2014 Food & Travel Expo Speaker Thei Zervaki on Where to Eat in Greece


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Thei Zervaki

Thei Zervaki

Thei Zervaki shares her culinary adventures on her blog www.fullybooked.biz, is a regular food contributor for Southern Hospitality Magazine and whets appetites with cultural tastes for her Just Try It column. She also writes for the Huffington Post, CNN Travel, Harbors Magazine and other outlets. Thei is a scout for trendy and weird foods, organizes culinary tours in Greece and Seattle and enjoys a glass of Assyrtiko in hot and humid nights.
Thei will be leading a session on specialty foods in the Cyclades islands at the 2014 Food & Travel Expo. We asked her a few questions…

1. Where should foodies go when they visit Greece?

They should definitely visit Thessaloniki, the “food” capital of the country. The Greek islands offer a unique and rich culinary tradition. Each area in the country has something else to offer so foodies have to do their research and identify first where they want to go and what foods to try.

2. What foods or dishes should foodies be sure to try when they go?


Greek Frappe

There are so many tasty dishes in the country and amazing flavors. The difference for Americans who travel to Greece is that they are used to eating Greek food introduced by Greek-Americans which is not exactly the same found in Greece.
The traditional dishes that everybody should try is a pita gyros sandwich (made with pork); the Greek salad; the traditional Greek “koulouri”; cheese pie; the real Greek yogurt; ouzo with appetizers for sure. I would have a frappe coffee and I also recommend to visit at least one bakery and one taverna.

RELATED: Travel Writing in Greece.


3. Are there any food events foodies should plan their trip around?

Not really. I would suggest to decide on where to go, then do some research on local food events. Most areas offer culinary tours so this is a good beginning to experience local dishes and ingredients. Greek food has a world reputation based on its qualities and flavors. Try to avoid very touristic areas and buy foods from stores/restaurants popular with the locals.

4. What’s the biggest difference between the Greek food scene and the American food scene?

Greek food There are two different countries in size and food culture. Therefore, the foods offered are completely different. I would say that the Greek food scene is less international compared to the American. The Greek food has been modernized the last decade and has introduced elements from world cuisines however, the core ingredients are always the same- Greek olive oil, fresh vegetables, red meat, fresh fish and wine. Greek people are less open to international dishes and slightly more conservative to trying new foods -probably as most Mediterranean cultures.

RELATED: Three Afternoons of Dining in Greece.


5. What will you be speaking about at the 2014 Food & Travel Expo?

We will explore distinctive flavors, tastes and ingredients of the Cyclades like fava, the yellow split pea, capers, chickpeas, sweet tomatoes, cheeses and pastries not found in other parts of the country. I will share recipes, samples and highlights of Cyclades rich culinary history.

Highlights from the 2013 Food & Travel Expo

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Take a Food Tour

Our walking food tour combines tasty food tasting, food history, politics, and culture.
It begins with a light breakfast and unforgettable Cretan beverage. Since Arabs, Jews, Venetians, Ottomans, Greeks from Asia Minor, and immigrants have passed through Chania, adding their flavors to the local cuisine, we will follow their trail. We will experience a multi-sensory food event and delectable delicacies from one-of-a-kind specialty food shops while enjoying the opportunity to better understand the culinary history of the city and how the locals eat.

Our walk ends with a dive into the distant past. We will visit the archaeological museum of Chania to view selected cooking vessels and to experience them more in depth as one would taste exquisite old wine. We will then visit either a ceramic workshop, where we will have a chance to enjoy a short lesson in ancient cooking or a local taverna and we will be treated to home-baked bread, made according to ancient baking method- and other fine delicacies of historic Cretan gastronomy.

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