Eating … at the same table with Zeus and Poseidon or Theodora and Justinian

Eating … at the same table with Zeus and Poseidon or Theodora and Justinian

Wearing a white tunic and a laurel wreath on their heads, visitors sit down to dine at an ancient Greek table. If time were turned back 3,000 years, Zeus, Dionysus, Aphrodite or Achilles could have enjoyed a similar meal next to them… Nearby, waiters offer favourite dishes of Theodora and Justinian, but also 19th century dishes or flavours of today.

The gastronomic journey through time, from ancient Greece to the present day, takes place in a hotel in Halkidiki, which has four themed kitchens, with Germans, English and French people having already made reservations for the next tourist season, to dine on all periods of Greece.

The philosophy, as the hotel’s manager explains, is based on the fact that anyone travelling to Greece comes not only for the country’s rich history, but also for its centuries-old culinary and wine tradition.

“We want to provide everyone with a complete experience of authentic Greek hospitality, to dine and taste something very special, which will accompany them as a memory throughout the winter and they will become protagonists in a piece of history through our cuisine”, Marianna Pournari notes.

The favourite dishes of the gods of Olympus and the sweet of Achilles

“Fish in a pan with mustard” and “flattened venison and cuttlefish” are two of the dishes (appetizer and main course) from the menu, which includes exclusively recipes based on ancient texts and monuments, such as Homer’s. Dressed in ancient Greek costume, tourists can expect their dishes with the aroma, colour and taste of ancient Greece.

“Dionysus was the god of grape harvesting, wine and wine making, fertility, theatre and ecstasy and that’s what we tried to capture. We even have our own wine labels,” explains, manager Marianna Pournari. As she notes, the restaurant serves food that was cooked in Greece from 1100 BC onwards.

“Depending on the circumstances and the financial means of the … ancient household, meats such as beef, pork and lamb were on the table. They also greatly preferred fish and seafood, which were in high quality and quantity. Finally, they ate a lot of dried fruits and vegetables as well as fruits and honey,” he describes. “We, based on modern scholars and researchers, have designed the menu based on everything we are able to know about the food of the ancient Greeks, but adapted to the ingredients that exist today and based on their seasonality,” he adds.

Simple byzantine dishes in a restaurant – temple and the culinary weaknesses of Theodora

The visitor experience does not stop at ancient Greece. By taking just a few steps one can jump into … Byzantium, in a restaurant that resembles a temple, with hagiographies on the walls and incense emanating in the atmosphere. Around two large tables, guests dine like Byzantine emperors. There, the menu includes only dishes from cooking recipes found in Byzantine-era texts – “apple fagros after lentils” or “polypus after peppercorns and leeks,” dishes chosen by Byzantine notables.

“Here the dishes are simpler. The flavours are pure and the ingredients are few. As for the place, which resembles a temple, it was a lifelong dream of my grandfather Theodore Pournaris, who was involved in church architecture and had built a large number of churches and monasteries in Thessaloniki and the wider region. He wanted to put this touch into the hotel and his love is reflected in the detail of the specific space with the Byzantine kitchen,” says Mrs. Pournari.

Grandparents’ cuisine and today’s recipes.

The kitchen time machine makes two more stops. First somewhere in the early 1900s, with the recipes of our ancestors on the menu. It includes what great-grandmothers used to put in the pot, the crockpot and the big sheet pans in the oven. Handmade pasta, bulgur, trahanas and noodles have a prominent place in the dishes. In fact, tourists have the opportunity to enjoy cooking lessons from the cooks who have undertaken to revive the era and for those who love the Greek menu and want to attempt to make meals in their own country, they receive detailed instructions on how to make their favourite recipes in their email!

For those who want to recover from the peculiar …jet lag, they can “land” at the last stop of the trip, where they will find a traditional tavern – ouzeri of today.