Monday, February 17, 2014

Wine: An Ancient Gift From The Gods

You would certainly know that the Greeks are completely and utterly responsible for the blessing of WINE; all kinds of wine!

Certainly, the Greeks are considered the creators of red, rosé and white wines - with the 'finest' wines being thought to have been from Thásos, Lesbos and Chios regions. The reputation of the wine, of course, depended heavily on the region it was produced. Less 'fine' and more 'in-the-homes' of the country folk was an atypical table wine made from water and the residue from squeezed grapes and lees.

Like ancient wine critics, the poets of the time wrote and sang, and passed tradition about their favorite wines, the flavors, the textures - and so, we're able to learn much from these texts.

Historically, most Greek wines were cut with water, because not doing so was believed to cause madness and even - death.  This was a true attempt to monitor overuse and remain civilized while consuming wine. Undiluted wine, or akraton - and only believed to have been consumed by 'barbarians' in the northern regions of Europe.

Different variations of different types of wine had medicinal uses, Hippocrates having been quite successful in treating fevers and convalescence and even using wine as an antiseptic. Outside of these therapeutic uses, Greek society - for the most part -  did not approve of women drinking wine; it is said that some Greek laws* actually restricted women to drinking water. Sparta was the only city where women routinely drank wine.

(*and as a sidenote, Ziziki's certainly does not approve of this ancient Greek law! NO-OPA-THERE!)

The Greeks were quite innovative in their methods for creating wine, from the process of crushing their grapes, to the experimental tests of producing a more-or-less acidic wine by harvesting premature grapes. Greek wine was often with honey and made 'medicinal' by adding thyme, pennyroyal and other herbs. No stone was left unturned when it came to testing new wine variants.

Dionysus, it is certain - is very proud. Visit us at Ziziki's to test and find your favorite from our exclusive selection of fine wines at one of our Dallas wine bar locations.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When in GREECE: Eat Mediterranean Salad

We get more than our fair share of recipe requests here at Ziziki’s. Of course - we can't give away our secrets but we can share a simple one! Still, if you’re looking to impress - this recipe is sure to put a smile on some faces.

Mediterranean Salad:
Hearty, robust, and delicious! All the stuff you dream about are in a Greek salad - tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, cucumbers, and sun-dried tomatoes - all glistening from a splash of oil. It takes only ten minutes to make this salad and it’s perfect if you’re looking to entertain a small group since it serves eight people.

3 cucumbers, seeded and sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
3 cups diced roma tomatoes
1/3 cup diced oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, oil reserved
1/2 red onion, sliced

In a large salad bowl, toss together the cucumbers, feta cheese, olives, roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons reserved sun-dried tomato oil, and red onion. Chill until ready to serve.