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Vivartia to bid for Everest March 8, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Greece.
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Vivartia, Greece’s largest food group, said yesterday it would tender for 100% of fast-food chain Everest as part of its 2008 expansion plans.

Everest, with a current market value of 87 million euros, runs a network of 184 fast-food stores in Greece, Cyprus and Romania. Vivartia said it would offer 3.50 euro per share for the fast-food company, a premium of about 15 percent to Thursday’s closing price.

Trading in Everest and Vivartia shares was suspended on Thursday and resumed yesterday. Alkmini, a company set up to bid for Everest, will also make a public offer to buy 100 percent of Olympic Catering, now majority-owned by Everest, for 2.65 euro per share.

Greece’s Vivartia to buy Nonni’s American biscuit firm March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Greece.
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Vivartia, Greece’s largest food group, said yesterday it has signed a deal to buy US biscuit and snack-producer Nonni’s for $320 million as part of its expansion plans.

Vivartia, which is present in 30 countries, said it has agreed to buy 100 percent of Nonni’s from US private equity firm Wind Point Partners and Nonni’s board members in a deal expected to be completed by April 1. “The technical know-how offered by the company in combination with its broadened network and commercial potential make Nonni’s a suitable platform to expand in the USA,” Vivartia CEO Spyros Theodoropoulos said in a bourse filing.

Nonni’s offers six production units in the USA and reported 2007 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $32 million on sales of $187 million, Vivartia added.

Touch of spice > building an appetite for a great cause February 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece, Greek Taste Local.
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29-02-08_gb.jpg  Restaurant with a view. The Grand Balcon at the St Georges Lycabettus hotel in Kolonaki, Athens.

Nothing like building an appetite for a good cause. Charity and gastronomy meet at the table next month, as “Food for Life” a culinary event at the Grand Balcon restaurant of the St George Lycabettus hotel, opens its doors on Thursday, March 6.

Taking place on Thursdays next month, the event brings a group of prominent, British and Britain-based food masters to Greece. At the Grand Balcon, guest chefs Atul Kocchar (March 6), Anthony Demetre (March 13) and Martin Wishart (March 20) will be preparing signature dishes for their Athenian diners.

Proceeds from all three exceptional dinners currently being organized will benefit charity organization “The Child’s Smile” for the construction of a new ward at Paidon, the children’s hospital in Athens. The ward is destined for the treatment of teenage cancer patients.

Britain’s culinary craftsmen have come a long way – steak and kidney pie aside. From the simplicity and nature-friendly take of the Naked Chef, aka Jamie Oliver, to the likes of haute cuisiniers Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey, among many more, the art of cooking has fast become a booming business, a vast playground for big and small egos in state-of-the-art kitchens and a fountain of international culinary expertise.

Executive chef and director of the Benares restaurant in London’s upmarket Mayfair, Atul Kocchar became the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star. Born in Jamshedpur in Eastern India, Kocchar began his career at the Oberoi group of hotels in India, before moving to London to open the Tamarind restaurant in 1994. Though based in Britain, Kocchar travels frequently to his homeland, researching ingredients and recipes. In Athens, Kocchar will present an evening of Indian colors and flavors, essentially a culinary marriage between traditional and more contemporary Indian dishes.

Chef and co-owner of Arbutus in London’s Soho, Anthony Demetre is also behind the hugely successful Wild Honey restaurant in Mayfair. Arbutus has been hailed as down-to-earth with value for money prices, voted Best New Restaurant by Time Out in 2006. Known for its British and Mediterranean flair, the restaurant’s top scores go to dishes such as braised pig’s head with mashed potatoes and caramelized onions.

Meanwhile Wild Honey earned a Michelin star only a few months after its inauguration and accolades such as “The kind of place that New York or Paris would kill to have. You can’t eat better that this,” according to Giles Coren of The Sunday Times.

While chef Demetre will be working on the food side, Ranald McDonald, director of London’s celebrated Boisdale restaurant and jazz bar will present diners with an exclusive selection of whiskies and Cuban cigars.

“Scotland’s next big thing, no question,” is how uber chef Ramsay talks about chef Martin Wishart. The Restaurant Martin Wishart situated in Edinburgh’s port of Leith, is a Michelin star awarded establishment for heavy-duty fine dining. At the table, the chef’s native Scotland meets gastronomic queen France, resulting in a contemporary Scottish take with a French twist.

St George Lycabettus Hotel, 2 Kleomenous, Kolonaki, Athens. For table reservations contact Joanna Evangellou at 210 7234435 and 210 7290711. Price per person set at 125 euros, including wine. For those wishing to participate in all three evenings, the price is 115 euros per dinner. All three evenings begin at 7.30 p.m. with cocktails and canapes. Dinner will follow at 8.30 p.m.

Feta cheese essential in Greek cuisine February 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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In Greek cuisine, Feta is a curd cheese in brine. It is traditionally made from goat’s and/or sheep’s milk although cow’s milk may be substituted.

It is an aged cheese, commonly produced in blocks, and has a slightly grainy texture. It is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads, pastries and in baking, but mostly is edible on its own. It is used in the popular Greek phyllo-based dishes spanakopita “spinach pie” and tyropita “cheese pie”.

14-02-08_feta_cheese.jpg  Feta is a popular cheese worldwide. Feta is salted and cured in a brine solution which can be either water or whey for several months. Feta dries out rapidly when removed from the brine. Feta cheese is white, usually formed into square cakes, and can range from soft to semi-hard, with a tangy, salty flavour that can range from mild to sharp. The cured cheese easily crumbles apart. Its fat content can range from 30 to 60 percent; most is around 45 percent milk fat. 

Feta is also an important ingredient of Greek salad. Feta, like most cheeses, can also be served cooked; it is sometimes grilled as part of a sandwich or as a salty alternative to other cheeses in a variety of dishes.

Coffee market annual turnover in Greece February 12, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Greece.
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Greeks spend some 300 million euro for coffee per year.

Recent reports show that Greeks consume an average of 1.6 cups of coffee per day. Thus, Greece is ranked 13th in terms of coffee consumption per capita of the population. Last year, Greek coffee market enjoyed 4.1% growth.

The top chart is headed by the espresso 15.7%. About 71% of Greeks prefer to drink their cup of coffee at home, despite the great boom of cafe trade chains.

Vivartia Food Group eyes Everest fast-food chain February 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Greece.
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Greece’s largest food group, Vivartia, is in preliminary talks with Everest to buy a stake in the fast-food chain, Vivartia said yesterday.

Everest, with a current market value of 85.5 million euros, runs a network of 184 fast-food stores in Greece, Cyprus and Romania. Vivartia, which owns fast-food chain Goody’s, plans to invest 800 million euros ($1.17 billion) to expand activities in Southeastern Europe by 2012. Vivartia is 84.6 percent-owned by Marfin Investment Group.

Cheesy tricks buying time for fake feta cheese February 6, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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Three months or more after the irrevocable decision in Greece’s favor for the use of the name feta, an unorthodox war continues to rage on the shelves of Europe’s supermarkets.

The object of that war is the survival of fake “feta”, using all kinds of tricks to tell consumers that “this is feta” without actually saying it. Therefore, the packaging may carry the description “white cheese”, but on the supermarket shelf there may be a small label that reads “feta.” Another trick is the use of the word “feta”, which in various languages, such as Italian, means “slice,” to introduce a piece of white cheese as “feta” in reference to the slice on sale.

Although it is the European Commission that has imposed the law that only allows Greek goat cheese to be called feta since October 16, 2007, it is down to member states, in this case Greece, to follow up on the proper application of the law and report any violations.

Following a question by a Greek European Parliament member, the Commission stated that there has not been a single complaint from Athens on this matter, so no process can yet begin to root out Europe’s feta imposters.