BY YIOULI EPTAKILI
It’s about more than just taking a trip abroad. More than having a good meal of dishes inspired by a cuisine you’ve always wanted to discover, in a land where it was conceived and transformed with the passing of time. It’s about an entire philosophy, a life stance, a multifaceted experience. Gastronomic tourism has been a category in itself for a long time, a particularly special chapter in the field of tourism with enormous potential.
There are people who choose chefs and restaurants, not cities or countries, before packing their bags to travel. There are foreign visitors who set off from far corners of the planet to travel to Athens, landing at the Athens International Airport, hopping on a boat in Piraeus, and getting off at Kamares in Sifnos, only to reach remote Seralia to eat at Chef Samoili’s “Cantina.”
They can be found on the Cycladic islands, on Crete, in northern Greece, on the Ionian islands, in Athens and Thessaloniki, the tens of incredible restaurants are worth traveling a long way for, just to live the singular gastronomic experience they offer. To discover the products and genuine cuisine, to connect with tradition and witness evolution, and to understand, on the deepest level, the place and its people.
The hunt for singularity and an authentic experience will significantly determine the future of tourism. The smallest countries, such as Greece (a country with history, culture, and unique products) can be a leader in this area. I have read a great deal of research by tourism market experts on the billions that will be spent by food lovers over the next decade. It’s a market that is growing at an uncanny pace.
If we’re clever about it, a big portion of that pie can be ours. All that’s needed is perseverance and quality. To not be sidetracked by opportunities to make a quick buck from the larger public and above all, to use our head. With the blossoming of veganism over the last few years Greece has a golden opportunity. Is there any diet more vegan than Greece’s vegetable-based summer cuisine? Why couldn’t we become a vegan destination?
This article was previously published in Greek at kathimerini.gr.