This year’s “Taste of Loutraki – The Corinthian Food Festival” event, held in Loutraki, just an hour’s drive from Athens, offered visitors and locals the chance to sample local cuisine and products prepared by chefs at local restaurants for three days at a discount while introducing media and travel agents to gastronomy experiences in the region.
Over the weekend, GTP Headlines had the chance to visit the Markellos olive oil production unit and the Gerania loukoumi maker, sampled local products prepared by chefs, taste wines under the guidance of sommelier George Kappos, participate in the first-ever water tasting workshop, and take part in the Trahanas Celebration held in the village of Perachora, co-organized by local volunteer group Experience Perachora on the outskirts of Loutraki.
“In its second year and we are already seeing positive results,” Loutraki-Perachora-Agioi Theodoroi Mayor Giorgos Gkionis told GTP Headlines, adding that the Taste of Loutraki initiative was made possible thanks to partnerships and synergies with all tourism stakeholders in the municipality and after “very long discussions”.
The next priority for Taste of Loutraki organizers is establishing the annual three-day event into a comprehensive travel experience that will showcase in addition to local products and cuisine, the wider Loutraki region in Corinthia in the Peloponnese.
“We are very pleased with the turnout of an initiative that is only two years old,” Giannis Kontis, president of the 110-member Xenios Zeus restauranteur association, told GTP Headlines.
“From the start, the goal of the Taste of Loutraki has been to direct tourists and visitors to restaurants in the region that can introduce them to local dishes and products through specially prepared menus and at the same time offer a discount. This way, travelers have the chance to sample fine local cuisine at cheaper prices and revenues remain in the local community,” said Kontis, who is also and general secretary of the Loutraki Tourism Organization (Visit Loutraki).
According to Kontis, 40 F&B services providers participated in this year’s event, including restaurants, bars, pastry and ice cream shops as well as hotels offering Greek breakfast.
Speaking to GTPHeadlines, Respond On Demand Founder Maria Athanasopoulou said the idea of a festival involving local F&B providers was welcomed by the locals and “now 2.5 years later, we can see the dynamic. We still have a long way to go but we are very pleased to see what we’ve achieved so far,” she said.
Looking ahead, Athanasopoulou said the next priority is to enhance the identity and further promote Loutraki through food, get more local businesses on board, and ultimately present the initiative as a comprehensive travel experience to travel agencies and tour operators which will in turn help extend the tourist season and allow for friendlier prices.
“The Taste of Loutraki experience is two-fold: on the one hand, we have the discounts offered at restaurants around town and on the other, we organize a fam trip for press and agents so that they can see more of Loutraki through local gastronomy experiences,” said Athanasopoulou, who is also chairwoman at the World Food Travel Association (WFTA).
She went on to add that hoteliers are also beginning to embrace the initiative and expressed hopes that next year there will be more participating hotels.
The Taste of Loutraki was organized by the Loutraki Tourism Organization (Visit Loutraki), event planners Respond on Demand, the Xenios Zeus restauranteur association, and the Chamber of Corinthia with the support of the Loutraki-Perachora-Agioi Theodoroi Municipality, local F&B and hospitality businesses, including Isla Brown Corinthia and Wyndham Loutraki Poseidon Resort and the Peloponnese Region.
For more on next year’s Taste of Loutraki visit the website.