A troupe of 26 Greek-American college students touring Greece as part of the program Heritage Greece, organized by the National Hellenice Society and the American College of Greece, are learning a lot about politics, society, culture – and good food.
Aris Kefalogiannis, head of the food product company Gaea, set up a tasting of extra virgin olive oil for them at the Semiramis Hotel in Kifissia.
Their program does not only includes museums and archeological sites, but also walks into the neighborhoods of Athens, visits in the vineyards and wineries, cooking lessons with Christopher Peskias and a trip to Andros. They left a while back their duties in the best American universities and came to visit a country that they had only known from narratives, tastes of home cooked meals and songs of Greek singers.
Alex Graf from New York is studying Chinese and neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania. He has origins from Kalamata, Plomari and Switzerland. “I identify more with my Greek roots. I think when the Greeks marry a foreign, their own culture and habits always prevail. From my visit in Greece, I will always remember the winery. And the Acropolis Museum of course, but we Greek Americans often associate with the homeland through the flavors.”
He said: “What’s missing from Greece? I think that people sometimes grumbled about the troubles but they do nothing for this. On the other hand I think the Greeks, despite the crisis, live better than Americans who only know how to work hard. The Greeks know how to appreciate life, to rejoice, to spend time with their loved ones. This is priceless…”