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Olive Oil: Good Taste, Long Life

Olive oilextra-virgin1 (GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greek olive oil received complimentary reviews at the International Conference on excellence in olive oil (“Beyond Extra Virgin, June 21-23) sponsored by the Culinary Institute of America, together with the University of California at Davis.   The event – the largest conference on olive-oil excellence ever held in North America – explored the best production practices, sensory qualities, and culinary possibilities for the olive oil.  The olive oil industry was represented by the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board and its “Kerasma” project, which selected varieties from the island of Crete and the Peloponnese for this occasion.  Within the framework of the conference, a special event titled “Olive Oil and the Healthy Greek Kitchen” was organised especially for the presentation of case studies associating Greek culinary insight with wellness.  Kerasma: Olive & Olive Oil; Greek News Agenda: Mediterranean Diet- Panel Discussion in New York & Academic Research on Nutrition; Greek Mediterranean Gastronomy: Greek Olives: A Culinary Continuum

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Made in Greece Olive Oil

A Legacy That Goes Back To Antiquity

Olive oil(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Nothing is more characteristic of Greece than the millions of olive trees that grow in valleys and mountainous areas. Olive oil is more than one of the leading agricultural products of Greece. The Olive Tree, “the tree that feeds the children” according to Sophocles, is a cultural heritage, reflecting thousands of years of history and tradition. Its systematic cultivation started in the pre-historic times – the Stone and Bronze Age and ever since, it has been a vital element of the economy across the civilisations which flourished in Greece.  Greek Mediterranean Gastronomy: Greek Olives: A Culinary Continuum

Eating Healthy

The increase in Greek exports reflects, to a certain extent, the recent shift towards healthier nutrition, internationally. The Cretan diet includes olive oil in abundance, which is a key factor to longevity. The famous “Seven Countries Study” in the 70’s has proven that the death rate is far lower in Crete, a fact that the study attributed to the regular consumption of olive oil. Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food: Mediterranean Diet & Gourmed: All Olive Oil Recipes; Cretan Olive Oil: www.sedik.gr; Famous brands: www.elais.gr & www.gaea.gr

Learn about Greek Olive Oil

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Greece is home to 120 million olive trees, more than 12 per Greek citizen. Since up to 70% of Greece’s olive oil is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the highest standard available, Greece is the world’s leading exporter of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Food and beverage account for €2 billion of Greek exports, with major destinations Italy (22.2%), Germany (17.6%), United Kingdom (8%), United States (5.4%), and Spain (4.6%). In 2008, the Food and Beverage sector grew by 1.2%. Olive oil accounts for almost 12% of the sector’s exports.  Invest in Greece Agency: New Markets, New Opportunities—Olive Oil

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Valinakis at Olive Group

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     yannis-valinakisDeputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis on Tuesday underlined the need for more effective EU policies in the Mediterranean region, pointing out that it was equally important to bring a Mediterranean dimension into European integration. Attending the 6th Informal Meeting of the EU Mediterranean countries “Olive Group” that took place in Taormina, Sicily (15-16.12), the minister stated that the meeting focused on migration issues in the western Balkans and EU enlargement. He underlined there should be a “Mediterranean neighbourhood” to face the problems together and join forces to create opportunities that “will protect us during a crisis and at the same time produce long-term benefits.” The Olive group consists of Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Slovenia. Greek News Agenda: The Olive Group; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus: 5th Informal Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Mediterranean EU Member-States, Concluding Remarks 

Chinese President visited the island of Crete

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Concluding his visit to Greece, Chinese President Hu Jintao yesterday visited the island of Crete where he paid visits to the archaeological site of Knossos (see picture) and the Museum of Heraklion, capital city of the region. Accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, the Chinese President joined the olive harvesting process and stated that “Cretan olive oil has already started entering the Chinese market.”  Kathimerini daily: Cretan olive oil heading east to China; Greek News Agenda: Greece and China Shake Hands  Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece- Export Goods: a new-found emphasis on quality & Agricultural Produce, Greek food, Olive oil

10 classic Greek Island tales

a_view_of_cephaloni_195748h(From TIME on LINE, By Steve Keenan, 14/2/2008)
1. The perfect Greek island
– Oh, that old one again. Well, actually Skopelos is the business says Matt Rudd. “If you do want to break the fabulous monotony of beach life, you can walk up into the forests, have a snoop around a hilltop chapel, spot birds – I don’t know. Some people even come to Skopelos on walking holidays. Weirdos.” 
2. Three go wild on Paxos – “If olive trees were cathedrals, the Paxos trees would be Notre Dame – elaborate, vast, gnarled, ancient and heavily buttressed. They sprawl, fantastically,” enthuses Stanley Stewart in a tribute to the smallest Ionian island. 
3. Simple values in the Greek Cyclades – The lesser known islands of Kimolos and Kythnos are as unspoilt as you’re going to get in Greece, says Nigel Summerley – “short of visiting uninhabited islands that are home only to rocks and temporarily visiting goats put out to graze.” 
4. Back to the Greek islands – in style – Illustrator David Smith, an old Greek hand, returns again to the islands, this time Lefkada and Meganissi in the Ionian Islands – and this time in style. “The backpack has long since gone. The waist band is expanding the back is stiffening. Fastening ones shoelaces now counts as exercise.”  
5. Chic and boutique in Ithaca – The island is packed with trendy bars and boutique hotels, says Annabelle Thorpe. “Downtown Vathy. It’s not a phrase I expected to hear on Ithaca. But perhaps our hotel should have given me some clue that there is more to the island than pastoral bliss.” 
6. The tough little Greek islands – The Little Cyclades are no places for softies – but they are one of the greatest travel treats left in Europe for the adventurous holidaymaker, says Nigel Summerley. “Before leaving Amorgos, we accepted its greatest challenge: walking eight miles along its central range of mountaintops.”
7. Insider’s guide to Cephalonia – Resident Mary Gold is your guide to the largest of the Ionian Islands. “We looked at 13 destinations before building a villa here and we’ve never regretted it. Cephalonia was slow to bite the tourism apple and as a result, the islanders learnt a lot from other people’s mistakes.”
8. Trailblazing Crete – Away from the crowded resorts, Stuart Wavell finds a wilder side to go walking. “Dozens of wooden hives, painted in dual colours, were a reminder of the honey that was once exported from Candy, as the island was known to the Venetians. The music of bees and the wind’s sighs turn paths into soundtracks.” 
9. Zakynthos, where the turtles rule – Midnight flights, hyper children – it’s worth it for the beauty of the island and the protection of its wildlife, says Emma Haughton. “Within minutes a small head breaks the water for a moment before submerging again, leaving me almost light-headed with excitement.”
10. Greek island hopping – Dana Facaros, author of the Cadogan Guide to the Greek Islands, selects three routes to take in the Ionian Islands, the Dodacenese and Cyclades.

Visit Greece: The Mani Region

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The Mani region of the Peloponnese is characterised by grey rocky mountains. With fertile land scarce, blood-feuds were a way of life, so families constructed towers to use as refuges. In the Diros caves, once inhabited by Neolithic people, visitors are taken on a boat trip along the subterranean river through narrow tunnels and immense caverns filled with clusters of stalactites and stalagmites. “Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese” by Patrick Leigh Fermor is part travelogue, part evocation of the past and a glorious fusion of imagination and history by one of the greatest of Greece’s philhellene writers. Fermor’s account of his journey through Mani peninsula, an inspiring and untouched region of the Peloponnese, unlocks the secrets of the local people and culture whose roots stretch back to Byzantium. Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor, is a British author, scholar and soldier, who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Battle of Crete during World War II. He is considered as one of the world’s great travel writers. The Mani Peninsula attracts visitors for its magnificent castles, stunning scenery, and superb beaches. Mani is also known for unique culinary products and what is probably the world’s best extra-virgin olive oil. Webguide: www.maniguide.info