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Wine tasting in the Peloponnese June 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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Stick your nose where it belongs: in Peloponnesian wine

“Here,” says George Skouras with a flourish, “let me show you a trick.” He picks up an empty wine glass, holding it delicately by the stem and lifts it to his face. “This is how you should really taste wine.”

Around him sit two dozen or so journalists and writers, one from as far away as Singapore, deep in the ageing cellar of the Domaine Skouras winery near Argos, abutting the plain where the Mycenaeans grew their grapes 3,000 years ago. Skouras, the boss, is a well-dressed, tall and imposing man and a confident speaker to boot, an Agamemnon of the vines. In his spotless “Thousand-Barrel Cellar” he has our full attention.

“First, empty your lungs of air.” There is a series of stentorian gasps as we pick up our own glasses with samples of white Moschofilero sloshing around in them. “Then put your nose into the glass and begin inhaling very slowly.” Journalistic noses plunge into glasses. “You’ll see how well the aromas come out.” We do as he says, and hey, he’s right. Skouras Moschofilero enters our mental files as something worth trying again. And again.

That’s lesson number one, in fact, of a stimulating three-day tasting tour of the North Peloponnesian wineries organised by the local growers and Greece’s development ministry who shelled out the dough for three nights in the poshest of the region’s hotels and all the free meals and wine we could consume – all to get word of Peloponnesian wine out into the wider world.

Now let me make one thing clear. I am not, in the commonly-accepted sense of the term, a “wine writer”. I maintain a healthy disdain for those hacks who bang on tiresomely about wines with “breeding” and “expressiveness” and what goes best with what food and whatnot. Most wine writing is as phoney as a bunch of plastic grapes. Wine to me is something to drink occasionally on a hot date. Period. (I find something oddly inspiring in the words of a 4th-century desert monk who, when offered a glass of wine, said: “Take this death away from me.”)

So it was with some inner embarrassment that, as I sipped dutifully at the 40 or so brands of plonk we all ended up sampling before staggering onto the coach back to Athens, I found myself coming up with precisely those phrases that I thought would never have the temerity to invade my professional writing lexicon.

So, now that I duly have donned the sackcloth (there’s a Shakespearean pun there somewhere), here goes. If we’re talking about what the winebibbers call “breeding,” Peloponnesian wine hasn’t got it. Not much Greek wine has. But does it really matter? In fact, if Peloponnesian wine – dry or sweet or in-between – is marketed cleverly, its brash, in-your-face characteristics may make a welcome change from the Beaujolais Nouveau and other soppy leftovers foisted on supermarket shoppers and hapless diners around Europe. (more…)

Discover discounts for tots and round trips June 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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Navigating ferry discounts

Travel for 10 euros to the Cyclades or island hop for as little as 3.70 thanks to the liberalisation of fares

Frequent travellers, students, or parents of young children are likely to qualify for attractive discounts when travelling by sea around Greece this summer. But beware, discounts vary dramatically between ferry companies.

Last month the government could no longer justify price controls under European Union agreements and, indeed, many of the more dynamic ferry companies had been lobbying for some time to free up ticket prices. As a result, major operators have launched discount packages – some more attractive than others.

Discounts now apply to ferry prices on routes from six ports to the Aegean Islands and Corfu as well as international routes. In all, there are more than 30,000 ferry schedules within Greece.

The new price regime most benefits travellers who plan ahead, buy return tickets or commute back and forth. Many companies also offer special deals to people with disabilities. For students, a valid student identity card is required – mostly only enrolment at Greek universities apply.

Reductions range from 10 percent to 50 percent for adults, whilst children’s tickets have been slashed by 50 percent or more, with toddlers now travelling for free with some firms. Discounts of less than 15 percent have not been included in the information we list below, but can be found on the websites. (more…)

Mykonos > Aegean island cooking > the recipes June 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Mostra, a thick barley rusk with toppings which may be dairy or pareve. Kopanisti cheese is not available in the States. Instead, substitute cream cheese and lemon juice as in recipe below.

Serves 1

1 slice multi grain bread, about 3/4-inch thick
1/4 cup low fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch white pepper and salt
1 ripe medium tomato
Extra virgin olive oil

Toast the bread in 300F oven for 30 minutes or until completely dry like a rusk. Sprinkle with a little water. Do not soak. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese with lemon juice, pepper and salt. Spread over the bread. Cut the tomato in half and squeeze the juices over the cream cheese mixture. Cut up tomato and place on top. Drizzle generously with olive oil.

Approx. nutrients per piece: calories – 583 protein – 13g carbohydrate – 52g fat – 39g cholesterol – 34mg sodium – 429mg

Variation: whole grain bread baked as above. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and shredded fresh oregano. Squeeze with tomato juice and top with cut up tomato. Drizzle again with olive oil and serve with black olives.


Serves 8 – 10

This may also be baked in a 9-inch pie dish but traditionally, the pie is square. Pinching the edges as in recipe below, seals in filling while forming into square shape. (more…)

Mykonos > > Aegean island cooking June 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes, Greece Islands Aegean.
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   Mykonos > The town and the harbor

I fell in love with Mykonos, the tiny Greek island set like a sparkling jewel in the sun-dappled Aegean sea. Approaching from the sea, Mykonos, bathed in brilliant sunshine is fairy tale enchantment.

The year round population is 6,600 and in season the numbers swell to over 100,000. But the island is refreshingly unspoiled. Tiny storefronts leading into bakeries, confectioners, artisan jewelers and art galleries are tucked into narrow alleyways winding steeply uphill. Don’t be surprised if you get lost in the maze. Half a dozen windmills tower over the village — the islander’s landmark. During 19th century Turkish occupation, 28 windmills were in operation making Mykonos an essential stop for passing ships to load up on bread and rusks. Today, the remaining mills have been converted into private homes. Flat-roofed houses, rise tier upon tier up the mountainside resembling a haphazard pile of dazzling snow white sugar cubes. From Mykonos you can see the sacred islet of Delos, one of the religious centers of ancient Greece and the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Once there was a large Jewish population in Delos and the islet was a stopover for Jewish sailors on trading routes. Today, you can still see the remnants of one of the synagogues. (more…)

Greek Olive Oil > Buy a grove or adopt a tree initiative June 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology, Food Greece.
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First cultivation of olives began after 2000 BC in Crete, Greece. Olive oil production became crucial to the island' economy, and began exporting to the rest of the Mediterranean, North Africa and Asia.

By 6th century BC, olive trees were revered and protected, becoming a symbol of peace; the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, an olive branch was awarded to the winners. It also signalled a truce in hostilities.

Goddess Athena created the first tree during her battle with Posiedon, god of the sea. Athena planted an olive tree at the Acropolis, giving the city of Athens food, oil and wood.

Later on, the Romans cottoned on to the wonders of olive oil, which had spread across the Byzantine world (half the oil producing areas in the known world).

Throughout a bitter occupation, Greeks used oil to keep themselves alive. The Orthodox Church uses it as part of seven solemn rites, during baptism down to the little lamps kept in churches scattered across the country.

Today, the olive branch is a symbol of love and peace through the world. Adopted by the UN within its emblem.

Every Greek household has a shrine; the flame kept alive by olive oil.

Buy a Grove > Your slice of Greece
A tree of life from only £5000
Your tree will remain protected forever, in a corner of Greece you can visit any time.

Adopt a tree > The perfect Eco Gift
A living piece of Crete from only £50
Offset your carbons & collect your free oil

The initiative is run by a team of people who are passionate about olive trees and oil. Greek Groves is affiliated with organic growers, environmentalists and scientists. Their common aim is to highlight the importance of olive farming in the rural economy. To prevent further erosion of beautiful ancient groves for development. Finally, to encourage others to experience the mythical ‘olive trail’ which is the very root of Greek culture.
In terms of professionals, we have strong links with Greece’s most respected estate agents, architects, lawyers and travel professionals.

Interested? For additional details please see >



Greece expands privatization policy into energy sector June 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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The Greek Government is to divest a significant portion of its stake in the country’s national gas company DEPA by the second half of 2007, according to the AFX news agency.

Quoting the AFX news agency as its source, the Global Insight news service reports that the Government in Greece is to expand its recent state asset sell-off program into the energy sector by floating the state controlled gas group DEPA on the Athens Stock Exchange.

It is unclear how much of the Greek state’s 65% controlling share of DEPA will be sold, however the government will probably relinquish its controlling share.

The sale follows on from similar moves from the Greek Government in the financial services sector, where state held stakes in banks have been offered to private buyers to reduce public debt.

According to reports, before its listing DEPA will be separated into distinct gas transmission and trading/supply groups, to meet with European Union directives.

Following the privatization, the Greek Government plans to invest E1.5 billion into its domestic gas infrastructure network, while also offering tender licenses for regional operations in order to facilitate an expected tripling of demand by 2010.

Don’t scratch your iPod June 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets.
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Have you scratched your expensive Apple iPod?

With the growing popularity of the iPod and other MP3 players, the need for convenient and affordable iPod peripherals was born. Trust developed a special range of products especially designed and developed for iPods and other MP3 players, to experience more comfort and an optimal use of the iPod.

The Trust AC-1200 Scratch Protector for iPod Nano and the AC-1300 for iPod Video provide an easy and safe way to protect your iPod against scratches, dirt, fingerprints and damage.

It is important that the iPod remains easy to use and is not placed in an awkward bag of a different colour. The scratch protectors consist of a transparent, self-adhesive sheet made from a scratch-free material that must be stuck on the iPod. This cover provides up to ten times more resistance against scratches and your iPod can, therefore, be taken wherever you wish. Besides a cleaning cloth, each pack contains three different sheets. The user can choose to use the sheet which protects the full body of the iPod, the sheet which only protects the screen or the sheet which only protects the click wheel. It is not necessary to cut the sheets to size and, since they are transparent, they are suitable for iPods of any colour.  

Both sets will be available from the end of June with a recommended retail price, excluding VAT, of EUR 8,39 for either model.