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Maria Loi – Greece’s Culinary Ambassador- May 13 TCT Live

Strolling West 58th Street recently I peeked into Loi Estiatorio, a sliver of a restaurant owned by renowned Greek chef, Maria Loi. “Peeked” is an understatement. Maria was at the entrance and welcomed me in for a visit with her at the bar. It was pre-service, so the restaurant was quiet (for a short time). Maria offered me a selection of Greek wine plus a delicious Feta-Greek yogurt dip with hard crackers. When I told her I wanted to learn how to make yogurt she went back to her kitchen and brought me a printout of her recipe plus a small bowl of the most luscious yogurt I’ve ever tasted. And more wine.

Greeks are known for their hospitality and passion for their culture and food. Maria is no exception. The global Chef’s Club of Greece has recognized Maria as the official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy. In addition to Loi Estiatorio in Manhattan, Maria owns an exquisite gourmet restaurant in idyllic Nafpaktos, is a popular television chef and has a line of dinnerware and kitchen appliances.  She’s author of dozens of books including The Greek Diet (with veteran health journalist,Sarah Toland) which was the official cookbook of the 2004 Greek Olympics. The Greek Diet outlines Maria’s 12 Food Pillars for a healthy diet. It’s a simple diet based around fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood, chicken and eggs, whole grains, beans and plenty of olive oil and  yogurt,herbs and spices. And wine – Greek of course!

Chef Maria Loi
Chef Maria Loi

 

I’ve been in a “Greek state of mind” for quite some time since olive oil, yogurt, beans and steamed greens (akin to Cretan style horta) are my dietary staples along with water, coffee and tea (she discusses the benefits of Greek coffee and mountain tea)…..and wine.  Maybe it stems from my years as a young girl devouring stories from Greek mythology (Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, was my personal favorite.) It’s no myth that the Greek diet is among the healthiest, and Maria’s glow and energy are a testament.

Listen to our May 13 show with Chef Maria Loi Here

– Melanie Young

Connect:

https://www.facebook.com/LoiEstiatorio

https://twitter.com/loiestiatorio

THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMES

Join Melanie and David Wednesdays 2pm ET for The Connected Table LIVE! Each week we bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. Listen live on W4CY and anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeart App under Shows and Personalities . Connect:      Twitter (connectedtable)   Facebook  (the connected table).

 

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Drink

Going Native: Crete Wine Varietals

There’s a place in the middle of the wine-dark sea called Crete, a lovely, fruitful land surrounded by the sea. – Homer, The Odyssey

 

CRETE VINEYARDS

Thrapsathiri, Vidiano, Vilana, Malvasia de Candia, Daphni, Plyto, Kostifali, Mandilari, Liatiko…..To the uninitiated these sound like another version of the nine Greek muses. But in the wine world, these lyrical names are among the native varietals of Crete.

Wine production in Crete dates back to 2000 B.B. to ancient Minoan civilization. After the Ottomans invaded Crete in 1669, wine production subsided for nearly two centuries. It was reborn in the late nineteenth century after liberation. In 1913 Crete became part of Greece. Over the next few decades of war and political turmoil in Greece and throughout Europe, Crete winemakers persevered, despite less than favorable opportunities for exportation.

The most widely planted indigenous varietal in Crete is Vilana, a white grape, and Kostifali, a low tannin red which is frequently used as a base for blending.  Other local varietals include whites: Vidiano, Daphni, Plyto, Thrapsathiri, Malvazia di Candia, and Spina Muscat.  Indigenous red varietals include Mandilari, Romeiko and Liatiko, which produces delightful sweet wines.

International varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Chardonnay, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are also grown in Crete

Today’s Crete wine producers are focusing on international trade. Crete wines can be found in the United States, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Canada and China.

The Heraklion Winemakers Network (Wines of Crete), a trade organization of producers based in Crete,  works to educate both trade and consumers on the contemporary appeal of these ancient varietals through workshops, trade missions, its website and a  free application for both the iPhone and Android visit www.winesofcrete.gr

written by Melanie Young

GRAPESVINEYARD DISTANCE

 

CRETE MAP

 

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