The Hellenic Tourism Organization now offers a special Greek cuisine emblem to any eating establishment that adheres to some very strict health, hygiene and quality standards. During a special event held to launch the emblem, the minister explained that today’s tourist wants not only contact with nature and history but also to taste life in the country he or she visits.
He said that part and parcel of this is national food and wine, especially here in Greece where the Greek or Mediterranean diet is known internationally as one of the world’s most healthy diets. Studies have shown, he said, that the use of olive oil and natural fibers, as well as garden-grown produce and local wines guarantee better health.
“It’s time we Greeks stop destroying the centuries of dietary habits in favor of fast food and prepackaged products,” said the minister. He then explained how the government would promote Greek cuisine through the use of a special emblem available to any establishment the meets the requirements.
The special quality Greek cuisine emblem, he said, would be granted by the Hellenic Tourism Organization once it proved that an applicant offered customers a satisfactory level of Greek cuisine as well as a satisfactory level of service. He also said there were special subsidy programs available (up to 5,000,000 drachmas) for enterprises that wanted to reach such a level. He also said special Greek cuisine seminars are planned.
To obtain the emblem, a unit must meet criteria regarding cleanliness in all forms, safety, quality Greek food products (including traditional Greek salad and Greek coffee done over fire) and quality Greek surroundings. To assist in the above, the organization and the ministry supply an 88-page health hygiene guide and a 52-page book on basic food hygiene.
The program has the full cooperation and assistance of the food administration, the Hellenic Federation of Greek Restaurants and the various societies and associations that promote Greek food products.
Separately, but somewhat linked is that the Salt Lake City Greek community is feverishly preparing the greatest Greek Food Festival ever witnessed by Salt Lake citizens in view of the Winter Olympic Games in their city in 2002.
“We just think with the tie-in to the next Olympics, it would be a good thing to show that there’s a strong Greek community in Salt Lake City, and give them our support”, said a spokesperson.