(eTN) – It is said that Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, born in 384 BC in the little town of Stageira on the northeast coast of the peninsula of Halkidiki in the region of Mount Athos in Greece, had a hobby for cooking. His recipes have been handed down for centuries to this day.
The inhabitants of the little town of Olympiada on the shores of Mount Athos, only few miles south of Stageira, have re-discovered these recipes and launched the Kouzina Festival – the Cooking Fest – including it in its yearly celebrations. The aim of this event is to raise awareness of the delicacies created by their ancestor.
The recipes mix seafood, such as the catch of the day and delicious mussels grown in the clean sea water farms, with fruits, herbs, and berries growing wild in the extensive forests that surround the area – forests that are endless producers of oxygen.
Olympiada is a small town of 600 inhabitants which portrays the best image of itself at sunset. The restaurants and taverns, in their top Greek expression of style and color, lined up along the coast of the resort area, stand out in their typical architecture enriched by the bright colors of seasonal flowers.
Every night, the chefs perform the preparation of tasty recipes, taking a cue from Italian cuisine, as Kouzina 2015 is dedicated to the Milan EXPO. All restaurants are lined up along the coastline and serve disehs suggested by Aristotle’s recipes.
While walking around the remains of the old Stageira, among one of the areas brought back to life, the house of the famous philosopher displays large earthenware that was used to preserve food and hold olive oil lined up and protected by the shade. This peaceful area with a spectacular view of the gulf is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape, capable of inducing relaxation and stimulating the imagination.
“Looking back [over] the years, we like to imagine the greatest philosopher of history, the man who gave birth to Greek philosophy and science in the world, sitting on the stone bench surrounded by his students in the middle of the agorà [the open air meeting place for ancient Greeks] situated in front of his old house in Stageira, looking to the bay below, watch[ing] the prowess of the cooks of Olympiada grapple with his recipes and comment[ing] on it,” says a guide.
Olympiada is a typical village on the sea whose water, clear from pollution, has gained the mark of “Blue Flag” year after year. Small resorts propose accommodations rating few stars, while valuing their professional maintenance and quality. Restaurants include Bakatsianos, Akrovali, Peroquet, and Thalassia, and small hotel owners offer the best of the ancient tradition of hospitality by applying the right value for the money. The district also includes various camping areas, and excursions are organized to visit small museums of handwoven cloth and tapestry, along with honey producers, spectacular waterfalls, and a tour to the small island of Capros where it is believed that the ghost of the mother of Alexander the Great exists. She was banished there by her son due to her libertinism.
Dryades-Agritourism Association of the women of Varvara
Varvara, a village in the northeast of Halkidiki located in the oak forest of Holomontas is the home of Dryades, “the female spirits that live in trees,” according to ancient tales. Back in 1998, the women of the village associated to preserve the environment and purity and beauty of this place by starting a business in the production of traditional foods and drinks using the products from wild nature, free of preservatives.
The Monastic State of Mount Athos
Olympiada on the Gulf of Strymonikos is a twenty-minute car ride north of Athos, the monastic state where the religious Greek cult is concentrated. Here, over 30 ancient monasteries are scattered along the large access territory. This is considered a sacred area where the monks impose strict rules to visitors. Access is granted provided that a permit is applied for well in advance of a visit, and note that women are excluded from all visits.
For them, the cultural center of Lerissos projects 3D movies, one on them presenting scenes from the monks’ lives in Mount Athos. Through this medium, one gets to feel what it is like to walk on the cobbled-stoned yards, visit its libraries, admire the treasures, and watch the Divine Liturgy.
Cheers, Mr. Putin
While the restaurants of the tourist resort of Olympiada are proposing to the world the recipes of their ancestor Aristotle, in Mr. Vladimir Putin’s lush residence, the delicious wine produced by the monks of the Homritsa Methohi Monastery at Mount Athos are regularly enjoyed.
Mr. Putin personally selected the monastery and named it as a personal wine supplier. The bottles are shipped to Moscow and are labeled simply “PUTIN.”