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Thessaloniki Cuisine Takes Stage at National Geographic Food Fest

thessaloniki koulouri
Thessaloniki’s famous koulouri and the city itself will take center stage at the National Geographic Traveller world food festival in London, along with other dishes from throughout Greece. Credit: YouTube

Greek gastronomy and in particular the tastes of Thessaloniki will be served up at the  National Geographic Traveller Food Festival in London this weekend.

The two-day festival in the United Kingdom, which will be on July 16th and 17th, includes foods and flavors from around the world, with big-name chefs leading demonstrations, along with interviews, tastings, and recipes.

Among those cooking up Greek dishes for the event will be Chef George Palisidis, who will serve mussels—Thessaloniki style.

Greece’s second most populous city will take center stage throughout the event. Thessaloniki’s tourism office is heavily promoting its involvement in the festival and its effort in the coming months to lure more tourists from England.

Thessaloniki Highlights Culinary Credentials

The city has dubbed its project, “London calling Thessaloniki cooking” with the aim to bolster the northern Greek city’s culinary identity to the British public. The Thessaloniki tourism office will also coordinate promotions at 41 stops on the London Underground, inviting people to enjoy “a journey full of stories and flavors” with a “stamp” of UNESCO, according to a report in AMNA. One of the stops will include the Angel station, which leads to the food festival in the Business Design Centre.

Thessaloniki has also come up with a fun take on the traditional Greek salad, something it is calling a koulouri salad. It is a minimalist creation, adding a koulouri—the famous and delicious Thessaloniki crispy round bread—to the Greek salad’s well-known mix of feta, cucumber, tomato, onion, and olives over which olive oil is drizzled. Other variations on the tried and true Greek salad recipe have made the rounds, including Cretan salad and a version from the island of Tinos.

Voula Patoulidou, president of Thessaloniki Tourism Organization, said the city participated in the National Geographic food festival event in 2019. This year, it has created a more comprehensive effort, she said, aiming to attract tourists from the UK to the city throughout the year, offering possibilities and authentic tourist experiences and options.

Cuisine from the festival also include those from Spain, Nepal, China, Ireland, South Korea, Italy, and Azerbaijan, among others.

Below are other presenters offering Greek dishes.

Dimitrios Stiakakis and Vasilios Papanikolaou will celebrate the South Aegean region by preparing sautéed sea bass filet with leafy greens salad and lemon dressing, as well as with fresh herbs and  tomato.

George Hatzopoulos will prepare a taste of Crete, cooking sea bass with giachnera—Cretan greens. He will also celebrate the Greek tradition of sympossio—gourmet touring—by cooking pasta with green olive pesto and calamari.

Argiro Barbarigou turns our attention to the North Aegean region as he makes Lesvos’ trahana soup and shrimp with ouzo and feta cheese.

MasterChef 2019 winner Irini Tzortzoglou will prepare a taste of Corfu with chicken pastitsada.

Télémaque Argyriou celebrates Greek street food, cooking chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce.

Finally, a main presenter, Theo Michaels, will lead “Flavors of the Med.” He has drawn culinary inspiration from his Greek-Cypriot roots, his travels, and cooking for his family.

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