Who knows more about traditional cuisine than our elder family members? The event “Aegean mamas know best” was developed in the framework of the Taste the Season programme by South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy Awarded 2019. Organized under the auspices of the Region’s Ambassador Chef Argiro Barbarigou, the day focused on Aegean gastronomy, addressing and involving a public of all ages.
The initiative brought together families and top chefs in order to valorize the long tradition of South Aegean cuisine with the aim of sharing experiences, good practices and knowledge on regional recipes and products.
In a more and more globalized world, where diet is becoming increasingly homogeneous, it is important to keep traditional gastronomic knowledge alive, and a wise first step is to make young generations aware of the richness of gastronomic tradition. The educational aim was central, children had the opportunity to spend valuable time cooking together cookies, pancakes and olive oil pitas with honey and mizithra cheese discovering and practicing with the help of their mothers how to cook accordingly to the Aegean style.
The public was involved in some cooking class, during which the Chefs of the Cyclades and members of the Dodecanese Chefs’ Club, together with Argiro Barbarigou, cooked and explained step by step some traditional recipes as for example: Koulouría (typical Rhodian pasta), pork loukoumi (typical Rhodian dish with pasta and pork meat), fresh pasta and Melekounia (typical Rhodian treat).
The high nutritional value of local products and the pure and simple way of producing genuine dishes was the focus, in an event that gave value to grandmother’s knowledge and stimulated discussion and awareness about traditional cuisine.
The Governor of South Aegean Region, Mr. George Hatzimarkos, noted: «Today’s great participation of mums, grandmothers and especially children, proves that our islands’ traditional gastronomy and authentic cuisine is a matter of the whole family, of the entire local community… We seek for it to become a daily habit and experience for the modern family, thereby ensuring its preservation and continuation. Collective actions, such as the one implemented here today, are what we need and, at the same time, the means to achieve all the above…”
The event, supported by the company Estee Lauder, was furthermore attended by the President of the Gennimatas Vocational Training Center, Mrs. Haroula Yasirani, the Vice Governor in charge of the Primary Sector and Gastronomy, Mr. Philimonas Zannetidis, the President of the Regional Plant Nursery, Mr. Michalis Barianakis and the President of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese Chefs’ Club, Mr. Nikos Christoforou.
Finally, the event saw the participation of the South Aegean Regional Plant Nursery where the “Aegean Gardener” project was presented. This initiative, developed for the Award as well, has been implemented in primary school and aims to educate young generations to gardening activities, focusing on the importance of typical plants varieties.
About European Region of Gastronomy
The European Region of Gastronomy Platform aim to contribute to better quality of life in European regions, by highlighting distinctive food cultures, educating for better health and sustainability and stimulating gastronomic innovation. IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism) organises the award with the support of European institutions.
IGCAT is a non-profit organisation established in 2012 working in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. Through its worldwide network of experts, IGCAT aims to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating, and supporting local leaders in cities, regions and cultural projects to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. IGCAT is the official secretariat for the Region of Gastronomy Platform and provides the European Region of Gastronomy Award, the European Young Chef Award and theLocal Food Gift Award.