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FOOD


Ancient Greek cuisine (Return)


Ancient Greek cuisine was characterized by its frugality, reflecting agricultural hardship. It was founded on the "Mediterranean triad": wheat, olive oil, and wine.  Our knowledge of ancient Greek cuisine and eating habits is derived from literary and artistic evidence. Our literary knowledge comes mostly from Aristophanes' comedies and quotes preserved by 2nd–3rd century AD grammarian Athenaeus; artistic information is provided by black- and red-figure vase-painting and terracotta figurines. The Greeks had three to four meals a day. The woke and had breakfast, broke from midday work for lunch, and ended the day with dinner. Breakfast: Most ancient Greeks had the same thing: bread dipped in wine. The bread was made from barley, the main source of all breads in ancient times. The bread was probably hard, so the wine would loosen it up and make it easier to eat. Sure they could have used water, but where's the fun in that? They also had something called a teganites (τηγανίτης), which would have resembled a pancake. These were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk and were usually topped with honey or cheese. Lunch: What a surprise, they had more of that bread and wine, however they also were drinking it a bit more as well. Lunch was looked at like a midday snack so it was common for them to eat things like figs, salted fish, cheeses, olives, and more bread. Dinner: This was and still is in Greece, the most important meal of the day. This was the time they would gather with friends and discuss philosophy (some of them anyhow) and their daily events. Note I said friends and not family. This is because men and women normally ate separately. If they had slaves the slaves would serve the men dinner first, then the women, and then themselves. If they did not have slaves, the women of the house served the men first, and then themselves after the men were done. Since dinner was the most important meal, this is where most of the foods were consumed. At dinner, the ancients would eat: eggs (from quail and hens), fish, legumes, olives, cheeses, breads, figs, and any vegetables they could grow. Such as: Arugula, Asparagus, Cabbage, Carrots, and Cucumbers. Meat was reserved for the Wine Besides water, which was a daily task for the women of the house to fetch, this was the main drink of the ancient Greeks. They had it at all meals and during the day. We know the Greeks made red, white, rose, and port style wines.  It is worth noting that the ancient Greeks did not drink wine straight, it was considered barbaric to do so..wonder what they think of us now? Instead, all wine was cut with water. They drank for the pleasure and did not intend on getting drunk. And let's be honest, if you're drinking wine all day, you need it cut with something if you plan on getting all your work done. Desserts Since raw sugar wasn't known to the Greeks, honey was the main sweetener. Having cheese drizzled with honey, or figs and olives, were common. Kykeon The Greeks also drank kykeon (κυκεών), which was made by combining barley gruel, water (or wine), herbs and goat cheese into a almost shake like consistency. PS. A lot of people are curious as to what the Spartans ate. Well, honestly it was terrible. The spartans may be cool because they were trained warriors, but their food wasn't the bees knees. They ate something called, melas zomos (μέλας ζωμός), in english, black soup. Hows was this made? Simple, just boil some pigs legs, blood, salt, and vinegar. As early as the 4th century B.C., Hippocrates from Cos, the ancient Greek physician who is considered the founding father of western medicine, was spreading the word about the unquestionable value of a healthy diet, writing characteristically: "Let food be the medicine and medicine be the food." Today, more than two and one-half millennia later, and after a plethora of epidemiological studies that are undeniably in favor of his sayings, the interrelated epidemics of obesity and diabetes are growing rapidly both in USA and in Europe. As a result, we witness a rapid and massive wave turning back towards the health benefits of the traditional Greek Mediterranean Diet.


History of olive oil and olive.


Oil & Olive


  Olive and Olive Oil  Greeks were the first to cultivate the olive tree for its precious products, the olives and the olive oil. The Olive Tree, harmoniously tied with the Greek landscape and it’s inhabitants’ temperament, chiseled by the Mediterranean sun and the Aegean winds has served the Greek Spirit and Soul as an endless source of inspiration. A symbol of social and religious values, progress, peace, affluence, wisdom and fame. During the Minoan Era, olive oil served as the foundation of the Cretan economy. Evidence of this relationship can still be traced in the surviving artifacts in the palaces of the once mighty empire of Knossos. The goddess of wisdom, Athena, dedicated the olive tree to the city bearing her name, as a proof of her bond with the city. An olive branch was the golden medal awarded at the Ancient Olympic Games, since it was shaped in the form of a wreath and bestowed to the winners. Legend has it that the wreaths came from a tree planted by Hercules himself. Olive oil was called “liquid gold” by Homer, and the “Great healer” by Hippocrates. Today, in the shadow of great traditions and legends, Greece still relies on the olive tree. There are 120,000,000 olive trees in Greece or, to put things in perspective, 12 olive trees for every Greek citizen. Greece is the world’s third largest producer of edible olives and olive oil, with a 16% share of the international olive oil market. 450,000 families depend on olive oil production as a primary or secondary source of income. The olive tree serves both as a universal symbol of peace as well as a symbol of Greece. More importantly, it fed, bred and gave shed to countless generations of Greeks and earned its place as an integral part of Greek culture. Olives Nowadays, Greece produces about 120.000 tons of table olives per year. The table olive oil is one of the country’s most important agricultural exports. The harvest begins in October for table olives and continues for about two months, depending on the type of olive and the place it is cultivated. Green olives-essentially less ripe than their darker counterparts-are harvested first; next come all the plump black olives that are among the country’s best-known snacks: tight-skinned Kalamata olives with their pointy, nipple-like tip; juicy Amfissas in an array of browns, blacks and purples. Last to be plucked from the tree is the wrinkled black variety, which matures on the branch, can be harvested as late as March, and is cured in coarse salt not brine. In salads, olives are delicious matched with all sorts of vegetables, such as fresh ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and more. They are wonderful with vegetables preserved in brine or olive oil, such as roasted red peppers, pickled cauliflower, etc. Greeks use olives in some sauces, namely tomato-based sauces that are served over pasta. There are several breads and pies which call for olives. In some parts of the country, stews often include olives. One such dish comes from the Ionian island of Zakynthos, where potatoes are stewed with onions, tomatoes and black olives. On the mainland, olives are roasted and served as a meze, and in Crete, one of the most delicious preparations is for something called oftes elies-roasted olives. This process intensifies the flavor and aroma of the olive and makes for one of the best appetizers in all of Greek cooking.In the last few years, the olive has caught the imagination of contemporary chefs, so that in today’s Greek kitchen olives are everywhere: in the skillet and in the pan, in breads, pies, braised dishes, sauces, stuffings, dips and more.  Olive oil    Olive oil in Greece dates back 4000 years, but also has a significant present and promising future. It is globally acknowledged for its purity and exceptional taste and it is globally proposed as one of the features quality Greek products. It is the basis of all the Greek traditional recipes, thus proving its unique position within the Greek diet. Even today Greek olives are treated with the same care and tenderness they were treated with 2500 years ago. As in the past, olive keeping is still predominantly a family business. And because it’s a family business, each tree receives the same kind of personalized care and love that comes when people form an intimate bond with their object of work. Production is scattered all over the country, even though the Peloponnese and Crete account for over 65% of total production. The average annual olive oil production is 350,000 tons. Intensive cultivation, in combination with the climate and well-adjusted-to-the-Greek-soil varieties, contribute to the production of worldwide top quality olive oil. 80% of the Greek olive oil is extra virgin, which is the top-ranked classification category in the world. This constitutes Greece as the world’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil. Greek extra virgin olive oil’s superior quality is appreciated by the international trade, which is the reason why 150-200 thousand tons of our best olive oil are exported to Italy and Spain and sold at a premium price, in comparison to olive oils of other origins. At an international level, Greece enjoys the largest per capita consumption of olive oil, with the average Greek consuming more than 15 kilos annually. Spanish come in second place, with 11 kilos per capita consumption per year. Biological olive oils and olive oils of controlled origin are becoming a trend in the internal market, demonstrating a growth of more than 30% annually. Research shows that olive oil is the healthiest choice among other vegetable oils and thus it’s an integral part of a balanced diet. Olive oil contributes to the reduction of LDL cholesterol without affecting quantities of the HDL cholesterol. It protects from various diseases, and it reduces blood pressure. It reduces the chance of breast cancer by 45%, while it’s believed it may play role in reducing intestinal cancer as well. It protects against cell aging and strengthens memory. Also, it contributes to the health of the central nervous system and brain cells.  Quality classes   There are three classes of oil: Virgin, refined and seed-oil. Virgin olive oil It is deduced from pulping the fruit either through mechanical means or other natural treatments in conditions that do not alter the oil’s composition. These treatments are limited to washing, transfusion, centrifugation and filtering. In turn, virgin oils are classified according to their acidity. a) Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the top rated class, Free fat acids, expressed as olive acid, cannot exceed 0,8 g per 100 g. It is ideal for salads and sauces. b) In Virgin Olive Oil the free far acids, expressed as olive acid, cannot exceed 0,2 g per 100 g. It is ideal for cooked food and broiled meat. Refined-Virgin Olive Oil This class is a mix of refines and virgin olive oil. Free fat acids, expressed as olive acid cannot exceed 0,1 g per 100 g. Olive seed oil .This class is a mix of refined seed-oil and virgin oils. Free fat acids, expressed as olive acid cannot exceed 0,1 g per 100 g.

Olive Oil


Olive Oil


The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean basin. Wild olives were collected by Neolithic peoples as early as the 8th millennium BC. The wild olive tree originated in Asia Minor in ancient Greece.The olive tree and its products can be considered as a genuine part of the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean. Mythologyreligioncultural identity and the diet of the area is intertwined with the cultivation of the olive tree for more than 6.000 years.The olive tree lighted, nourished, healed, posed up and triggered high ideals and is inspiration for all the civilizationof the eastern Mediterranean.The olive tree is a blessed tree of the Mediterranean land. It lives and grows at rocky and infertile soils and it's fruits are  produced under adverse conditions of drought, strong winds and high temperatures.The longevity and productivity of this tree has characterized the history of Mediterranean residents.For the Greeks, the olive was connected with the social and economic life. Was directly related to culture, art, poetry, habits, manners and customs, tradition, religion. Tree was considered sacred and highly protected. Greece due to its advantageous location at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa-was the undisputed center of olive cultivation and olive oil production.Now days, extra-virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries.The percentage is far higher in the Mediterranean countries (Greece: 80%, Italy: 65%, Spain 30%).We all need to defend this valuable legacy and protect along with the olive tree the environment as well,  if we want to keep enjoying the treasures that natures provides us with. Olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, is a major component of the Mediterranean diet. Populations from that region have longer life expectancies and lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, compared with North Americans and Northern Europeans  Olive oil is a fat obtained from the fruit of the Olea europaea (olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean region, where whole olives are pressed to produce olive oil. Greece has the highest olive oil intake per person in the world. Greeks consume, on average, 24 liters per-person-per-year, according to the North American Olive Oil Association1. Spaniards and Italians consume about 15 and 13 liters-per-person-per year, respectively. The study found that people who regularly consume olive oil are much less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, and hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels). Olive oil helps prevent stroke. Olive oil helps prevent stroke. Olive oil may reduce breast cancer risk. Olive oil helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Extra virgin olive oil protects against Alzheimer’s disease. Extra virgin olive oil helps prevent acute pancreatitis. Extra virgin olive oil protects the liver. Olive oil protects from ulcerative colitis

The absolute good for the human body.


Olive paste


Olive Paste


Tapenade can be used as an appetizer, served with crackers, crusty bread or crudités. It can also be used as a condiment. Tapenade is also used in preparation of fish dishes.   Olive paste is a smooth puree made from ground olives. There are a wide range of uses for this condiment, and it is a frequent feature in Mediterranean kitchens as a result. Many delis and markets carry it, and it is also possible to make it at home. Cooks who make their own can control the ingredients to create a specific desired flavor, and they can also ensure that it is as fresh as possible, since it can get acrid and bitter if allowed to sit too long. To make olive paste, olives are pitted and then ground up. Although any type of olive can be made into paste, brined varieties tend to be favored. A small amount of olive oil is usually added to lubricate the paste as it is ground, and to strengthen the olive flavor. The paste can also be blended with herbs, and many people add garlic for a spicy flavor; garlic also happens to be a good preservative. Shoppers may find packaged versions with other brined or pickled ingredients, which can transform it into a hot or sweet dish, depending on the elements used. Many regions have their own version of olive paste, like olivada and tapenade. It is often taken on picnics and used as a spread, pairing well with a number of breads. This puree can also be laid out on a buffet, paired with crackers, breads, or even vegetables and used as a dip. It can inject a rich olive taste into stocks and sauces, and it may be used as a garnish on some foods as well. As a general rule, this puree is best when it has been allowed to mellow and marinate for around 24 hours. This allows the flavors to mingle, creating a smoothly blended flavor. If it sits too long, however, it can start to get bitter or acidic, developing strange and unpleasant flavors. Canned products are usually pasteurized and stabilized to prevent this.  The pastes can come in quite an array of flavors, so it's a good idea for shoppers to know what they are getting into, as no one wants to be unpleasantly surprised by the flavors. If it isn't possible to taste it first, consumers should read the package and try to use the ingredients to gauge whether it will be sweet, spicy, or strongly herbal. This product goes especially well with a wide array of cheeses.


History of Greek Honey


History of Greek Honey


Greece’s honey history is interesting, and it is no wonder that Greek honey is referred to even today as ” The nectar Of The Gods”… . Ancient history shows that the Greek people used honey not only as a food, but as a source to ensure good health as well as to treat many health problems. It was “Hippocrates The father of medicine” (Hippocrates was a Greek physician 370 BC -460 BC) that stated. ” “Honey and pollen cause warmth, clean sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of lips, heal carbuncles and running sores.”Perhaps you were fortunate enough to visit Greece, and had the pleasure of sampling Greek honey… Honey from Greece is considered to be perhaps the best honey in the world. If is used in beauty treatments in the finest spas around the world, and used in preparation of recipes by top chefs. One might ask – “why is Greek honey so superior to other countries honey? It’s the weather, the wonderful climate in Greece, the as summer sun, and rich soil that is perfect for growing flowers, and herbs. The Greece countryside with the endless summer sunny days, plus the rich variety of Greek flowers. Greece has 900 plus species of flowers, and over 7,000 herbs. This abundance flowers and herbs gives honeybees the perfect place to set up hives, and keep those hives over flowing with the best honey in the world. Honey has the largest mythological tradition in all the histories in the world Records show King Solomon (circa 970 to 931 BC) had a prominent part in honeys history of Greece. His part is conclusively proven by mythology ancient documentation. “Ambrosia” ( mythological term for honey), was known to be the food, and nectar, of the gods.

History and why Honey has been valued by the Greeks:The history and use of Greek honey is impressive. Since ancient times honey, has been used both as a food and a source of medicinal therapy.  Some of the legendary greats of Greece such as the “Father of Medicine”, Hippocrates, wrote, "Honey and pollen cause warmth, clean sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of lips, heal carbuncles and running sores."  Aristotle, philosopher and student of Socrates, believed that honey prolonged life. There was “honey therapy” used at the most famed health spa in ancient times , the Asklepieion.FUN HONEY FACTS: In Greek “Mele” is the word for honey…. And “Melissa” is the word for honey bee. It takes the lifetime of 12 bees to make one teaspoon of honey!  Greece has a plethora of myths starting with a pretty strong case for honey… ‘It was the food of the Gods of Olympus known as “Ambrosia”. Greek honey has specific physical and chemical characteristics.  Ultimately, the Greek honey produced is unique in color, aroma, taste and thickness. Honey has the largest mythological tradition in all the histories in the world.  Greece is where the art of beekeeping (apiculture) started in early prehistoric times. Honey and the collection of honey was so prolific in Greece that you can find more than “40 ancient names” for honey containers and innumerable references to honey throughout ancient Greek history.  In the 5th century BC and later, archaeological evidence shows that bees were kept in ceramic beehives—(large pottery jars) in which the interior had been incised before firing to provide a rough surface for the bees to attach the combs. The world’s first cook book comes from Greece). Even today, loukamades (honey puff balls), melamacarano (Xmas honey macaroon cookie), sesame and honey bars  are all made with honey and are a staple handed down through the millennia! Greek mythology tells us that Zeus, was raised on honey. Many beekeepers harvest by hand using the ancient traditional methods from late spring until late autumn. The honey is extracted cold and is unfiltered to ensure the many health beneficial properties of the nectar Honey was the first sweetener used by the Greeks in their diet for the preparation of sweets and delicacies which made honey very popular in ancient Greece.  Honey, grapes, and olives formed the beginning of Greek gastronomy. You may see raw, pure Greek unprocessed honey crystallize (become somewhat solid). This is natural with raw unfiltered honey (Simply place the jar in a bowl of warm water and the crystals will melt into the golden liquid you associate with honey).Health Benefits from Honey:  Ikaria Honey The unique mixture of ingredients of Greek honey is good for preventing fatigue and enhancing athletic performance. Greek honey in particular boasts high vitamin, enzyme, amino acid and mineral content.Studies show that honey is one of the easiest foods to digest and is known for its cancer-fighting properties (rich in phenolic compounds), aids in the prevention of osteoporosis and breast cancer (oestrogenic properties), and contains anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal substances. It’s  the only food in the world that has everything human needs. It will not spoil and never goes bad.  Four Thousand (4,000) year old tombs have been found to contain fresh edible honey in sealed containers. Honey also has been used for millennium as a therapeutic solution to health problems. Dr. and proprietor, Dr Galen, (second in history only to Hippocrates), of the ancient worlds largest “health healing spa in Pergamon,  was known to have done honey therapy. Honey is a good source of antioxidants and research shows that consuming more anti-oxidant rich foods may help protect against cellular damage.Honey has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for sore throats and coughs, and according to recent research may in fact be more effective than some common medicines. Mixed with lemon juice and consumed slowly, honey coats the throat and alleviates discomfort. Honey can also be used as an effective anti-microbial agent to treat minor burns, cuts and other bacterial infections.


Bottarga


Bottarga


A Taste with… History. Avgotaraho has been considered a delicacy since the era of the Pharaohs and it was an important element in the Ancient Greek diet. Its value was also known in Byzantine times, while nowadays it occupies a prominent place among gourmet products . A delicacy of cured Grey Mullet Roe. Natural without preservatives, with high nutritional value and a pleasant long-lasting aftertaste . Produced exclusively from Grey Mullet Roe, recognized as the best roe for Avgotaraho production.Standardized production techniques properly balance the salting and drying processes to deliver higher moisture and lower sodium in the final product. It is coated by natural bee’s wax, which sufficiently preserves the product and its delicate taste during its shelf life, despite the low sodium content. It constitutes a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reinforce body health by acting positively on the cardiovascular system and by strengthening the immune system.  It provides the body with energy and its anti-thrombotic properties have the potential to shield the immune system in a natural way against heart disease. It is full of balanced proteins, good fats, considerable amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant Vitamins C and E, plus it contains Zinc and Selenium. Moreover, it helps improve physical and mental performance and well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to human health, are not produced by the body and must be therefore be obtained from food. Botargo does not contain any preservatives, additives, dyes or artificial coloring agents. It is particularly suitable for athletes and children because of the high concentration of the proteins, Omega-3 fatty acids and selenium it contains.


GREEK HERBS AND SPICES


Greek Herbs And Spices 


In ancient Greece where Hippocrates (460-370 before Christ), the father of medicine lived, the use and implement of herbs from the Greek countryside was the base of medical science. The herbs were considered as magic, and up to this date they are widely used throughout Greece as a supplement to standard medicine. Greece is famous for its unique herbs and spices so it is not surprising that Greek cuisine is all about herbs - their fragrance permeates every island. Herbs grow so profusely in Greece that you cannot avoid crushing them underfoot as you walk. They grow as a wild carpet of the forests, scrublands and mountains in most islands and many people pick what they need from these shrubby native plants and grow their own pots of vital herbs like basil, thyme, oregano and mint on windowsills, patios and terraces. The Greek cook does not have to shell out exorbitant amounts of money for a handful of pre-packaged supermarket herbs that are far from fresh!The excellent quality of Greek herbs and spices reflects the country’s long periods of sunshine and the different kinds of landscape. This special landscape makes Greek flora so rich, that from the 7500 different species of plants growing in Greece, 850 of them are only found there. Some of the best herbs grow there naturally - herbs like chamomile; Mountain Tea; tilio (infusion of lime leaves), sage, thyme, oregano and basil are chosen above others by some of the celebrity chefs across Europe. The number of herbs and spice-producing plants that grow naturally in Greece is quite unbelievable. Generations of Greek cooks have focused on many that have now become essentials of traditional Greek cooking. However, recent years have seen an increase in exported herbs and spices, some of which have become immediately popular, while others less so. Herbs and spices can be found fresh and dried, flaked and whole, as leaves and stems, as seeds, in pods, and other variations.


Jewelry


Jewelry


Even before the arrival of metallurgy to the Greece and surrounding areas, these territories produced constant stream of simple stone, clay and bone decoration items. After the arrival of Bronze Age, Greeks began creating more and more complicated designs eventually producing jewelry that reflected the wealth and power of nobility and rulers. Jewelry in ancient Greece was viewed as a symbol of power, social status, ward against evil, celebration of the gods and was most often used by female members of wealthy class. Even though they received techniques for making gold items from the nearby kingdoms of Egypt and Mesopotamia around 3 thousand years ago, they managed to retain they unique style that was remain unchanged in the centuries that followed. Different types of jewelry were produced in the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece-Necklaces, earrings, pendants, pins, bracelets, armbands, thigh bands, finger rings, wreaths, diadems, and other elaborate hair ornaments. Bracelets were often worn in pairs or in matched sets. Pieces were usually inlaid with pearls and dazzling gems or semiprecious stones-emeralds, garnets, carnelians, banded agates, sardonyx, chalcedony, and rock crystal. Artists also incorporated colorful enamel inlays that dramatically contrasted with their intricate gold settings.  Elaborate subsidiary ornamentation drew plant and animal motifs, or the relation between adornment and the goddess, Aphrodite, and her son, Eros. Popular designs for earrings included; Airborne winged figures, such as Eros, Nike, and the eagle of Zeus carrying Ganymede up to Mount Olympus. In Hellenistic times, jewelry was often passed down through generation. Occasionally, it was dedicated at sanctuaries as offerings to the gods. There are records of headdresses, necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches, and pins in temple and treasury inventories, as, for example, at Delos. Hoards of Hellenistic jewelry that were buried for safekeeping in antiquity have also come to light. Some of the best-preserved samples come from tombs where jewelry was usually placed on the body of the deceased. Some of these pieces were made specifically for interment; however, most were worn during life.


Cosmetics


Cosmetics


Caring for the body and striving to make it more attractive is as old as human civilization. The word ''cosmetic'' comes from the Greek word ''kosmetikos,'' meaning a sense of harmony, order and tranquility. Not surprisingly, most beauty products in ancient Greece were made from ingredients found in their natural environment. However, ancient Greeks also used harsh substances to achieve a pale complexion, which was then fashionable. In ancient Greece, olive oil became a staple for daily personal hygiene and body care. Especially for women, it was used as a beautifying skin cleanser, after-bath moisturizer and personal lubricant. Greek men rubbed olive oil on their bodies before exercising in the gymnasium or going into battle.The use of honey as a cosmetic in ancient Greece dates all the way back to 5000 BC, when skin care was based on bee products, goat's milk, flowers, herbs and olive oil. Minoan women enjoyed honey and milk baths as part of their nightly beauty regimen. Today, honey is still a major ingredient in contemporary Greek beauty products. Ancient Greek women made up their faces with a cosmetic foundation called fucus, made from powdered chalk and white lead. That's right, lead, the same element now known to be hazardous to human health. This sooty, black substance, usually made from sticks of charred wood, proved useful as eye makeup. Similar to the Egyptians, ancient Greek women defined and emphasized their eyes by staining them with black powders.Many herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruits indigenous to Greece found their way into ancient cosmetics. Roses, anemones, mulberries, lotus flowers, marigolds, lavender and chamomile are just a few examples. The ancient Greeks were also known to create beauty products from natural pigments, plant roots, red wine and mastic, an aromatic resin. Red vegetable dyes, such as beetroot, were especially common to give a flourishing, rose-pink hue to the lips and cheeks.


History of Soaps.

History of Soaps


In 2800 B.C. archeologist found A soap-like material in clay cylinders during an excavation of ancient Babylonian site. Early Greeks cleaned their bodies with blocks of clay, sand, pumice and ashes. They anointed themselves with oil, and scraped off the oil and dirt with a metal instrument known as a strigil.   According to an ancient Roman legend, Soap got its name, from Mount Sapo, a place where animals were sacrificed. A mixture of melted tallow (otherwise known as animal fat), and wood ashes were washed down by the rain into the clay soil along the Tiber River. People found that this clay mixture made their clothing and bodies cleaner with much less effort. As Roman civilization advanced, so did bathing. In 312 B.C., the first of the famous Roman baths were supplied with water from their aqueducts. Roman citizens enjoyed the luxurious baths so much that bathing soon became very popular. By the second century A.D., Galen, a Greek Physician, recommended soap for both medicinal and cleansing purposes. After the fall of Rome there was a decline in bathing and much of Europe felt the impact. The lack of sanitary living conditions contributed heavily to the great plagues of the middle Ages, and also the Black Death of the 14th century. It wasn’t until the 17th century that bathing began to make a comeback and became fashionable. Soap making became a guarded craft in which merchants protected their recipes closely. Their recipes contained vegetable and animal oils mixed with ashes and fragrant oils from plants. Gradually more varieties of soap became available for shaving and shampooing, as well as bathing and laundering. Elsewhere in the world, bathing daily became a common custom in Japan. In Iceland, pools warmed with water from hot springs were popular social gatherings. Italy, Spain and France’s readily supply of olive oil made early soapmaking possible. England began making soap during the 12th century and in 1622 King James I granted a monopoly to a soapmaker for $100,000 a year. Soap was heavily taxed as a luxury item in several countries well into the 19th century. When taxes were lowered, soap became available to ordinary people, improving standards of cleanliness. Soap commercialized in the America in 1608 with the arrival of several English merchants to Jamestown, VA. However, soap making stayed essentially a household chore for many years. Eventually, professional soap makers began regularly collecting waste fats from households, in exchange for soap. The Ebers Papyrus, a medical document from about 1500 B.C., describes combining animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to form a soap-like material was used for treating skin diseases, as well as for washing. In 1791 when a French chemist named Nicholas Leblanc patented a process for making soda ash, or sodium carbonate, from common salt. Soda ash is the alkali obtained from ashes that combines with fat to form soap. The Leblanc process yielded quantities of good quality, inexpensive soda ash, which was a key in jump starting the commercial soap industry. Twenty years later another French chemist named Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered the chemical nature and relationship of fats, glycerin and fatty acids. His studies established the basis for both fat and soap chemistry. Eventually, in the mid-1800s the Belgian chemist, Ernest Solvay, invented the ammonia process, which used common table salt, or sodium chloride, to make soda ash. Solvay’s process further reduced the cost of alkali, and increased both the quality and quantity of the soda ash available for manufacturing soap. These discoveries combined with the invention of electricity allowed this industry to become much more productive. When soap converted from a luxury to a necessity, many new type of soap developed including mild bath soaps, soaps for washing clothes, and other household chores. The first synthetic detergent was developed in Germany due to shortages of waste fats during World War I. Synthetic detergents, known as Cascade, etc. today are non-soap washing and cleaning products that are “synthesized” or put together chemically from a variety of raw materials. Household detergent production took off in the United States after World War II due to the war-time interruption of fat and oil supplies and the military’s need for a cleaning agent that would work in mineral-rich sea water. Then by 1953, sales of detergents in this country had surpassed those of soap. Now with the new fun and artistic methods we use, soap is not only for function but, for fashion, fragrance, and aromatic benefits. Therefore, art and aromatic soaps began in the 1900’s and are here to stay


Ceramics & Replicas


Ceramics & Replicas (Return)


The arts of ancient Greece have exercised an huge influence on the culture of many countries all over the world, particularly in the areas of sculpture and architecture. The art of Ancient Greece is usually divided stylistically into four periods: the Geometric, Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic. The Ancient Greeks made pottery for everyday use, not for display; the trophies won at games, such as the Panathenaic Amphorae (wine decanters), are the exception. Most surviving pottery consists of drinking vessels such as amphorae, kraters (bowls for mixing wine and water), hydria (water jars), libation bowls, jugs and cups. Painted funeral urns have also been found. Miniatures were also produced in large numbers, mainly for use as offerings at temples. Especially during the Geometric and Archaic phases, the production of large metal vessels was an important expression of Greek creativity, and an important stage in the development of bronzeworking techniques, such as casting and repousse hammering. Clay is a material frequently used for the making of votive statuettes or idols, since well before Minoan civilization until the Hellenistic era and beyond. Figurines made of metal, primarily bronze, are an extremely common find at early Greek sanctuaries.   Ancient Greek sculptures were mostly made of two types of material. Stone, especially marble or other high-quality limestones was used most frequently and carved by hand with metal tools. Stone sculptures could be free-standing fully carved in the round (statues), or only partially carved reliefs still attached to a background plaque, for example in architectural friezes or grave stelai. Bronze statues were of higher status, but have survived in far smaller numbers, due to the reusability of metals. They were usually made in the lost wax technique. Chryselephantine, or gold-and-ivory, statues often adorned temples and were regarded as the highest form of sculpture, but virtually none have survived. Terracotta was occasionally employed, for large statuary. Few examples of this survived, at least partially due to the fragility of such statues. The best known exception to this is a statue of Zeus carrying Ganymede found at Olympia, executed around 470 BC. In this case, the terracotta is painted. Coins were invented in Lydia in the 7th century BC, but they were first extensively used by the Greeks, and the Greeks set the canon of coin design which has been followed ever since. Coin design today still recognisably follows patterns descended from Ancient Greece.


Ancient Greek Game & Toys .


Ancient Greek Game & Toys . (Return)


Just like children of today, children in ancient Greece loved to play with a variety of toys. Archaeologists have uncovered all sorts of toys at sites in Greece. One popular toy was knucklebones.  These were made from the ankles of sheep and goats.  Players threw knucklebones like dice and often carried them around in their own pouch.  Knucklebones were popular toys because they were cheap. Almost all children could get them. They may sound gross to modern-day children (or adults!), but children in ancient Greece loved them. Many of the toys that Greek children enjoyed were similar to toys of today. They played with rattles, tops, and pull toys.  The yo-yo, or something close to it, may have been created in Greece.  It was made out of two terra cotta discs and was simply called a disc. Like today, there were also toys meant just for girls and others meant just for boys. Boys often played with toy chariots, and girls usually played with dolls.  Some dolls from ancient Greece even had moving arms and legs! Some dolls were made from ivory and glass, but most were made from terra cotta. Some were even made with human hair! Others were made of rags, clay or wax. Some had holes in the top of their heads for a string. We can’t be sure, but maybe the string was used to make the dolls move and dance! Some of these dolls may have been used in religious rituals as well.  When a young woman was about to be married, she would offer her dolls to the goddess who protected her in her childhood. This was usually the goddess Artemis.


istoria elias

OIL & OLIVES (Continue Reader)

  Olive and Olive Oil  Greeks were the first to cultivate the olive tree for its precious products, the olives and the olive oil. The Olive Tree, harmoniously tied with the Greek landscape and it’s inhabitants’ temperament, chiseled by the Mediterranean sun and the Aegean winds has served the Greek Spirit and Soul as an endless source of inspiration. A symbol of social and religious values, progress, peace, affluence, wisdom and fame. During the Minoan Era, olive oil served as the foundation of the Cretan economy. Evidence of this relationship can still be traced in the surviving artifacts in the palaces of the once mighty empire of Knossos. The goddess of wisdom, Athena, dedicated the olive tree to the city bearing her name, as a proof of her bond with the city. An olive branch was the golden medal awarded at the Ancient Olympic Games, since it was shaped in the form of a wreath and bestowed to the winners. Legend has it that the wreaths came from a tree planted by Hercules himself. Olive oil was called “liquid gold” by Homer, and the “Great healer” by HippocratesOIL & OLIVES (Continue Reading)Today, in the shadow of great traditions and legends, Greece still relies on the olive tree. There are 120,000,000 olive trees in Greece or, to put things in perspective, 12 olive trees for every Greek citizen. Greece is the world’s third largest producer of edible olives and olive oil, with a 16% share of the international olive oil market. 450,000 families depend on olive oil production as a primary or secondary source of income. The olive tree serves both as a universal symbol of peace as well as a symbol of Greece. More importantly, it fed, bred and gave shed to countless generations of Greeks and earned its place as an integral part of Greek culture. Olives Nowadays, Greece produces about 120.000 tons of table olives per year. The table olive oil is one of the country’s most important agricultural exports. The harvest begins in October for table olives and continues for about two months, depending on the type of olive and the place it is cultivated. Green olives-essentially less ripe than their darker counterparts-are harvested first; next come all the plump black olives that are among the country’s best-known snacks: tight-skinned Kalamata olives with their pointy, nipple-like tip; juicy Amfissas in an array of browns, blacks and purples. Last to be plucked from the tree is the wrinkled black variety, which matures on the branch, can be harvested as late as March, and is cured in coarse salt not brine. In salads, olives are delicious matched with all sorts of vegetables, such as fresh ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and more. They are wonderful with vegetables preserved in brine or olive oil, such as roasted red peppers, pickled cauliflower, etc. Greeks use olives in some sauces, namely tomato-based sauces that are served over pasta. There are several breads and pies which call for olives. In some parts of the country, stews often include olives. One such dish comes from the Ionian island of Zakynthos, where potatoes are stewed with onions, tomatoes and black olives. On the mainland, olives are roasted and served as a meze, and in Crete, one of the most delicious preparations is for something called oftes elies-roasted olives. This process intensifies the flavor and aroma of the olive and makes for one of the best appetizers in all of Greek cooking.In the last few years, the olive has caught the imagination of contemporary chefs, so that in today’s Greek kitchen olives are everywhere: in the skillet and in the pan, in breads, pies, braised dishes, sauces, stuffings, dips and more.  Olive oil    Olive oil in Greece dates back 4000 years, but also has a significant present and promising future. It is globally acknowledged for its purity and exceptional taste and it is globally proposed as one of the features quality Greek products. It is the basis of all the Greek traditional recipes, thus proving its unique position within the Greek diet. Even today Greek olives are treated with the same care and tenderness they were treated with 2500 years ago. As in the past, olive keeping is still predominantly a family business. And because it’s a family business, each tree receives the same kind of personalized care and love that comes when people form an intimate bond with their object of work. Production is scattered all over the country, even though the Peloponnese and Crete account for over 65% of total production. The average annual olive oil production is 350,000 tons. Intensive cultivation, in combination with the climate and well-adjusted-to-the-Greek-soil varieties, contribute to the production of worldwide top quality olive oil. 80% of the Greek olive oil is extra virgin, which is the top-ranked classification category in the world. This constitutes Greece as the world’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil. Greek extra virgin olive oil’s superior quality is appreciated by the international trade, which is the reason why 150-200 thousand tons of our best olive oil are exported to Italy and Spain and sold at a premium price, in comparison to olive oils of other origins. At an international level, Greece enjoys the largest per capita consumption of olive oil, with the average Greek consuming more than 15 kilos annually. Spanish come in second place, with 11 kilos per capita consumption per year. Biological olive oils and olive oils of controlled origin are becoming a trend in the internal market, demonstrating a growth of more than 30% annually. Research shows that olive oil is the healthiest choice among other vegetable oils and thus it’s an integral part of a balanced diet. Olive oil contributes to the reduction of LDL cholesterol without affecting quantities of the HDL cholesterol. It protects from various diseases, and it reduces blood pressure. It reduces the chance of breast cancer by 45%, while it’s believed it may play role in reducing intestinal cancer as well. It protects against cell aging and strengthens memory. Also, it contributes to the health of the central nervous system and brain cells.  Quality classes   There are three classes of oil: Virgin, refined and seed-oil. Virgin olive oil It is deduced from pulping the fruit either through mechanical means or other natural treatments in conditions that do not alter the oil’s composition. These treatments are limited to washing, transfusion, centrifugation and filtering. In turn, virgin oils are classified according to their acidity. a) Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the top rated class, Free fat acids, expressed as olive acid, cannot exceed 0,8 g per 100 g. It is ideal for salads and sauces. b) In Virgin Olive Oil the free far acids, expressed as olive acid, cannot exceed 0,2 g per 100 g. It is ideal for cooked food and broiled meat. Refined-Virgin Olive Oil This class is a mix of refines and virgin olive oil. Free fat acids, expressed as olive acid cannot exceed 0,1 g per 100 g. Olive seed oil .This class is a mix of refined seed-oil and virgin oils. Free fat acids, expressed as olive acid cannot exceed 0,1 g per 100 g.

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