You’ve probably heard of a wine pairing meal or event, maybe even experiencing a few yourself. But have you ever participated in a food pairing evening? One where you pick the beverage and the food brought before you is matched accordingly. This concept was totally new to me and so when I had the opportunity to experience it in Greece, I jumped at the chance.
Let me paint you a picture. Athens. Greece. Europe is just awakening from months of COVID-19 lockdown. The city is quiet with not much tourist activity being felt as of yet. Gliding through the streets is effortless and I am in love with that. I meet up with Danai from Aliós Greece Food Tours and she leads me through the trendy streets of the Koukaki district. Then, as if this spot has magically sprung up out of nowhere, she invites me through an unassuming door and the enchanting experience at Delio Food Hub begins.
We are met by the owner, Harris, who indulges us in the story behind his Delicatesseria and its function as a product distribution hub for small Greek producers. He shares his love for local food and how supporting small businesses around the country is a must – especially right now.
We start with wine - I choose rosé. Its fruity, cool aroma a perfect compliment to this warm, summer’s evening. Within an instant, an exquisite trout paté on crunchy toast slithers is placed before me. My taste buds are ignited. Dish after dish that follows just blows me away - Greek spinach and cheese pie, dolmades, smoked salmon ravioli, a sumptuous cheese platter and the most divine apple pie ice cream I have ever tasted in my life. All handmade, all mouthwateringly heavenly.
With each plate comes stories of the farmers and supplies who made the delicacies, the history of food in Greece and conversations about Greek culture and its people. All of my senses are heightened and I am enthralled to be wrapped up in conversation with two people who are so deeply passionate about food and their country. A couple of hours pass and the experience is rounded out by a small glass of aged tsipouro - the most appropriate finalé.
Shortly after, I say goodbye to my new friends from Aliós Tours and begin my walk home. I feel high! I feel electrified! All because I know I have just experienced something that I will never forget.
This was such an energising evening for me. I am a full-time traveller, but always steer clear of tourist areas and activities. I travel solo, some might say even hermit-like and I prefer to do my own thing mostly away from all the people. But local food experiences are always the exception and I love to discover a place through its cuisine. I live for these experiences – experiences that connect me to local people and to the celebration of the food that brings a culture to life. And this one was exceptional.
If you are coming to Greece, getting in touch with Danai from Aliós tours will be the best thing you do. Let her take you on a journey – a journey that will leave a lasting impression and one that will equip you with memories for years to come.