Local fine dining cuisine celebrated during the Local Gourmet Festival
During the last week of July, the Toques d’ Or and Greek cuisine awarded Elysium Resort & Spa’s Noble restaurant organized in Rhodes the first Local Gourmet Festival. The response, both by the local residents as well as the visitors of the island of Rhodes was particularly positive given that all available seats were sold-out well in advance the tasting events. The festival aimed to promote Rhodian gastronomy, as well as the use of local products, but also to encourage young chefs to contribute in the emergence of the Rhodian cuisine. After the event, it is a common belief among all festival participants that the Rhodian cuisine is indeed present in the Greek fine dining scene, through authentic local recipes that are approached with a modern interpretation, but at the same time with absolute respect to local traditions.
On July 26th, during the inaugural event, which was attended by representatives of the local authorities, a total of 17 “kalesmata” (treats) were offered, based on traditional recipes and local ingredients from villages of Rhodes. It was the first time in Rhodes that all finger food treats served during an event were solely based on authentic Rhodian recipes and local products. The General Manager of the hotel Mr. Thanasis Tougounzoglou in his opening speech stressed that the organization of the Local Gourmet Festival “is an obligation to our tradition and culture, since the local cuisine is undoubtedly part of our culture and our tradition. Hotels have an obligation to pass on to their guests parts of the local tradition so that they become its ambassadors in their homeland”. Elysium Resort & Spa’s Executive chef, Mr. George Troumouchis, referred to his research that systematically recorded Rhodian traditional recipes and the significance of transforming these recipes into fine dining dishes at Noble Restaurant.
Over the next four days, during the main part of the festival, the Elysium Resort & Spa was honored to host four of the most significant chefs of Greek cuisine. Using ingredients from their origin lands, guest chefs collaborated with Noble’s team headed by Stamatis Misomikes (Noble’s head chef) and George Troumouchis, who represented the gastronomy of Rhodes. Each evening, the festival participants had the opportunity to taste a unique 7-course tasting menu (in the logic of a 4-hands dinner) three of which originated from the guest chef’s region, three from Rhodes, as well as a dish referring to common gastronomic reference points between the two regions. On Friday, July 27th, the Toques d’ Or awarded chef – owner of the CTC restaurant, Alexandros Tsiotinis, represented Santorini’s cuisine by offering, among other, his renowned signature dish cod with tomato crust and its ‘mprantada’. The Rhodian team responded with its ‘Rosetia’, a local fish served with ‘kouloumbres’ – artichokes stalks from Embona village– and taramas sauce. On Saturday, July 28th, the awarded with Greek Cuisine Award, chef George Stylianoudakis (Kenshō Restaurant), created a menu based on Crete’s flavors. The guests enjoyed particularly his Stifado beef with consommés, herbs, onions, and potato cream. The Rhodian team responded with “Kolochtipa” (a Mediterranean slipper lobster) served with “Kolokasi” from Kritinia and leaves. On Sunday, July 29th, Nikos Billis, from the Michelin awarded Botrini’s
restaurant, as well as from the Etrusco (two Toques d’ Or awards) cooked recipes from the Ionian, among which his famous “Illusions” dish with figs from Corfu, foie gras, raisin bread with spices, and 10-years aged ‘petimezi’ from Pilio. In response, the Rhodian team offered the dish “From the shore to the thrash” with straw, olives, tomato cherry / lupine, yeast, pear, and grass. On Monday, July 30th, Dimitris Pamporis, from the Greek cuisine awarded Treehouse Restaurant as well as from the Bubo Fine Dining Restaurant at Chalkidiki, created Macedonia inspired dishes. His reference dish was Agioritikos Cod (from Athoniki Politeia) served with onion dolmas giahni, plum, marinated anchovy, onion broth, and basil. The Rhodian team proposed, among other dishes, the dessert “Rodocrema” from the village of Empona with rose, hibiscus, parsley root, and ‘drosapio’ (local baby pear).
The festival concluded on July 31st with a tasting event co-organized by the South Aegean Region and the Chefs’ Club of Dodecanese & Cyclades. The event was part of the “Be a local” action of the “Taste the Seasons” program of the Gastronomic Region of Europe, a title that the South Aegean region will hold in 2019. The event was attended by representatives of the South Aegean Region, the Dodecanese Chamber of Commerce, the Chefs’ Club of the Dodecanese & Cyclades, local producers, as well as selected Greek and foreign food journalists and bloggers. The menu offered in the event was Noble’s Biotope, a 12 course tasting menu consisting exclusively from Rhodian dishes created by the Noble Chef’s team.
The festival was sponsored by a number of companies / partners of Noble Restaurant and Elysium Resort & Spa, who through their sponsorship proved their support to local gastronomy: Caterplus, Kozas Food Services, Nelios Web Services, Christodoulides, Afric Gebiki Emporiki, Ariston Rhodes, Sea Garden & Kamiros Fish, ELETRO, Harry Zampetoulas Photography, S.Pellegrino, Melissokomiki Dodekanisou, M.Z. Missikos, Nespresso, 4Chef, and O-life.