What the Minoans ate

In Crete, tasting dishes cooked in ancient stone ovens, amphorae and terracotta jars

13-08-2013

Lentils cooked in amphorae, Octopus cooked in beer with grape molasses, Cuttlefish in white wine vinegar. These are dishes from the ancient Minoan civilization (2700-1450 B.C.), disinterred on the beach of the Blue Palace hotel in Elounda, on the island of Crete, in Greece. This is Minoan Tastes, an interesting event which will take place until October

Rediscovering the dishes of the ancient Minoan civilization, learning the cooking techniques used 3 thousand years ago, tasting Greek cuisine specialties starting from products which, in ancient times, were the foundations of the current Mediterranean diet: you can experience all this, throughout the summer and until the end of October, on the island of Crete, in Elounda, thanks to Minoan Tastes, an event organised on the beach of the Blue Palace hotel. Minoan Tastes is created by a group of chefs and culinary experts (among them Jerolyn Morrison, Stefi Chlouveraki and Jad Alyounis), who had the idea of discovering ancient recipes and cooking techniques that go back to the age of Minos, and to present them as an event or an itinerant catering.

Therefore, on the beach in front of the island of Spinalonga, throughout the whole day, you can observe the setting of a true open-air-kitchen with ancient stone ovens, terracotta and ceramic amphorae and jars (these are later put underground, thus allowing, in the case of the lamb, a slow cooking, lasting even five hours), and taste the dishes that are the result of a long research and of the experiments undertaken by the team, which allowed them to create a menu based on the ingredients that in the past centuries were essential, on Crete, for the daily nourishment.

When the time for aperitif comes, Minoan Tastes allows guests to experience the final steps of the cooking, and, later, to sit comfortably at the tables of the Blue Door traditional Greek taverna, enjoying a surprising menu dedicated to Minoan flavours. Everything starts, in this case, with the bread (a sort of pita) enriched with the aroma of local herbs, but soon the Lentils cooked in amphorae, with leeks of the season, coriander seeds and extra virgin olive oil arrive, followed by Octopus cooked in beer and grape molasses, and Cuttlefish in white wine vinegar, sweetened with honey (which is very abundant on the island of Crete). The strong point, however, is the Lamb cooked in terracotta, which is also paired with a honey sauce. To finish the dinner, there’s Grilled tuna with baby spinach and sesame seeds and a fruit cake.

Minoan Tastes is a fun experience, halfway between archaeology, history and cooking, which leaves you lots of details regarding the traditions of Crete, the richness and variety of its products and even the style of eating food, while sitting around the table with the family, happily together. It is an original journey into the past which, moreover, highlights the attention of the Blue Palace hotel for good food. It’s not a coincidence that the hotel’s four restaurants are all of very high quality, from the Flame steakhouse (for meat and local vegetables) to the typically Greek Blue Door, from Isola (for good Italian cuisine) to Asia Blue, dedicated to sushi and Thai-style enthusiasts.


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