Saturated in the vast richness of the Mediterranean Sea, Greece is not only blessed with beautiful blue waters and a history that dates back eons, but a wide range of traditional delicacies enriched in flavor and diversity.
When you mention Greek Food, there has to be an abundance of fresh herbs and spices, fresh fish, octopus, feta & cheeses fried that are either fried, dipped in or drizzled over by extra virgin olive oil; which is the elixir of Greece and almost all their meals are also accompanied by local olives. The Greeks also love their sweets, and it would be a sin to finish a meal without a custard-filled pastry or Greek yoghurt that’s doused in honey.
Combine all this and much more plus the lovely tunes of typical Greek live bouzouki music and you have the Greek Food Festival. Sponsored by DusitD2 and Qatar Airways, the one-week festival which is scheduled for 12th to 19th November at the hotel’s Soko Restaurant aims at celebrating the rich Greek culture through food and music. It also aims to give revelers the taste of something new, as most Kenyans are not yet acquainted with Greek food and assures to give them a new taste bud experience.
To make the experience even more surreal, the top chef from Greece, Papadopoulos Giorgos, was flown into the country for a week-long exhibition of his country’s cuisine at the DusitD2 Hotel and the live bouzouki music will be performed live by international Greek musician Angelos Christopolos. Every day this week from 7pm to 10 pm, customers will be given a life time experience to soak in the Greek culture.
Also note that Guests are required to make reservations to attend the event which can be done here. The menu will include but not be limited to chicken gyros, calamari, souvlaki, spanakopita, fassolada soup and more plus Greek desserts and pastries.
I got a chance to speak to Mr Giorgos, who is the Executive Chef of Domotel Hotels and Resorts which entails for the Greek cuisine, has won four Hellenic gold medals and has in the past made cuisines for dignitaries from Greece, The Netherlands and Kuwait. This is his first time in Kenya, and he expressed his excitement citing that the country has a lot to offer and as a chef is very open to learn and try out new things. With over two decades of experience, he promised to deliver his best in trying to make the customers who will visit the hotel to see Greece the way he sees it, and probably even fall in love with it as much as he does.
We got to try out a couple of Mr. Giorgos’ dishes and I must say, I am in love with the different bursts of flavor that the delicacies all gave. Here’s a breakdown of what we had and probably what you can try out even as you attend the DusitD2 GreekFestival.
For starters, we had freshly baked Greek bread and the tastiest thickest spicy feta cheese dip I’ve had in a very long while. This definitely warmed up our stomachs for the other dishes to come. Nothing beats the Greek and their wide selection of fresh cheeses – some like the graviera, a hard golden-white cheese is perfectly eaten cubed.
Next, I was served the pineapple juice with mint, which came followed by an array of marinated octopus tentacles with eggplant, beetroot salad with yogurt & chickpeas with fennel, artichoke and salted anchovies.
There was also an amuse bouche that which is originally a French word meaning a little bitings of food to invigorate and awaken your palate. Ours was shrimp with sumac.
The Tzatziki, a creamy cucumber dip flavored with garlic which according to me, went so well with Greek salad; the dip blended amazingly with the rich round tomatoes in the salad. The Tzatziki also went incredibly with the red snapper fillet with the tomato, olive and capers. They were served in a very traditional serving and the slices were amicable enough to just fit right in your mouth!
The main course which came minutes later was the ‘Pilafi’ rice with saffron from kozani and grilled lamb shoulder chops with thyme. I almost didn’t get to taste it because everyone ran for it and it was simply divine!! Paired with the pineapple mint juice I was served earlier, they formed the best bursts of flavor in my tummy.
My favorite part was obviously the dessert. I say this because I’m such a big fan of sweets and the Greek are too, so we went hand in hand with that. We had the cheese halva with cashewnuts doused in a generous serving of honey and kunafa red fruit served in a perfect little jar. I avoided the cashewnuts because I’m unfortunately allergic to nuts but I generously had the fruit. I almost asked the manager to let me carry home some of the jars because they were so delicious!
The Hotel’s Managing Director Michael Metaxas had earlier pointed out that the festival will help Kenyan people to embrace and understand the Greek culture through food and traditional music from Greece, in particular during special gatherings and I finally got to understand why Mr Christoplos happily played his bouzouki music; it’s probably because the food was not just a feast of the eyes, but for all senses as well.
You can be guaranteed that you’ll leave the hotel and the Food festival smiling, so make your way down to the Dusit D2 Hotel and while you’re there, take a few pictures of just how happy you’ll be and post them following the hashtag #DusitGreekFestival.