Hosted by chef, award-winning cookbook author and restaurateur Diane Kochilas, this culinary/travel series celebrates Greek history and culture through delicious food. Join Diane as she travels throughout Greece and its islands, where she explores many of the foods that Greece is known for (olive oil, feta, honey, yogurt and more), and discovers the country's traditions and creates simple home-cooked meals using ingredients from each episode.
The World’s Most Famous Olive
Diane visits a small village in Laconia, the Peloponnese, where the famous Kalamata olive is cultivated, to follow the famous olive from harvest to table. After a chilly day of collecting, scoring, and processing the ripened fruits, Diane heads to the kitchen to whip up an olive feast. First up, a dish fit for a Greek hero, Spartan chicken, with those celebrated olives, tomatoes and feta cheese. Next, Diane shows the simple pleasures of cooking olives with oranges in an easy, elegant appetizer. The olive story doesn’t end there, of course. There’s a delectably spicy cuttlefish and olive dish she cooks up with an olive farmer, and a scrambled eggs-and-olives recipe to turn any light lunch or brunch into a Greek feast. Find out how olives can transform any meal into a masterpiece.
Flavors of Longevity – Ikaria
Diane travels to her family’s native island of Ikaria, where locals are 10 times more likely to live to 100 than Americans. Diane’s young 85-year-old neighbors share homemade wine and a lesson in making wild herb teas. A beekeeper reveals the honey that is one of the secrets to Ikarians’ renowned longevity. Diane’s friend Eleni joins her to cook a hearty one-pot summer vegetable stew and savor a rich, plant-based feast. Discover the spirit of Ikaria, which leaves no place for anxiety or life by the clock, but plenty of time for an impromptu dance and a feast for the senses that’s healthy as can be. Enjoy the deliciously simple and wonderfully healthy cuisine of Ikaria.
Ancient Grains for Modern Cooks
Diane explores the ancient grains that Greek cooks still love to use. Learn how to make the classic Cretan barley rusk (twice baked bread) called paximadi. Seasonal vegetables, green apples and mint add a pop of freshness to an easy bread salad with these rusks. Pasta tossed with Greek yogurt and half a dozen fresh herbs provides instant comfort with a taste that’s quintessentially Greek. Finally, trahana, an unusual grain product made with milk and dried in the sun, turns a simple braised eggplant dish into something exotic and irresistible. Learn how to incorporate timeless ancient grains into every meal of the day.
Olive Oil Everything
Emerald green Greek extra virgin olive oil is the star of this show, as we watch it flow from tree to kitchen with a stop in between at the massage table. Diane takes us on a journey to the stunningly preserved town of Monemvasia in the Peloponnese.Greece’s liquid gold transforms a simple vegetable medley into a luscious dish and slips between the folds of billowy rice and greens in a succulent pilaf spiked with a squeeze of lemon juice. Olive oil gives dessert a distinct character too. It’s a primary ingredient in Halva, an earthy pudding-like creation spiked with dried fruits, orange zest and nuts. Explore the diversity and beauty of one of Greece’s most delectable exports.
Diane explores the meze tradition of small plates of vibrant food meant to be shared. In Volos, she meets up with a Meze meister who creates traditional meze dishes and heads off for a sip and a bite to a cutting-edge restaurant where they push the limits of meze. She uncovers the vast variety and robust flavors of the meze table and invites a wine expert into the kitchen for advice on what to pair when the meal includes spice, yogurt, cheese, crunch, comfort, seafood, meat and more, all in one sitting. The pungent Greek yogurt dip, tzatziki, is the perfect match for Diane’s juicy keftedes, or Greek meatballs. A fiery shrimp dish gets a cooling dash of feta. All make up the mosaic of the meze table, with a few regional cooks’ delights tossed in for fun. Discover the fun and festive meze tradition.
A Bite of Greek Red Wine
Go on a picnic at a vineyard in Naoussa where one grape dominates the table: the local Xinomavro (pronounced xee NOE ma vroe), one of Greece’s noblest reds. This delicious, tannic wine pairs perfectly with a cheese and spice stuffed leg of lamb and is the key ingredient in succulent red wine and sage potatoes. Red wine with fish is on the menu, too. Diane makes an easy sea bass and mushroom dish with a splash of Greece’s revered northern red. On the wine trail, she also discovers bread, cookies and chocolate truffles all spiked with this hard-to- pronounce but easy-to-love Greek varietal. Learn how to incorporate incomparable Greek wine into any menu, both as a drink and an ingredient.
The Lesvos Spirit
Diane travels to Lesvos, one of Greece’s most fascinating and easternmost Aegean islands, where the characteristic generosity of spirit almost won a few locals the Nobel Peace Prize. The crossroads of history play out on the table in Lesvos, where the waters overflow with renowned sardines and shellfish and islanders count dozens of eggplant dishes as traditional fare. Ouzo, the drink of Greek hospitality, fills glasses everywhere in this de facto center of production for the anise-flavored elixir. Diane gets an insider’s taste with a good friend and local son. Then she heads to the kitchen to whip up a taste of the sea: a plate of silvery sardines roasted with a spritz of ouzo and a delectable recipe of braised octopus and black olives. Vegetable lovers will enjoy two unique eggplant dishes, one a stuffed version called little shoes and the other an irresistible eggplant patty. Discover the vibrant food and hospitality of the Aegean through its renowned food and drink.
Greek Mountain Cheeses
Grass-fed takes on a whole other dimension here in Epirus, Greece’s untrammeled northwestern mainland, where sheep and goats graze in the lush green mountains. Here, Diane follows the country’s best-known cheese, feta, from its artisanal roots to modern state-of-the-art production. She explores a range of other sheep and goat milk cheeses that are new to most Americans. Diane visits a shepherd in the villages called Zagorohoria and makes farmhouse cheeses with a local friend Vassilis Paparounas. Back in the kitchen, Diane whips up a fiery feta and hot pepper spread, bakes pork with vegetables and cheese in paper, and grills an easy cheese dessert paired with Greek figs. Experience the wonderful world of Greek cheeses and learn how to use them to create an irresistibly cheesy menu.