy every bite of the famous Cretan bougatsa, as well as enjoy a light lunch at an iconic Cretan eatery. Our guests can learn about the different cakes and biscuits on display as we browse the local bakery, sample Greece’s famous loukoumades, try local cheese that you can’t find elsewhere and view the regional and seasonal produce of the passionate traders who are so proud to share their knowledge,” says Kelly. 

With two tours currently available, there is a three-hour Food Day Tour through the backstreets and little-known pockets; where guests can sample Cretan specialties, in between visiting some old traditional stores to learn about Cretan culture and heritage.

There is also a Food and Wine Night Tour that allows guests to taste Cretan delicacies as they sip on local wine and spirits. This is where you can enjoy every bite of traditional Cretan appetizer, while admiring the stunning views of the city by night.

To learn more head to The Hellenic Odyssey 

The Dreamiest Gelateria in Rhodes 

Rhodes is a popular summer destination for so many reasons, and after a long, sunny day at one of the island’s breathtaking beaches, there’s nothing better than a fresh scoop of gelato from Dream Cream.  

From the moment you step into this chic gelateria, you will see you are in for a treat. Event stylist Lia Mylona’s passion for all things pretty is evident in every corner of the space, which has been so carefully thought out. 

“Dream Cream is a family business but mostly it was a family dream. Ice cream has always been a bonding experience for us, having it as a treat on Sundays, going to gelaterias after a busy day to enjoy some good gelato together. But we didn’t have a proper gelateria in our neighbourhood and thought why don’t we open our own?” says Lia. 

“We started brainstorming everything from the name, logo, flavours, interior and obviously the most boring part, logistics. We sat down and after hours and days and months of planning, Dream Cream emerged!”

“We wanted something different. Something so Pinterest-worthy that everybody would want to take a picture of. And we pretty much did it in no time! Everybody loves the pink aesthetic – even men!” adds Lia. 

Beneath the colourful countertop, there are rotating specials that include Oreo, cheesecake, Bueno, lotus biscoff and a small selection of vegan options. Made fresh from a variety of natural ingredients, every flavour tastes exactly like it should; with a delightful range of gelato flavours that can be served in a cone or cup. 

The pistachio is arguably one of the most popular flavours and that’s not surprising, given it’s made with pistachios from Aegina Island, known as the best in the world; another local fave is the chocolate pot ice cream dessert, which is layer upon layer of deliciousness.  

And if you are looking to add more sweetness to your gelato, try the signature mini ice cream pancakes that feature the perfect balance between texture and smoothness; or the choux ice cream- soft pastry buns with a luxurious ice-cream filling!

The menu changes seasonally depending on availability, so there are plenty of reasons to keep going back, which will be even easier soon; due to the store’s popularity amongst both locals and international visitors, a second Dream Cream gelateria is opening shortly- right in the centre of Rhodes!  

Dream Cream 

A: Triopa 2, Ixia, Rhodes 

Connect With Local People, Places and Culture When Visiting Greece 

Zorbabook provides an incredible discovery of local food and wines, landscapes, history, language, and the rich culture of Greece, with off-the-beaten-path experiences that are designed to give guests holistic and meaningful adventures in popular as well as undiscovered destinations. 

Insights Greece - Connect With Local People, Places and Culture When Visiting Greece 
Dimitris Palaiogiannis

Created by Athenian-born Dimitris Palaiogiannis, who believes in supporting local Greek producers; Dimitris has spent years sourcing innovative and responsible Greek brands across the country that offer authentic experiences while promoting the preservation and protection of Greece’s cultural heritage and traditions. 

Whether it’s a visit to the seaside or the mountains you are looking for- these unique tours celebrate Greece’s simplicity, authenticity and hospitality- with guests given the opportunity to discover local foods, history, music and traditions.

It is ideal for those who want to meet friendly, passionate locals, determined to preserve their cultural heritage while treating their visitors with care. During the tours, guests become a part of local life, make new friends, and enjoy a variety of regions, while appreciating the delightful flavours, dishes and delicacies each destination has to offer.

Above all, Zorbabook was created to promote sustainable tourism and to inspire people to leave places better off from when they arrived.

From olive oil tasting in Mykonos to phyllo pastry making in Pelion, we recently had a chat with Dimitris about the authentic experiences he carefully designs for those who want to connect with local people, places and culture when visiting Greece. 

How did the idea of Zorbabook come about? 

I grew up in Athens and attended an international school. From a very young age, I felt very connected to other cultures and was also passionate about inspiring others to discover the beauties of Greece.

In 2013, I travelled to the UK to study International Tourism Management at the University of Brighton. This was the beginning of my journey in world tourism; during my studies, one of the most memorable experiences was a trip to The Gambia for a community-based tourism project to help locals protect their natural assets and develop alternative sources of income through responsible tourism practices. 

After working in Greece as a tourism consultant for various municipalities and investing time in understanding the contemporary issues of tourism in the country, I decided to launch Zorbabook. The mission is to assist in the development and promotion of responsible tourism practices in the authentic experiences value chain, by creating a unique local ecosystem and international network.

How would you describe Greece’s culinary scene? 

Although my field of study and specialty is tourism, having travelled extensively in Greece and through my efforts to connect gastronomy with tourism, I have developed a personal philosophy for Greek gastronomy and its identity. Five things come to mind when thinking about authentic Greek gastronomy; simplicity, locality, seasonality, quality ingredients and last but not least cooking with love.

How has food tourism changed over the last few years? 

Globally, food tourism and its development have been both a trending and challenging topic over the last few years. Developing a local gastronomy identity is one thing, but connecting it with tourism and involving the agriculture value chain is challenging. Greece is undoubtedly a broadly accepted food destination, however, if we are to develop a holistic and inclusive food tourism sector we must focus on educating, developing, and promoting it in a strategic way. 

The niche of food is critical for the Greek tourism product, its future and the sustainability of Greek cuisine and produce. Let’s not disregard that food tourism plays a crucial role in creating alternative sources of income for producers and each destination community as a whole.

What part of your work do you love most?

Travelling around the country gives me the opportunity to learn about our heritage, admire the natural beauty and diversity as well as discover authentic experiences. More importantly, meeting and speaking with locals helps me to better understand their problems and needs as well as advise them on options and alternatives they might have not thought of.

Tell us more about Zorbabook’s tours, tastings and experiences. 

We offer experiences that give the opportunity to visitors who are interested in broadening their knowledge about our products and food heritage, which goes back in time. We believe our offers contribute to visitors’ appreciation for nature, quality, wellness and the importance of responsible tourism.

Our handpicked partners have designed innovative, holistic, meaningful and immersive experiences in both popular and undiscovered destinations. Some of our partners’ businesses go back five generations, so you can imagine the uniqueness and richness of knowledge, expertise and passion they share. 

What do you think people who have never visited Greece would find surprising about Greek food and culture?

To start with, our culture’s richness is reflected by the 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites! History dating back 4,000 years is evident even in the most remote village and people realise our contribution and influence in science, arts, philosophy, literature, etc. 

The same holds true for food! Visitors taste products and food and experience cooking methods with routes in ancient times. They are usually surprised by the amazing taste of locally grown vegetables, herbs and other ingredients, especially during their farm-to-table experiences. They appreciate the simplicity of our dishes and love the way everybody joins and enjoys a dinner without formalities, with lots of music, laughs and dancing.

What are a few of your favourite destinations in Greece? 

Well, this is a difficult one, since every region is special depending on the local heritage, seasonal offerings, nature, customs and traditions. During the winter I personally prefer visiting the mountainous mainland for skiing and hiking, as well as the bigger islands where you have the opportunity to spend more time with the locals and experience the local way of life. Some of my favourite regions for winter, are Epirus, Central Greece, North Aegean Islands.

In the summer I choose destinations that combine beautiful villages and more secluded beaches (Peloponnese, Thessaly), or not-so-crowded islands in the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and Ionian seas.

I have to mention that both spring and autumn should be on visitors’ plans to visit Greece both on the mainland and on the islands.  Greek Orthodox Easter time is really unique with different customs, and traditional food offerings and exploring nature in spring and autumn is something else.

What dishes/delicacies do you highly recommend people try when visiting Greece?

Our pies, vegetarian dishes, handmade pasta and dishes cooked in a traditional way would be on the top of my list, followed by the meze – a variety of hot and cold dishes paired with ouzo or tsipouro. Also, spoon sweets, walnut pie with ice cream, mastic submarine, and local traditional desserts and sweets are just a few. 

What regions you would suggest for foodies? 

It depends on the season, and I will just mention a handful as there are so many places where you will find a number of great local dishes and desserts. Epirus and Thessaly are famous for their pies, each island has its own special dish and dessert, Northern Greece is famous for its desserts, North Aegean islands for meze, the Peloponnese for meat and wine, Crete for its abundant choices of local produce and dishes.

What authentic cultural experiences does Zorbabook offer? 

The cultural experiences we offer are mainly related to promoting regional and local heritage spots related to crafts, customs and traditions. Our aim is to promote those with routes in our long history, which should be preserved, promoted and sustained for the future. 

Do you create bespoke experiences for visitors?

Yes, depending on the visitors’ interests, season and available time, we work closely with our partners to offer unique holistic experiences which also result from our network’s collaborations. 

Are there any new tours/tastings you are adding to your 2022 list?

We have kicked off our spring travels in order to visit both our current partners as well as prospective ones. It is of prime importance to experience what we offer prior to promoting it. Last but not least, the relationship with our partners goes beyond the strict business scope, it is based on mutual understanding, respect, trust and passion for our offerings and we are always looking to add new unique experiences we believe in. 

Discover more about Zorbabook here

Images by Zorbabook ©

Ibiza’s Famous Destino Pacha Reopening in Mykonos in May 

Destino Pacha, Ibiza’s famous brand of music and hospitality prepares to open for its second season on Greece’s leading party island of Mykonos. 

Destino Pacha Mykonos, the first Pacha Group hotel outside of Spain, is reopening for the summer of 2022 along with its popular cabaret club Lío Mykonos and the boho-chic beach bar Ftelia Pacha Beach.

Set at one of the most serene locations on the island, Destino Pacha Mykonos overlooks the Aegean Sea, Mykonos Town, and the buzzing port.

The space surrounding the pool, which faces directly to the breathtaking sea, has been given a makeover- offering guests more room for relaxation as well as an even larger area for dancing the night away, which is what Destino Pacha is known for. And this summer, the hotel is ready to host a unique series of parties and live music events, which will be open to both guests and visitors alike.

When it comes to dining, Destino Pacha’s all-day restaurant serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes, featuring local favourites and classics from their original Ibizan location. From a buffet breakfast to a poolside menu and restaurant, all of the dishes have been carefully curated with locally-sourced ingredients. And as the sun sets over the Aegean, guests can savor a hand-crafted cocktail or choose from the wide selection of wines, while enjoying stunning views of Mykonos. 

The brand’s famous cabaret club Lío is also opening for its second season this summer. Bringing with it a new look, the glamorous cabaret dining spot will offer visitors impressive performances by world-class dancers, singers, and acrobats, while also offering fresh dishes created by talented local chef Alkis Vardaramatos. 

Open throughout the season, this year’s theme of the show is named ‘Simply the Best’, and there will also be resident and guest DJs, plus two special events that will take place twice each week. 

For those looking for a great daytime experience, Ftelia Pacha Beach bar boasts white sand and crystal clear waters, so guests can enjoy the sun, sea and sand while listening to some of the world’s hottest DJs playing their sets throughout the summer season.

A melting pot for culture, heritage, music and glamour, Pacha Ibiza has been a coveted clubbing destination since the 1970s. Paired with its attractive production, creative decor and more, it has hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world and is quickly attracting plenty of international visitors to its Mykonos venues. 

Best Greek Wines for Your Easter Table

Easter is nearly upon us once again and as with any holiday it sets new conundrums for wine pairing. It seems that no sooner has the dust of the busy Christmas and New Year period settled, we are again arranging for our Easter festivities and deciding on menus and most importantly, wine lists; just how are we going to pair these for our celebratory table? 

During childhood, Christmas is easily everyone’s favorite season. And why not, there’s Santa Claus and gifts; traditional desserts, reindeer, and snowmen. But as one grows older and wiser, it dawns on every Christian that Easter is indeed the core event of the Christian experience.

The very foundation of Christianity revolves around the Holy Week (which starts on the Sunday preceding Easter). Unlike Christmas, which has become more about offering gifts than commemorating the humble incarnation of Christ, Easter still retains the very essence of the faith. After the 40-day period of Lent, which includes abstinence — from meat, fish, dairy, alcohol, and smoking — and days of fasting and prayer, Easter is celebrated with a feast.

Insights Greece - Best Greek Wines for Your Easter Table
Santorini of Argyros Estate

Lent fasting ends on Holy Saturday with the Resurrection where we all gather at home to crack each other’s red-dyed egg and enjoy a dish of the hearty, viscous and sweet-smelling magiritsa, which is a Greek traditional soup whose main characteristics are the aromas of fennel, dill and the sour taste, that match respectively to a glass of wine with good acidity and rich aromas.

Personally, I would choose an Assyrtiko from the beautiful island of Santorini, which affords some of the best and most notable versions of the grape. The “Santorini” of Argyros Estate with its full body and “aggressive” acidity, will penetrate the greasiness of the dish, refreshing the mouth and balancing at the same time the lemonish character of the soup. Alternatively, the “Santorini” of Sigalas Estate or the “34” of Karamolegos Winery will fit with our magiritsa ideally. 

The lunch table on Easter Sunday consists mainly of lamb or goat cooked in the oven or grilled and kokoretsi. Kokoretsi consists of lamb or goat organ meats like intestines, lungs, liver and sweetbreads. All the above dishes call for wines with a rich body, intense acidity to break down the fattiness of the meat and noticeable tannins to bind to the protein.

Insights Greece - Best Greek Wines for Your Easter Table
Chateau Julia Agiorgitiko from Domaine Costa Lazaridi

“Chateau Julia Agiorgitiko” from Domaine Costa Lazaridi is a rich and elegant wine. There is cassis, sour cherry, chocolate, baking spices, and cedar on the nose. The palate is straight-up fruit with a sleek balance between flavor and feel. It is a carefully crafted medium-bodied wine with a long finish. It will match perfectly with the kokoretsi dishes.

The main dish of the Easter menu meal is the lamb of course either roasted in an oven or grilled on a charcoal barbecue. Lamb meat is juicy, fatty and spicy. The wine of choice to accompany it should be exuberant and full of aromas of fruits and spices, in order to match the intensity of the meat, as well as the spicy character of the entire dish. That would be a wine with intense tannins for spiciness and good acidity to balance its greasiness. The choices of Greek labels are countless and concern the personal taste of each one. From the red varieties, I would choose Xinomavro and Syrah while from white, nothing else than Assyrtiko. 

Insights Greece - Best Greek Wines for Your Easter Table
Diaporos of Kir Yianni Estate

A beautiful blend of 87% Xinomavro and 13% Syrah makes a very nice lamb pairing, no matter how you have chosen to cook it. “Diaporos” of Kir Yianni Estate is a classic example of the Naousa region, which is known for reds dominated by Xinomavro. This medium-bodied wine reveals a bright red fruit bouquet alongside flinty minerality and chewy, gripping tannin structure reflecting a profile similar to Italy’s Nebbiolo-based wines. Syrah adds some spicy notes. It cuts through the fattiness of the lamb, and the result of the combination is impressive and slightly rustic, highlighting the best of both.

Insights Greece - Best Greek Wines for Your Easter Table
Nykteri from Hatzidakis Winery

If there is a white wine that pairs beautifully with lamb, it’s Assyrtiko. Assyrtiko’s traditional place of origin is Santorini, but vilifications are found all over Greece. This white grape has searing acidity that cuts through the high-fat savor of lamb. It also has plenty of lemon flavors to match the lamb roast with lemon potatoes. A full-bodied Assyrtiko, like those aged in oak barrels, is the best choice. “Nykteri” from Hatzidakis winery is an oaky full-bodied, creamy version of Assyrtiko expressing more elements of lemon custard, fresh pineapple, crème brûlée, and some baking spice. A complex wine that will pair nicely with our roast lamb.

Insights Greece - Best Greek Wines for Your Easter Table
Muscat of Rio Patras from Parparousis Winery

Although the Easter table includes intense dishes in terms of flavor and fat, there is always room on it for a variety of desserts, mainly syrupy ones. One of my favorite sweet Greek wines is the “Muscat of Rio Patras” of the Parparousis winery. It has aromas of apricot, bergamot, lime, orange peel, honey and elegant notes of lily and jasmine. Concentrated and complex, in the mouth, but without tiring as it has enough acidity that gives it balance and elegance. It will fit ideally with cheese platters but also with sweets that contain syrup or are based on pastry, cream and fruits.

I leave you with my best wishes for a HAPPY EASTER HOLIDAY.

For more wonderful wine explorations, follow George on Instagram @george.winestories

Sani Gourmet Festival 2022 to Celebrate Greek Culinary Scene

Sani Gourmet Festival, the internationally recognised gastronomic event of Sani Resort in Halkidiki, returns in 2022 for its 15th anniversary.

And this year, the fine-dining institution is celebrating the “Contemporary Greek Culinary Scene”, with nine of Greece’s leading chefs combining international influences and their own personal flair into well-known, authentic dishes that will be served to guests for what is set to be a memorable experience. 

The Sani Gourmet Festival, which has been a successful event year in and year out, entices visitors from all over the world. This year it will take place from May 20 to 24, with five days of gourmet-related workshops, including; wine tastings, presentations and cooking demonstrations.

“Now in its fifteenth year, we’re proud to be celebrating the Greek culinary scene and welcoming Greece’s distinguished chefs from the 20th until the 24th of May at our acclaimed haute cuisine celebration, Sani Gourmet. Globally recognised for bringing together exciting, new chefs and already established culinary heavyweights, each chef will create a unique degustation menu paired with exceptional wines,” announced Sani Resort. 

The A-list contemporary Greek chefs who will create degustation menus – inspired by their signature dishes and perfectly paired with Greek and International wine labels are- Sotiris Evaggelou, executive chef at Salonica; Liza Kermanidou, talented pastry chef from Pantechnicon / Café Kitsuné; Adam Kontovas, head chef at Kobra; Gikas Xenakis, head chef at Aleria ; Vasilis Mouratidis, executive chef of Squirrel & Andromeda; Dimitris Pamporis, executive chef at Treehouse / Bubo; Giorgos Papazacharias & Thanos Feskos, head chefs at Delta Restaurant; Manolis Papoutsakis, founder and chef at Haroupi / Ten Tables; and Alexandros Tsiotinis, executive chef and owner of CTC. 

To find out more details head to Sani Gourmet 2022

A: Sani Resort, Kassandra Peninsula, Halkidiki