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Monday, 10 November 2014

New Greece, new food

Food is more interesting than ever these days in our house. This is because of the range of foods I can buy from the local food stores, that allow me to cook a greater variety of meals. There are new food products on the shelves, as well as better quality food products. As the economic crisis gives way to a re-examination of values and a new lifestyle, people look more for quality in their purchases rather than just for the cheapest price, as a report from today's news suggests.

The products on the supermarket shelves these days suggest innovation:
Olive sweets, prickly pear jam, aloe spread, carob spread, chocolate-strawberry spread, olive marmalade, apple marmalade - a result of post-crisis creativity, or was this the direction we were heading for in the gloabl world? 

They also suggest creativity:
Mnay butchers now stock a variety of in-house processed meats. I recently bought some of the pork rolls (7.90 euro/kilo) for a Sunday meal. 

One my favorite 'new' foods is the growing of fresh produce that we used to import, at high prices, with a significant loss of quality and taste:
Fresh raspberries, grown in Hania - only 20 food miles away from me!

Some new products are a symbol of free trade:
This packet of ground Humalayan salt cost a mere 1 euro. It is just one of a new range of weird and wonderful salt varieites available to the average Cretan who is WTP (willing-to-pay). This salt was available at INKA, but I also saw coarse pink Himalyan salt selling for 3.59 for a little vial, black Cyprus salt, smoked Cyprus salt, red salt from Hawaii and grey salt from Brittany, all selling for 3-4 euro a small jar, all at AB! (Do people really use this stuff in Crete?! and why?!?!?!)

During our trip to London, we bought some supermarket curries which I froze on arrival back home. To my surprise, I needn't have made the effort, as the kind of ready meals (in frozen form, rather than on the cold refrigerated shelves) are now also available in Hania!
Chicken tikka masala from LIDL in Hania (top) and Sainsbury's in London.

There are also some newies which don't quite fit into life in Hania:
Halloween is not celebrated in Greece, but LIDL seems to think otherwise (pumpkin features a lot in this food).

And how about some new uses for old things?
#changinggreece blue rose rice grown in Greece: the white writing in the bottom red line reads 'for sushi and leaf parcels'. Some of you may remember the (well before the crisis) days when this commercial for mayonnaise was being shown: 

'Whatcha doin' there Christina?' the ad begins. "I'm opening seaweed (a take on the Greek phrase 'opening filo', which means rolling out pastry) for the children in Athens - they only eat it from my own hands'. The point made in the ad was since Hellmans sells prepared salads, we have more time to do other things in the kitchen. 

How all these novelties will shape the Mediterranean diet is anyone's guess. But if the Mediterranean diet is seen as a lifestyle rather than just a food regime, then there is a place for all of them. 

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