03 Sep

Greek Olive Oil Beckons Koreans

By Kim Sue-young,

The Greek Embassy in Korea hosted the “Greek Olive Oil and Food Festival” at the Millennium Hilton Hotel in Seoul last Monday.

The event was to introduce Greek olive oil boasting a unique taste and quality to Koreans who are not familiar with the small oval fruit.

The olive is one of the common healthy ingredients in Greek dishes. For that reason, a Nobel Prize winning Greek poet Odysseas Elytis said “when Greece is taken apart, you are left with a vineyard, a boat and an olive.”

“The olive is a part of our culture, life and soul. This event is a way to promote Greek culture as well as the olive itself,’’ Vassilis Xiros, deputy head of mission of the Greek Embassy, said.

The festival was also aimed at familiarizing Greece to Koreans before President Roh Moo-hyun’s visit to the European country from Sept. 3-5, he said.

This is the first South Korean presidential visit since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1961.

Greece is widely known for its special cuisine full of healthy food as well as a beautiful sightseeing spot with its ancient Greek temples.

In the opening address, commercial counselor Stefanos Voudouris of the embassy spoke about the fruit and its history.

“The olive has been cultivated for 6,000 years and contains antioxidants which slow down oxidization, a cause of aging,’’ he said.

“Health,’’ America’s health and wellness magazine, chose the olive as one of the five healthiest foods last March.

During the event, a variety of delicacies made with olive oil were served. They included beef marinated with olives and cinnamon and served on cabbage leaves.

The popular Greek dessert baklava, a pastry sprinkled with chopped nuts and topped with syrup, was also served.

Red and white wine from Greece was served during the event. Voudouris said Greek wine is high quality even though it hasn’t been broadly recognized yet.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board sponsored the reception attended by people from various walks of life, including Korean businessmen, food importers and nutritionists.
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