Gastronomic Conference “Halkidiki Treats”, Halkidiki Chamber, May 2023, Organized by: Chef Stories

Another significant event was successfully organized as part of the TASTE HALKIDIKI program, on behalf of Halkidiki Chamber titled “Halkidiki Treats – The Delicacies of Halkidiki”.

This initiative serves as a new tool and weapon in the hands of people in the food industry, hospitality, commerce, and all those who want Halkidiki to acquire its own gastronomic identity. The aim of the event is to offer to restaurants and beyond, the main products of the region, namely Halkidiki green olives, olive oil, and honey, as a welcome and farewell treat, but also as a sample of warm Greek hospitality. The Halkidiki Chamber aims for all products of the region to gradually join this initiative and to give it even greater momentum, with the cooperation of the Halkidiki Tourism Organization and its presentation at international exhibitions.

For this event, we designed a special logo and organized a gastronomic conference at the Conference Center of Halkidiki Chamber on May 10, 2023. In a game of knowledge, flavors, and experiences, participating producers and food industry entrepreneurs attentively followed the event.

In the first section, we presented the identity and dynamics of the project, as well as the value of adopting the “I am an ambassador of my place” mentality.

In the second section, invited experts made presentations on the main products of Halkidiki as part of the scientific substantiation of their value. First, Odysseas Vlachavas, Olive Oil Expert, presented the olive oil of Halkidiki, referring to the various stages of its processing from harvesting the fruit to packaging and branding. He also mentioned its nutritional value and its taste recognition.

The second speaker of the session, Mr. Kostas Tertivanidis, an agronomist with a master’s and doctoral degree in Genetics and Biotechnology of Plants, General Director of Agricultural Economy and Veterinary Medicine in the Region of Central Macedonia, gave a particularly interesting presentation on olives, their varieties, taste analysis, as well as the peculiarities of the product by region and type.

Ms. Fani Chatzina, a biologist with a doctoral degree in pollination, a researcher at the Beekeeping Department of ELGO ‘DIMITRA’ since 2000, and Director of the Institute of Animal Science Production and Beekeeping Department, referred to the basic value of bees, not only as honey producers but also as pollinators. She discussed how this unique insect produces honey, as well as the paradoxes that many claim regarding honey as an animal product, due to insufficient knowledge.

Subsequently, in the experiential section, participants had the opportunity to participate in the tasting of the three main products of Halkidiki. Olive oil by Odysseas Vlachavas, olives by Mr. Kostas Tertivanidis, and honey by Smaragda Makri, owner of Marmita Cooking Workshop and graduate Sensory Honey Analyst. She presented three different types of honey and a crystallized one, analyzing the basic process of aroma and taste recognition.

The satisfaction of the participants was great for the particularly interesting presentations, the opportunity to meet fellow citizens, entrepreneurs, and to participate in such a lively and experiential event.

For the start of the initiative, Halkidiki Chamber secured significant quantities of olives for restaurants, sponsored by Halkidiki producers. Additionally, promotional material (posters, table-tents) was provided to restaurants for informing customers at the points where the products were placed.