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Greece’s Rovies Food Festival Guests Captivated by Sustainable Cuisine

Traditional collective picnic at the historic olive grove of Rovies during Rovies Food Festival 2023.
A collective picnic at a historic olive grove marked the finale of the first Rovies Food Festival in Greece. Credit: GreekReporter

Dozens of local and international visitors traveled to northern Evia in central Greece to attend the activities of the first Rovies Food Festival, which took place in September.

The festival draws on Evia’s ancient gastronomic heritage and promotes sustainable food consumption practices of the past applicable to modern life.

The program covered all aspects of the area’s rich food production from fishing to honey harvesting and presented flavorful local dishes whose origins are traced back to bygone eras.

Seafood sustainability and a taste of Evia’s own Cucina Povera at Rovies Food Festival

The festival started with a sea-to-table diving and cooking activity by Argonauta Diving Resort at Anemoia restaurant, centered around the principles of seafood sustainability.

Guests enjoyed fresh sea urchin salad and sea bass carpaccio with local herbs along with other fish and prawns from the Gulf of Evia.

The following day at the same location at Anemoia Restaurant, women prepared typical local dishes of their island’s own Cucina Povera. These included tiganokouloura and the Byzantine-era nettle pie.

Such dishes exemplify the local population’s ability to adapt nutritional habits to seasonal food production, relying on farm-to-table meals.

Koula Georgiou makes Byzantine nettle-pie.
Local cook Koula Georgiou makes Byzantine nettle-pie. Credit: GreekReporter

Honey from wild flowers grown in the ashes of wildfires

During a honey tasting event by producers FaMelaki, guests had the opportunity to taste five distinct varieties of honey produced in Evia.

Oak, pine, and heather honey were the best-known. On the other hand, the anise-fennel honey presented at the event is a rare variety which could soon become a PDO product. Lastly, the honey is produced from wildflowers that grew in regenerated forests from the ashes of the devastating Evia wildfires.

A guest during honey tasting at Rovies food festival 2023.
A guest during honey tasting at the Rovies Food Festival 2023 in Greece. Credit: GreekReporter

In the final part of the activity, guests tasted iced tea containing two different types of honey. They got to experience how each variety of honey changes both the color and taste of the brew.

They also enjoyed pieces of honeycomb with local iced tsipouro spirit, while viewing the sunset from Paralia Pine & Sea restaurant.

Food sharing in the community

The island of Evia (originally spelled Euboea) was named after its rich cattle production in ancient years. Therefore, meat tasting couldn’t be missing from The Rovies Food Festival’s program.

The local meat cutting and tasting event took place in the central square of Rovies on the evening of the second day of the festival.

Among other meat dishes, guests tasted the famed local sausage with orange peel, whose recipe has been passed from generation to generation.

Ultimately, the third and final day of the festival began with organic olive oil tasting at a local orchard and concluded with a traditional collective picnic at the historic olive grove of Rovies by the sea.

Traditional dishes were prepared for Rovies Food Festival 2023.
Traditional dishes were prepared by the locals for festival guests. Credit: GreekReporter

Members of the village’s Cultural Association said goodbye to festival guests as they shared traditional dishes with them. Chickpeas with orzo pasta, cheese pies, marinated anchovies, loukoumades, which are sweet puffs with honey, and pollen were offered alongside locally sourced olives and a variety of fresh salads with pomegranate vinegar dressing.

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