Located in the heart of the Peloponnese, our hotel is surrounded by a lush landscape of orange and olive groves, vineyards, and fields that produce a wide range of delectable foods, such as grapes, tomatoes, cheeses and meat dishes. In this article, we'd like to introduce you to the gastronomic wonders of the region, highlighting the farm-to-table philosophy that we embrace in our restaurant, and sharing some of our favorite local dishes and wines that are not to be missed.
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As you explore the charming towns and villages of Argolis, you will discover that each place has its own specialty. Argos, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, is famous for its mouth-watering melons and apricots. Argos melons are unique in shape and color, and they ripen later than other types of melons, making them a must-try. You can also taste the rich flavor of apricots in the form of homemade jams that are perfect for breakfast or a mid-morning snack.
Another must-try is the extra-virgin olive oil produced in Lygourio, a village nestled at the foot of Mount Arachneo near the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus. The area is home to acres of olive trees that produce one of the most delicious olive oils you will ever taste. Made from the Manaki olive variety and protected by the PDO designation, this olive oil is a staple of the local cuisine.
The rich soils of the area deliver exceptional fresh fruit. Known as the gold of Argolis, oranges are the most prevalent local produce in the area. They yield around 300,000 tons per year and are used to make a variety of naturally orange-based desserts, including portokalopita (orange filo pastry cake).
A visit to the region wouldn't be complete without trying some of the local dishes, such as handmade Gkogkes, a shell-shaped pasta topped with local manouromyzithra cheese and hot oil. You can also indulge in suckling pig from Fichti, Giossa, a sheep or goat dish cooked in traditional stone ovens from Midea, or artichoke dishes from the specialty produce of Iria.
To accompany your meal, you can try the superb Agiorgitiko wine. Named after Saint George, a former name of the city, this full-bodied aromatic red wine is made from grapes that are among the oldest indigenous grapes of Greece. You can recognize the Nemea-Agiorgitiko PDO by its dark ruby color. The altitude of Nemea, once an ancient religious sanctuary, makes it ideal for growing this variety of grape.
Apart from the revered Agiorgitiko, there are many other varieties that must be tried as well: Assyrtiko and Roditis are light and crisp, reminiscent of summer evenings and seafood mezzes, while the local Cabernet and Merlot deserve a place at anyone's table. A jaunt to cosmopolitan Porto Heli boasts an aromatic Rokaniaris, while Savatiano and Moschofilero can be found throughout the land. The latter is an intriguing wine, beginning life as a pink grape which is vinified in such as way as to produce an aromatic white wine with an extremely floral bouquet. The Moschofilero is mainly grown in the Peloponnese and specifically in the area of Mantineia. Make sure to include all of the above in your list of tempting appellations.
Apart from the beautifully rich PGI Argolis wines, the region also has a long tradition of organic or bio winemaking. Biological wines are made from grapes that have been grown organically. Any use of chemicals, synthetic fertilizers or pesticides is strictly forbidden. Only natural substances are allowed to be used in the cultivation period, such as sulphites and manure, with the aim of preserving the distinct local character of each wine. EU guidelines only allow for a tiny amount of sulphites to be used before certifying a vineyard as bio.
Greece has always found it easy to produce organic produce, with its robust Cycladic and Aegean winds, temperate weather, favorable terrain, and small-sized vineyards, all of which favor the vine's health without allowing for extensive growth of damaging microorganisms. The local fauna and flora help to conserve the balance of the vine's environment and farmers also use green manure—an ancient technique whereby nitrogen rich plants are plowed into the soil around the vines in spring.
Around 50% of all Greek wineries currently produce some wines made from organic grapes.
Since ancient times, the Greek diet has relied on the simple pleasures of freshly grown fruits and vegetables, untouched by additives and genetic modifications. Whether it's picking a juicy lemon from a tree or pulling fresh vegetables from the soil, the recent trend of farm-to-table dining has been the traditional source of nourishment in Greece for thousands of years.
Olives, figs, and wild honey have been an integral part of Greece's gastronomical culture since ancient times, while staple grains like wheat and barley, and nutrient-rich pulses have always been dietary staples. Greek dishes were flavored with herbs like wild oregano, rosemary, or thyme, which were gathered from the surrounding areas and are still used in many traditional recipes. Wine was a major part of everyday life and dairy produce was more highly valued than red meat.
The menu selection of any Greek restaurant today still reflects this traditional approach, with dishes composed of these ingredients in various forms. Many traditional dishes, such as stuffed vine leaves, continue to be handmade in homes. Vegetable-based casseroles, lentil broths, and baked legumes cooked in extra virgin olive oil and mountain herbs continue the legacy of this delicious culinary heritage.
At Perivoli Farm-to-Table Restaurant, we embrace the farm-to-table philosophy, not only because it tastes better, but also because it's what our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years. In Greece, the term organic is unnecessary, as everything consumed has always been freshly sourced.
Traditional dishes that have put Greece on the global gastronomy map and are renowned for their healthy properties are still based on simple vegetables, local fish, and dairy farm produce. Healthy eating has never gone out of fashion in Greece, and the abundance of seasonal ingredients ensures a wide variety of succulent dishes throughout the year.
The following are some of our favorite dishes for you to savor during your visit:
If you're looking for a taste of Christmas in Greece, then you can't go wrong with Melomakarona. This traditional Greek cookie is sweetened with honey, a fragrant aroma of cinnamon and a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Whether you're reminiscing about fond holiday memories or looking to create new ones, these cookies are a must-try for anyone who loves the taste of the holidays. Follow the recipe below and discover the magic of Melomakarona:
No Christmas in Greece could ever be complete without a platter of Melomakarona! Share this wonderfully festive cookie with your friends and loved ones over the holidays!
At Perivoli Farm-to-Table Restaurant, every dish is a celebration of our region's rich culinary heritage. From the freshest local produce to the finest Peloponnese wines, we offer a gastronomic journey that will delight your senses.
Take a piece of Greece home with you and savor the memories of your visit by purchasing some of the region's local products, such as wild honey, orange marmalade, fig jam, and olives. Graviera cheese and soft cheese are also worth picking up and the local ouzo or tsipouro is a special blend not to be missed. For wine enthusiasts, our exciting wine tours and tastings are a must-try.
Savor the authentic tastes of the local produce and let the essence of Greece linger on your palate, leaving you with memories that will stay with you long after your visit to Perivoli Farm-to-Table Restaurant.