The unique flavors and quality products of Messinia were the ultimate protagonists of this year's successful "Messinian Gastronomy Seminars," which took place on November 13-16, 2019, at Costa Navarino, with the participation of many food service professionals and students.

It is the 7th consecutive year that this collaboration has taken place between the Messinian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the “Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos” Foundation and the Kalamata School of Tourism, and the first time it has been supported by the “Brigada” group of nutrition professionals.

The first two days featured culinary art workshops, demonstration techniques and food tasting by professionals from the region, who presented exciting flavor combinations and the creative use of Messinian products, reminding everyone of the rich tradition of our land. Moreover, food service and tourism professionals gave various talks. Specifically, on November 13, Mr. Nico Bartalini presented the successful example of Toscana, and then the “Tinos Food Path” group explained how the island’s professionals’ efforts are changing the tourist map, enhancing local food culture. Mr. Yannis Tzavlopoulos discussed how local products constitute a region’s commercial identity, and finally, members of the “Meating Greece” group did a meat cutting demonstration.
On November 14, chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos talked about the significance of using local products in the kitchen and how they contribute to a restaurant’s growth. Chef Dimitris Nikolis then made a historical retrospective of Messinian products, from antiquity to the present day, and discussed the evolution of gastronomy. Finally, Thomas Douzis, CEO at “ERGON,” analyzed the company’s successful example, deeming gastronomy as an important tourism product.

Friday, November 15, was reserved for educational programs for students, and the final day ended with interesting talks, exclusively for food service professionals, which highlighted the value of fully integrated Messinian gastronomy experiences for every visitor to the area. The program included a talk by Stratos Kornas, culinary arts professor, on the topic of “Education in the Restaurant Sector.Mr. Dinos Stergidis, wine journalist and organizer of the “Oenorama” exhibition, talked about the significance of the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in wine marketing. Ms Athina Panou, food blogger/photographer/social media manager, gave a talk on the topic of “Restaurants and Social Media.” The four-day program concluded with the interesting talk by chef Yannis Baxevanis, who discussed the significance of local products and how they constitute the best advertisement for the area of Messinia. 

The president of the Messinian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Vangelis Xingoros expressed his contentment about the seminar’s turnout and the participants’ interest and said that the aim of the seminars organized in the past seven years is to acquaint food service and tourism professionals with all new trends and developments in the gastronomy sector, paving the way for sustainable tourism development in Messinia. 

Mr. Xenophon Kappas, Director at the “Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos” Foundation, expressed his contentment at the excellent organization of the event and thanked the partners for their cooperation: “The ‘Messinian Gastronomy Festival’ is now an institution in Messinia, and this gives us the strength to continue our efforts with greater zeal. Our aim remains the continuous improvement of Messinia’s culinary products and tourism, so that professionals can meet the high demands of the region’s visitors.”

Mr. Dionysis Papadatos, Project Manager at the “Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos” Foundation and the person behind the event, thanked all participants who attended the four-day Messinian Gastronomy Festival. He also highlighted the significance of the participation of Messinian restaurants as well as professional chefs in cooking workshops and thanked them for it. “This year, 19 restaurants from Messinia participated, and they had the opportunity to present their recipes to the audience, highlighting their culinary skills and primarily Messinian products. After seven years of training, research and creative dialogue, we are especially pleased by the fact that the protagonists are now Messinian restaurateurs as well as gastronomy and tourism professionals, who contribute significantly to the emergence of Messinia as a gastronomy destination.”