October 2005 Newsletter
 This Month 
Watch Your Manners in Greece (Part III) Special Feature : Mastic 
What's New!!!! Featured Destination: Hydra 
Saint Namedays in October. October Recipe.
Suggestions & Comments. Subscription Information.
October's Recipe:
Beef Braised with Onions, Honey, and Bay Leaf



  


Makes 6 to 8 servings
 
Ingredients:
2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 3-inch squares
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter as needed
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin oil to taste
Salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 cups dry white wine
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons honey, preferably Greek thyme honey

Preparation:
 
1. Rinse and pat dru the meat.  Set aside.

2. Heat the butter in a large, wide pot over low heat and cook the onions until they wilt, or 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3. Add the oil to the pot, increase the heat to high, and brown the meat, turning so as to color on all sides.  Add the onions back to the pot, season with salt, and stir to combine.  Add the peppercorns, wine and bay leaf.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to very low and let the meat simmer slowly for about 2 and half hours.  Add water during cooking as needed to keep the contents of the pot moist.  By the end of the cooking, the meat and its sauce will have turned a luscious deep dark brown and the pan juices will thicken considerably.  Remove and serve. 

 
"The meat in this dish turns a deep dark brown because of the honey that caramelized in the pot.  It's a lovely meze.  Try serving it spooned onto endive, radicchio, or Bibb lettuce leaves.  It's a perfect match for some of the blended red wines that Greece is now producing."
 

Excerpts from: "MEZE", by Diane Kochilas


Are you missing some pices and incredients for your recipe?

 
Watch Your Manners In Greece
Engagement and Marriage (Part III)

Continued from September's Issue...

- On leaving the church, relatives or friends hand guests a reminiscent gift (sugared almonds wrapped in a veil cloth).

- According to custom, young unmarried women place these almonds underneath their pillow that night so they may dream of their future husband.

- Since the wedding, from legal point of view, is a civil pact, the couple must sign certain documents in order to receive the wedding certificate.

- The bride's bouquet was initially a small bunch of herbs, which served to keep all evil spirits away.

- Interestingly, as nowadays the amount of money spent on the wedding ceremony decreases, the cost of the reception increases.

- Traditionally, wedding ceremonies used to take place at the bride's paternal house. This tradition, of course, began at a time when brides used to live with their parents until their wedding day.

- If the reception takes place at the house of either of the couple's parents, they should refrain from sleeping there as it is considered bad luck. They should opt for a hotel or their own new home.

- Wedding receptions began in the Middle Ages when the groom had to prove that he could sustain his wife; consequently he offered her family presents, food and drinks.

- Nowadays, wedding receptions may take place in hotels, country estates or at a friend's or a relative's house.

- During the reception a couple may wish to choose either a contemporary or classical song for their first dance, or they may opt for a traditional folkloric Greek song.

- The cutting of the wedding cake ensures a fertile marriage. Cake is offered not just to friends and relatives, but also to each member of the staff who helped during the reception.

- In some areas of Greece (especially Crete), there is a tradition of gun firing during receptions (an indication of unrestrained joy!); however, due to some unfortunate accidents in the past, this is not advisable.

- Not anyone can get married: there are some legal issues concerning marriage in Greece. The age of consent is 18. If someone younger wishes to marry, then parental permission is necessary.

- Couples who are closely related by blood or adoption are not allowed to marry each other.

- Traditionally, a wedding day is dedicated to the bride. This means that she is the one who usually chooses the religion and type of ceremony.

- If the couple come from different religions, there may be two religious ceremonies, so that both parts feel content.

- The couple may choose the church of their preference and must meet the priest in advance. Together they make all necessary arrangements.

- Although no dowry is necessary nowadays, the bride's parents still have certain obligations. They arrange and pay for the newspaper announcement and help the groom's parents make up the guest list. They pay for the decoration of the church and for everything concerning the wedding reception (i.e. food, drinks, cake, flowers, decoration, photographers and music).

- Of course any contribution from the couple itself, the grandparents, the groom's family or other relatives are welcome.

- The groom's family has not many obligations. They usually pay for the wedding dress, which has been picked by the bride.

- The best man's presence is of great importance. He is usually a close friend or relative. Traditionally, either the best man or maid of honour was the godfather/godmother of the bride.

- In Greece it is not customary for the best man to make a speech, although if he wishes he may do so.

- Apart from the flowers, the church's expenses are usually paid by the best man.

- After their wedding, women are allowed to keep their maiden name or use both names adding a hyphen in between.

- If it all comes to an end, applying for a divorce in Greece must be done no sooner than six months after the wedding ceremony. After the first application has been submitted, another must be submitted six months later. The court's decision may take one or even two years, depending on the court's workload.



Excerpt from "Watch Your Manners In Greece" by Christos K. Zampounis

 
Special Feature: Mastic

Below the low, sclerophyllous evergreen growth of the maquis tree, the form of vegetation that is so characteristic of the Mediterranean area, there is a shrub which only occurs on the south of the island of Chios. This is the subspecies Pistacia lentiscus var. chic, the mastic bush. When its bark is damaged, it exudes a sweet smelling, white, transparent resin, already much prized in ancient times. It was particularly valued for its stickiness, which is preserved, indeed only really develops, when a lump of resin is chewed. So it was used very early on, mainly for oral hygiene. Dioskourides refers to it in his pharmacology as a cosmetic substance. Because of its scent it was used in perfumes and as incense for improving the air. The oil obtained from the resin was used to ward off colds, coughs, and sneezes.

In the Middle Ages, it was the Genoese in particular who carried on the trade in mastic throughout the Mediterranean area and helped the island to achieve relative prosperity. During the time of Ottoman rule on Chios, the Sultan permitted the inhabitants to continue the mastic trade virtually unhindered. However, instead of taxes he demanded an annual tribute of half the production of this valuable raw material, a large part of which ended up in the seraglio in Istanbul, the sultan's harem, where it was used as chewing gum. In addition, mastic soon found a use as a food additive. Though the mastic farmers of Chios were highly regarded throughout the Middle Ages in Greece, the few farmers left today must fight for survival. Even if growing conditions on Chios are good for the shrub, and the resin is still used, it is under increasing pressure from synthetic resins, except for flavoring the ouzo produced on the island. The resin, which is traded in the form of a firm, granular material, is used among other things as an element in the formulation of adhesives, special cements and varnishes, and as an aromatic additive to incense, toothpaste, and chewing gum (Greek: mastikha). Mastic has an unusually intense taste and a fragrant, flowery aroma and is therefore used in various Greek and oriental sweets or confections such as khalvas and loukotimia.
 
The much praised resin
flows from the cuts
The surface of the mastic crystal is
cleaned with a pointed knife
The pieces of collected resin come in different shapes and sizes


Mastic collecting begins in the middle of August, when up to eight cross-shaped cuts are made in the bark, so the resin can flow out and set. It takes about 15 days to dry before it can be collected. The grains of mastic are sifted to remove pollutants such as sand, then it is washed with cold water and soap, and laid out to dry. At the same time, the last particles of dirt are scratched off with a knife. Finally, it is sifted again, during which the individual lumps or "tears" of resin are sorted according to quality and size.

mastic flavored candies

where anise once provided the taste, 
sweet mastic is the predominant
flavor in Chios Clear


excerpts from: "Culinaria Greece"
 

 What's New!!!
 Greek CDs & DVDs
Peggy Zina Noima

Peggy Zina Noima
 
Anna Vissi Nylon

Anna Vissi Nylon
Theodorakis: Electra, Antigone, Medea 8 CD Disc Set

Theodorakis: Electra, Antigone, Medea 8 CD Disc Set
Opa Opa 16 upbeat chart hits!

Opa Opa 16 upbeat chart hits!
Summer Bubbles  Vol.1 - 15 rock hits remixed

Summer Bubbles Vol.1 - 15 rock hits remixed
Nightlife 2005 CD

Nightlife 2005 CD
 
Olympiakos Anthem CD

Olympiakos Anthem CD
Olympiakos Anthem CD and Wall Clock set.

Olympiakos Anthem CD and Wall Clock set.
 
Panathinaikos PAO Anthem CD

Panathinaikos PAO Anthem CD
Panathinaikos PAO Anthem CD and Wall Clock set

Panathinaikos PAO Anthem CD and Wall Clock set
AEK Anthem CD

AEK Anthem CD
A.E.K. Anthem CD and Wall Clock set

A.E.K. Anthem CD and Wall Clock set
APH (Aris)  Anthem CD

APH (Aris) Anthem CD
PAOK Anthem CD

PAOK Anthem CD
Theo Angelopoulos 3 Disc Collector

Theo Angelopoulos 3 Disc Collector's Set - DVD (NTSC)
 Books
A Century of Greek Poetry 1900-2000 Bilingual Edition

A Century of Greek Poetry 1900-2000 Bilingual Edition
Tommyland by Tommy Lee

Tommyland by Tommy Lee
Orthodox Saints January - March Vol. 1

Orthodox Saints January - March Vol. 1
Orthodox Saints April - June Vol. 2

Orthodox Saints April - June Vol. 2
Orthodox Saints July - September Vol. 3

Orthodox Saints July - September Vol. 3
Orthodox Saints October - December Vol. 4

Orthodox Saints October - December Vol. 4
Orthodox Saints Complete Set

Orthodox Saints Complete Set
Politiko Skitso Enos Egeti - George Papandreou by E. Verivakis

Politiko Skitso Enos Egeti - George Papandreou by E. Verivakis
The Authentic Tselementes : Greek Cooking Encyclopedia 3-volume set - In Greek

The Authentic Tselementes : Greek Cooking Encyclopedia 3-volume set - In Greek
The Komboloi and it

The Komboloi and it's History in English
Poison in Athens by Margaret Doody

Poison in Athens by Margaret Doody
 
Eat Drink and Be Married

Eat Drink and Be Married
 
Nifes (adaptation from the movie Brides) in Greek

Nifes (adaptation from the movie Brides) in Greek
 
Me Mou Les Antio by Anastasia Kalliontzi, In Greek

Me Mou Les Antio by Anastasia Kalliontzi, In Greek
The Life of Alex Zorbas by Nick Kazatzakis in Greek

The Life of Alex Zorbas by Nick Kazatzakis in Greek
Greece The Next 300 Years

Greece The Next 300 Years
Euro 2004 Championship Picture Book, In Greek


Euro 2004 Championship Picture Book, In Greek
Hellas By Edward KareKlas

Hellas By Edward KareKlas
Zorba the Greek in English

Zorba the Greek in English
Ancient Greece 2006 Calendar

Ancient Greece 2006 Calendar
 Children's Books in Greek or in English
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in Greek
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Greek

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Greek
 
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Greek

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Greek
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Greek

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Greek

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Greek
Makrigiannis Memoirs - In Greek

Makrigiannis Memoirs - In Greek
You Wouldn

You Wouldn't Want to be a Greek Athlete! in English
     
 Magnets & Accesories
Ancient Greek Sphinx Magnet

Ancient Greek Sphinx Magnet
Ancient Greek Hippocrates

Ancient Greek Hippocrates' Oath Magnet
Ancient Greek Magnet 32

Ancient Greek Magnet 32
Ancient Greek Owl Magnet

Ancient Greek Owl Magnet
Ancient Greek Magnet 37

Ancient Greek Magnet 37
Ancient Greek Ionic Column Magnet

Ancient Greek Ionic Column Magnet
Ancient Greek Corinthian Magnet

Ancient Greek Corinthian Magnet
 
Ancient Greek Magnet 48

Ancient Greek Magnet 48
Ancient Greek Magnet 49

Ancient Greek Magnet 49
Ancient Greek Magnet 50

Ancient Greek Magnet 50
 
Ancient Greek Magnet 51

Ancient Greek Magnet 51
Ancient Greek Magnet 52

Ancient Greek Magnet 52
Ancient Greek Hermes Magnet

Ancient Greek Hermes Magnet
Rosary Style Necklace KRZ10 Teal

Rosary Style Necklace KRZ10 Teal
 

  Featured Destination: Hydra


GEOGRAPHY.
With its cosmopolitan atmosphere and constant throng of tourists, Hydra is quite unlike the other islands of the Argosaronic gulf. 50 sq. km. in area, with 56 km. of coast and 2,723 inhabitants, its main town is also called Hydra. There are daily boat and hydrofoil connections with Piraeus, 36 nautical miles away, as well as with Aegina, Methana, Poros, Spetses and Hermione. During the summer there is a hydrofoil link with Tolo, Nauplion and Porto Cheli, and twice a week with Monemvasia and Leonidion. Tourist facilities are of a high standard and there is a yacht marina in the harbour. Hydra is also exceptional on account of its unique landscape, differing from that of the other islands in that it is rocky and barren (highest point Eros, 593 m. a.s.l.).

HISTORY. It was known in antiquity as Hydraia and there was a Mycenaean settlement to the west of the present town, as excavations have revealed.

In Homeric times it was dependent on Mycenae and later on Hermione which, according to Herodotus, sold the island for 100 talants to exiled Samians. It seems that during the Byzantine era it experienced a floruit, as evident from finds at the locality of Episkopi on the island's east coast. However, its greatest acme was achieved in more recent times, particularly during the 17th and 18th century when its inhabitants amassed a considerable fleet of vessels, both large and small, which voyaged throughout the Mediterranean. This fleet and its experienced crews comprised the Hydriote contribution to the Struggle for Independence in 1821. The island's nautical tradition continued into modern times even though many of its inhabitants moved to Piraeus or emigrated to America. Nowadays there is a Merchant Navy Academy here.


SIGHTS-MONUMENTS. The old harbour with its canons and imposing bourgeois residences dominating the landscape also bear witness to its great maritime tradition. The houses are built amphitheatrically,
many have been refurbished in the original style and have preserved their interior decoration, often reminiscent of renaissance mansions in miniature. Of these the Voulgari mansion on the west flank of the harbour, that of Kountouriotis further up, Tombazis' adjacent to that of Voulgaris, as well as those of Votsi and Koulouris are particularly impressive. A branch of the School of Fine Arts is accommodated in the Tombazis mansion, a Home for the Aged in that of Kriezis and the Merchant Navy Academy in the Tsambados residence. The Museum houses archival material related to the 1821 Revolution. Of the many important churches and monasteries on the island, mention should be made of the cathedral (metropolis), dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin and built in 1765, with its marble iconostasis and numerous icons (including one the Neomartyr Constantine of Hydra). On the east side of the island, beside the bay of Mandraki (3 km. from the harbour) stands the monastery of the Holy Trinity and to the northeast that of St. Nicholas and St. Matrona, on the highest peak of the island the monasteries of Prophet Elijah (circa 1800) and St. Eupraxia (circa 1800). Next to the lighthouse (Faros) (at the northeast tip of the island) is the monastery of the Dormition or the Virgin Zourva. The regions of Kaminia, Vlychos and Molos are particularly picturesque and from here one can climb up to Episkopi (on the south side), site of the Byzantine town. In general only a few beaches are suitable for swimming (Mandraki, Kaminia, Viychos, Molos, Bisti) and access to these is by small boat. There are refuelling facilities in the harbour. Visitors may stay in hotels (mostly in town) and a limited number of rooms and apartments for rent. Hydra is girt by numerous rocky islets, the largest of which is Dokos.

 

 Travel Guides and Information for your trip in the area


Going to Live and Work in Greece

Going to Live and Work in Greece
2005 edition

Let

Let's Go Greece 2005 edition - 20% off

Greece Road Map Set - 10 maps

Greece Road Map Set - 10 maps

Greece - A Guide to the Archaeological Sites - Travel Guide

Greece - A Guide to the
Archaeological Sites - Travel Guide

Cruise Greece DVD

Cruise Greece DVD

 Saints' Namedays in October

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
 
 
      1
Ananiou / Pomanou Melodou
2
Kuprianou / Ioustiounis
3
Dionisiou Aeropagitou
4
Ierotheou
5
Xaritinis
6
Thoma
7
Poluxroniou
8
Iakovou
 

9
Eulampiou

10

 

11 12 13 14 15
 Loukianou
 
16
17
 
18
Louka
19
Kleopatras
20
Artemiou / Gerasimou Kefallhnias
 
21
Sokratous
22 23
Iakovou
24
Sevastianis 
25
 
26
Dimitriou Myrovlitou
 
27
Nestoros
28
Agias Skepis
29


 
30
Zinoviou
31


 
           


Icons depicting the celebrated Saint, make great gifts for namedays.
Shop among our great collection of icons at our store. Also available, namedays, birthday, holiday, and special occasion greeting cards.

Gold and Silver Icons Hand Painted Icons Icons by Zafiris
Gold and Silver Icons
 
Hand painted Icons
 
Icons by Zafiris
 
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Complete biographies of Orthodox Saints are now available.
 

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