When so many beautiful and concerned minds are coming together, it is inevitable that new perspectives will appear, experience will fuse with innovation and new leads will be exposed for exploration.
As it would be impossible to array all of the discussions in full detail, we will arrange in this section in bullet form, the amalgam of our first Solfeance. There is no particular order of the proceedings, as we want to expose them the way they came out, the discussion of our "Parea" (company). Feel free to contact us with your ideas, critique and opinions. Enjoy!
Gastronomy begins from Mother Earth. Either from what grows in her, or what is fed from her, this is the starting point of a gastronomic experience. Therefore our prime concern, must be to respect & preserve the source of our everyday's food & beverage provider.
Mother earth provide the base of our daily food. Starting from the seeds, that turn to grass that animals eat, or plants & fruits that we harvest. A great responsibility lies to all of us, to enforce all of the efforts for preservation of native varieties & biological cultivation, while become active and go against any attempts to promote & consuming genetically mutated products.
Mother Earth with her wisdom, will adjust its products to climatic conditions, against pests and still maintain the flavor & nutritional elements. Even in Greece and especially in city centers, we tend to forget the actual taste of a tomato, as we experienced it as children.
Given the above, gastronomy is more than just another dish of food. It is a vastly important part of a civilization's history, projecting the soil its people settled on, each area's resources, the indigenous products every part of the country produces and therefore the dishes that were developed and we are enjoying today.
As gastronomy is in everyway connected to a country's local land, products & history, we can focus on those factors as a background for developing and promoting more "rich" & extended gastronomical experiences. Excursions to areas that various goods are grown, engagement of the travelers in the production line (e.g. olives or grapes harvest) and many more, depending on each destination's particularity.
A great tool & opportunity for promoting & exporting our gastronomical culture along with certain culinary products to a market of over a billion people, is the Internet and especially the Social Networks. Cost effective and with a geometrical rate of exposure, it can wide open the gates of culinary tourism and export of various Greek products. People attempting to use this great tool, must realize, that just a website is not enough. Investment on specialized e-marketers may boost their business beyond belief!
Synergy is an effective and low cost way to promote travel products as gastronomy, for all kinds of companies or producers, no matter the size of them. Elounda Solfez Villas, have a strong belief in the synergy concept, which practiced in this Solfeance by inviting Chef Paul Delios from the U.S.. As every company has its own clientele, via synergy, can expose and be exposed to a much wider audience, meaning the clientele of the other companies that will collaborate with. Sharing the promotional costs is another benefit of synergy.
Initiative for development of a network for delivering Greek gastronomical products abroad, must be taken urgently. It is at least sad, to watch Italian & Spanich container ships docking in Sitia, Crete, and load the "golden" product of Crete, olive oil and then bottle it and sell it as their own. Can you imagine the loss of income for the Cretan producers and furthermore for our country? Well I guess that the Cretan producers and the country should realize it first!!! Mentality is the first (and the hardest) issue to change, in order to develop and advance, not only professionally but as well as individuals.
Greeks are living all over the world, feeling a strong connection to their Motherland. Could we ask for better ambassadors to promote Greek gastronomy? Can we not reach out to them in order to help us set up culinary events wherever they may reside?
Quality of the ingredients used for the dishes served to visitors of our country, are quite often unacceptable. With the lame excuse that it is due to cost reduction, someone can experience eating frozen cheese pies, in restaurants and tavernas that serve the majority of tourists, in many destinations. Seems like the question quality over quantity is like a giant leap of faith, that very few are willing to take!
As with many things that need to be changed in the contemporary Greek society (and not only the Greek), in order to evolve and become more antagonizing, gastronomy would have to be integrated in education, already in a late elementary level.
Initially it would connect children with their culinary heritage, history and native products, in a very practical and productive way. From planting their own vegetables and fruits, to learning the nutritional value of each ingredient and from learning how to cook a proper meal to sharing it properly with their friends. We do not want everybody to turn to a chef, rather a responsible towards itself person.
Learning about proper nutrition, it could prevent the obesity phenomenon which is wide spread not only in Greece but in most parts of the world. Imagine young people growning by learning about a proper diet, combined with sports; would we not have less complexed people entering the society? Naturally it can not stand on its own as a measure, because obesity has deep psychological background but it would for sure be a healthy start.
Now if children would start cooking from an early age (at an age that cooking can be performed with safety), not only their fantasy will find a fertile ground, but their self esteem, self sufficiency and autonomy, will start growing in a very healthy way. Along with others factors, it could help them consider leaving the "home nest" much earlier and when on their own, to avoid eating junk food of any kind.
As gastronomy is much more than cooking, but also presentation, service and most of all love for the well being of yourself and the other people you share your food with, children that would be taught gastronomy, could develop and evolve their social skills & aesthetics. How many of us trully enjoy our food, eat good quality food, even serve it with the proper utensils?
Can we imagine the benefit of young children, under the supervision to their teachers, to cook weekly for elderly homes, public or private, in their municipality? How will these older people feel having the presence and the attention of young people? What will the children learn from that interaction? Would be trully so beneficial for both sides.
Gastronomy in education would not magically change the society. But think this: What if next to gastronomy, we would add a psychotherapist to assist the children's development, dieticians, artists to open children's perspectives, driving instructors, so that we do not loose so many young people in the streets... and so on and so on... Living in Greece these things might sound almost heretic!
Well if we want to re-live some of our Anchestors glory and it is not impossible, we have to actively help our children and start from the point where they are like "sponges" and can absorb, at school! Education & Cultivation of the mind is key to Evolution.
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Sorry to see you go for now!!!