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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER 2019 11 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Beautiful Lefkada. PHOTO: GREEKA.COM Aromas and flavours from Lefkada The Lefkadian Cultural Association’s upcoming event is dedicated to renowned Lefkadian chef and author, Evi Voutsina (1950-2013) CLAIRE GAZIS, ADAPTED BY ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS the olive, the cypress tree and emerald sea," writes renowned chef, Evi Voutsina in one of her books, and for whom the Lefkadian Cultural Association is dedicating its upcoming event Aromas and Flavours from Lefkada. In the preface of her book Λευκαδίτικα Μαγειρέματα, Voutsina notes: A branch without roots does not grow. It dries up. I want to get to know these roots, and to contribute to their blossoming. Although the late Evi studied English Literature, it is cooking that won her over. As she writes, she was involved "I in cooking professionally, and during this time reflected on the process, realising that every was born and belong to Lefkada, with its sweet light, older woman who leaves this life, takes with her a piece of local culture and history. Therefore encounters with older women were a privilege. For this reason, she travelled many parts of Greece over the course of 17 years, recording recipes and techniques found in the everyday preparation of cooking, that give each dish its taste. "After all, taste, as the most physical of all senses, is the most efficient vehicle for the transmission and exchange of cultural data," Evi wrote. And Lefkada with its unique landscape and light, praised by Lefkadian poets Aristotelis Valaoritis and Angelos Sikelianos, has a strong identity when it comes to flavour, comparable to its spiritual and folk traditions. LEFKADA Lefkada, an island located in the endless blue waters of the Ionian Sea, appears in ancient texts with the name Lefkas from the name of Apollo Leucatas. Geographer Strabo claims that in the southernmost cape there was a temple of God, where according to legend, the poet Sappho, desperately in love with Phaon, fell into the sea and drowned. It's also worth noting that German archaeologist, Wilhelm Dörpfeld believed that Lefkada was an Homeric Ithaca. But after excavating on the island at the beginning of the 20th century, his claims were unfounded. History teaches us that the Turks, Venetians, French, and lastly the British passed through the island, all leaving their mark. According to historian Panos Rondogiannis, in the 12th century the island was renamed after the castle built in the city by Sicilian Ioannis Orsini as Agia Mavra. On 21 May, 1864, Lefkada together with the other Ionian islands were officially reunited with Greece. But unfortunately during the Second World War, the islands were occupied by the Italians until 1943, followed by the Germans, until they were made independent in 1944. However the ensuing civil war left many wounded on the island. In the 1950s, many became internal and external migrants; a number of them also migrated to Australia. Today, the island's rural population is dwindling. Fortunately, tourism is consistently growing, to the point where it the main livelihood for locals. EVENT: AROMAS & TASTES FROM LEFKADA Let the Lefkadian Cultural Association take you on a flavour-filled trip to the island. You'll be treated with the best Lefkadian philoxenia and hospitality, in a family friendly environment. Aside from the food served by Normanby House, there will also be plates of traditional Lefkadian sweets and wine. Enjoy live cooking demonstrations by members of the association, including Anastasia Vrettos and daughters, Irene Kourtis and sons, and Evagelia and Nick Katiforis, along with a cookbook exhibition. And because no glendi is complete without music, DJ Joe will be on the decks, playing nisiotika. When: Sunday 20 October at 12.30 pm Where: Normanby House, 22-24 Normanby Ave, Thornbury VIC Tickets: $30 p.p. (children attend free) For more information and to book, call Christina on 0413 958 279. Evi Voutsina. Could Greece become the world’s top food tourism destination? It’s a possibility $1 trillion globally. According to Erik Wolf, founder of the World Food Travel Association, data shows that 93 per cent of travellers are interested in experiences surrounding food. In fact 25 per cent of tourists spend considerable amounts of money on food and drink when they travel. Wolf was in Thessaloniki this week, attending the FoodTreX International Food Travel Summit. Also in attendance G astronomic tourism is a booming industry, worth an estimated was the Association's Ambassador in Greece, Maria Athanasopoulou, who showed great optimism for Greece's future in the sector. "Our country has got what it takes to be the world's number one food tourism destination in the next decade," Ms Athanasopoulou said, "provided we step up to conquer that and work all together as one." According to data presented by Wolf, total revenues from tourism in Greece amount to €16 billion, €4 billion of which comes from the gastronomy sector. Among those trying to boost Greece's gastronomic tourism is Dimitris Palaiogiannis, who is behind Zorbabook, a platform connecting food businesses with customers around the world. With a background in tourism management, the 25-year-old recognised that Greece has a lot of unique food offerings, with a rich history to boot. "References on wine, olive oil, honey and wheat consumption are found in manuscripts, but also in scientific research all over the islands and mainland. The plethora of unique products growing on Greek soil is due to the special microclimate," Palaiogiannis told Neos Kosmos. He agrees with Ms Athanasopoulou, that everyone needs to work together. "Food and tourism industries impact directly each other and therefore both have to be part of a common strategic development plan. For instance, if we want to provide travellers with authentic and quality food and product experience, agriculture sector needs to keep up with the continuously increasing tourist flows."
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