10 Jul Looking for a way to support Greece right now?
As Greece’s economy is suffering from the ongoing recession many of the local businesses are on the brink of financial collapse. Small enterprises and family businesses are the ones that have been hit the hardest. The artisan food producers, farmers and small tourism businesses that we work so closely with are only some examples of companies that are directly affected by the economic crisis.
Citizens from all over the world are watching, gripped by a feeling of helplessness and many have a desire to contribute. One way to support Greece is to invest in its domestic industry. The quality of Greek food products is as good as ever and will not disappoint you. Here are just a few of our favourites…
Thannassis and Giorgos Papaioannou provide some of the very best organic award winning wines in Greece. This is a family business in the region of Nemea in the Peloponnese – a wine making area with a history that goes back thousands of years.
Giorgos Mazo’s family (the guys above!) have been cultivating vineyards since 1876. Being the youngest member in the family, Giorgos decided to focus his business on the production of the once famous Corinthian currant. He revived the traditional method of drying the fruit in the shade and provides us with sweet and nutritious currants that have retained all their vitamins (just the best in cakes, porridge, and many traditional Greek recipes).
Thanassis is a honey producer in Northern Greece. He produces wonderful honey, royal jelly and proper bee’s pollen (which needs to be kept in the freezer). He has a eye for innovation and is experimenting with many honey-based products. We are not allowed to tell just yet! His production unit is a happy place with all the necessary certification. The bee’s pollen was a huge surprise for us! (Website only in Greek)
Crete is famous for its many varieties of cheese, so naturally local cheese producers – and goats! – are numerous. One of our favourite producers is Manolis Tzourbakis. He runs a family business along with his brother Mixalis. Manolis was trained as an aircraft engineer but was forced to drop his postgraduate studies and return back to Crete. In 1976 he bought some land in Rethymno and a traditional cheese-making unit, along with his brother. They have been producing goat’s and sheep’s cheese ever since and have helped to built Crete’s cheese reputation.
In the area of Mylopotamos you will come across some of the best olive groves in Crete. Leonidas, originally a chemist, is running his own company producing premium quality organic olive oil. The scenery is absolutely amazing and the olive oil a pure treasure. If you come on a holiday with us you will have a chance to participate in the harvest, visit the olive groves and follow the journey literally from the tree to the bottle.
( translates as “Lela’s treat”)
Spoon sweets are a Greek way of preserving fruits; it’s great with yogurt but traditionally it was served with coffee and a large glass of cold water. When we visited this manufacturing unit everything was as sweet as it was supposed to be! Everyone makes these – my mum does, my nana did. There is a lot of competition and it is hard to stand out. Sofia did. She inherited the recipes from her mum who is still there monitoring everything. The fruits although preserved have retained all the right aromas, as if they are fresh. I had a coffee when I visited and Sofia kept serving us all the different types of spoon sweets. She was so enthusiastic and wanted us to try everything, almost as sweet as the sweets she makes!
Hidden between Nemea’s vineyards we discovered a small business producing the best vinegar we had ever tasted. Its organic, its made from local grape varieties and has won a great taste award. Nikos one of the owners welcomed us, showed us around and talked to us about his business. Have you ever seen a vinegar cellar? I did. Great massive barrels full of good quality vinegar aging slowly and properly. We loved the molasses and the balsamic vinegar with honey. We’ve been making the best salads ever since with summer greens or winter vegetables.
We want to share these amazing local flavours!
Not everyone exports but we are committed to sharing the very best of Greek produce, making them available to you when you come here on holiday. All of these are products you can enjoy during our cooking workshops and when on holiday with us. We know each producer personally and support their causes. Sign up for regular blog updates or follow us on social media and we will keep providing wonderful stories of these and similar businesses.
One of the driving forces behind the Hand Picked Greece concept is to develop a tourism business that really benefits the local economy. Now, more than ever, this is right at the forefront of our minds. When you come on holiday with us, most of the cost of your holiday or workshop goes back to local businesses – food producers, local chefs, farmers and small service businesses who are working together to deliver your holiday.
Check out our holidays and join us for a journey to the Greek gastronomy and nature. We promise to introduce you to the rural life in Greece the old fashioned way!
Want to travel to Greece but worried about the economic situation?
You can have peace of mind if you book a Hand Picked Greece holiday with us. We are a UK company so we are secured from the ups and downs of the local economic situation. When you pay for your holiday your money is held initially in a trust account with HSBC.
When we receive money from either yourself or from your travel agent, the funds are deposited into a Client Trust Account. The money stays in this account until the day you return from your trip. Why? So that in the unlikely event of Handpicked Greece having financial difficulties, your money is still safe and you would get it back in full. You can have full peace of mind at all times.
Find out more about the financial protection available with our holidays.