The room emanated a fragrant blend of Greek coffee and rosewater aroma as the Museum team was organizing the next upcoming event and Konstantinos Matsourdelis, the founder, began giving us the tour.
It was a rainy Tuesday evening and Cycladia was about to delve into the folklore and culinary tradition of Greek cuisine through the charming environs of the Museum of Greek Gastronomy.
The first-ever Museum of Greek Gastronomy, the “roof” of the ancient Greek gastronomic culture, has opened during the last few months in the heart of Athens, on Agiou Dimitriou Street in the district of Psyri. In a brilliantly renovated two-story neoclassical building – dating back to 1890 – with amazing ceiling paintings, the history, tradition and authenticity of the Greek culinary heritage unfolds right by the famous Varvakios Market and Evripidou Street with its renowned spice shops.
The museum was born from the inspiration, enthusiasm and determination of four young people with a background in communication, museum, exhibition and design: Konstantinos Matsourdelis, Lydia Damkarelou, Omiros Tsapalos and Alkyoni Matsourdeli. The museum is privately funded and supported by passionate volunteers who wish to promote the rich Greek gastronomic tradition as an important part of the country’s cultural heritage.
By paying a visit to the museum visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the production of regional products, observe how many traditional recipes are prepared, attend thematic events held by professionals in the field and learn everything about the Greek gastronomy and all of its nutritional benefits during the scheduled tours so as to adopt it in their daily diet.
To begin with…
The tour begins with a journey through the history and production processes of Greek food while children between the ages of 5 and 11 can become acquainted with the Greek culinary tradition and the importance of nutrition through a special program called “A Museum in the Oven”.
Staying on track…
Then follows the restaurant, where a great mixture of ingredients are transformed into delectable dishes inspired by the theme of each exhibition as well as a lovely courtyard cafe with regional flavoured coffees and a restaurant serving specialties from all parts of Greece.
To complete the journey, the visitor is encouraged to attend the Cooking Lesson and create a Greek recipe of his own with the help of the dedicated staff. The admission price (around 60-80 €) includes a four-hour cooking lesson in a group of 4-12 people, after appointment.
All attendees visit the central “Varvakios” market to purchase the products needed for their recipes as well as the spices from the nearby shops on “Evripidou” street while learning a little history about the market. The class concludes with a great dinner with all dishes prepared during the cooking session.
Once the visitor has acquired a complete picture of the value of Greek products, he can purchase all he desires directly from the museum’s store featuring all kinds of authentic Greek products including olive oil, handmade pasta, wine, honey and cheese.
For an integrated experience…
There is also a bookstore with books on Greek gastronomy and oenology.
Cycladia was happy to attend the on-going exhibition of the Monastic Diet that will be held until January 2015 highlighting the most genuine and healthy form of Greek culinary tradition based on seafood, fish, legumes, fruit, vegetables, olives, olive oil, and bread while also witnessing the production of honey, olive oil and dairy products as processed in Mount Athos.
Following the Monastic diet exhibition, a series of exhibitions lasting approximately 4-6 months each, will be held on the main floor of the museum from now on. During the exhibitions, visitors can benefit from the free 30 minute tour to the museum held by Greek, English and French speaking guides.
“Monks eat only to satisfy their biological needs and never speak to each other during a meal thus a meal only lasts for about 10 minutes. All meals are accompanied by wine, prayers as well as readings from the Bible and are considered an offering by the cook who then asks for forgiveness so as to express humility “ said K. Matsourdelis.
- A new exhibition on a regional cuisine will be held in the middle of January 2015 Beginning September, the team will develop a series of cooking lessons, new educational programs and many more
- An online store will be created so that visitors from abroad can enjoy these first-rate products at home
- A new mobile app called “Clio Muse” will be adapted to read more on the exhibits, watch videos, share your thoughts or even vote for your favourite expositions.
Remember… if you have the right recipe, the success will follow!
- Weekdays: 10:00-23:00 (except Monday: 10.00-18.00)
- Free entrance
- For contact/reservations: 210 3211311
Gastronomy is more than a delicately prepared dish; it is a journey through history, heritage and regional grandeur, it is a form of art that deserves its very own museum.
Cycladia has just added the Museum of Greek Gastronomy to its must see list and so should you! Enjoy the flavours of Greek culinary tradition and follow the path to a healthy life.