Patras is the largest economic and trade center of the Peloponnese and Western Greece, with one of the largest ports in Greece and is the gateway to the West, both in terms of transport and trade as well as in cultural terms.
Since the mid of the 19th century, the port of Patras exported Corinth Currants, the so called ““black gold”, to the ports of Great Britain, corresponding to 80% of the Greek exports, and for many decades it contributed to the economic growth of the city. The port of Patras was the portal from where cultural goods of the West and conventional customs such as the opera, were imported in Greece; it also contributed to the dissemination of trade-unionism. It was the access from where Carnival found its way in the city and became the most important Carnival in Greece and among one of the most important in Europe, that give life and meaning to the citizens of Patras.
Achaia is a rich region and its inhabitants deal with agriculture, stock raising and fishery. Vines and vineyards for the production of wines, table grapes and Corinth currants correspond to a large part of the agricultural production. Roditis, muscat of Patras, muscat of Rion, mavrodafni and black Corinth currant, from which the famous Patras Mavrodafni is produced, are wine grape varieties of excellent quality and wonderful aromas.
The gastronomic landmark of Patras are the facilities of Achaia Clauss Domaine, the first Greek Winery (1861) and the most visited winery in Greece. It was founded by the Bavarian Gustav Clauss and is in fact an entire residential complex with tile-paved paths around stone towers, historic buildings, cellars full of huge barrels each one having its own history, since they are dedicated to important personalities who have visited its famous cellars. The winery of Parparoussis, one of the most important personalities of the Greek Wine, is located on the outskirts of Patras. Tentura is a famous and particular liqueur with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and mavrodafni extracts, dating back to the 15th century.
Typical dishes of the region are frumenty and toutomakia pasta, while the flagship of the city is the locum.
Greek Gastronomy Guide
Gastronomy destination: Nemea
Nemea is a historical city of the Antiquity, situated in the mountains that surround and almost hide the town. The largest Greek vineyard of 25,000,000m2 extends in the area where grows “agiorgitiko”, the most important and popular local red wine grape variety, a “poly-dynamic” variety that can produce from every day, easy to drink, fresh, fruity wines to full body, rich and long-term aging wines.
A trip to Nemea is like a journey to myths, together with Hercules who is striving to achieve his first labor and kill the Nemean Lion, and the Nymph who offered him a glass of the “black” wine of Nemea.
Turning points of the history of the Nemean vineyard are: the year 1869, when a wine called “Acrocorinth” was exported to Germany, UK and USA as a Greek wine, the year 1938 when the first Cooperative winery started its operation, the year 1965 when it first bottled its wine, and the year 1971 when PDO Nemea wines were first acknowledged.
In Nemea there has been an unprecedented frenzy over the last 30 years (1990-2020). Old wineries are restored, while new ones are established. Along all the scenic routes in the middle of the vineyards one can find sign boards with the names of the wineries dispersed all over the region. From the large and impressive wineries to the small family and traditional ones, 42 wineries have created the modern myth of the area.
The NEMEA Winemakers Association (SON) has played an important role in promoting the PDO Nemea wines, since every summer it organizes together with the Municipality of Nemea the Great Days of Nemea as well as a series of other events and exhibitions in many Greek cities.
The wines of Nemea, the wineries opened to visitors, the extremely beautiful vineyards associated with the historic monuments of the region are a very good reason to make a short break, while at the same time they are the best background for turning the region into a fascinating wine tourism destination.
In addition to xinomavro, Corinthian Currants grow in the wine-growing area of Nemea, and 90% of them are exported to Europe, the USA and Canada.
Greek Gastronomy Guide
Gastronomy destination: Aigialia
Aigialia is a zone of land facing the Gulf of Corinth to the North while to the South it is covered by the Mountains of Chelmos and Panachaiko. It is an extensive mountainous area defined by the rivers of Vouraikos and Selinoundas as well as another nine small water streams that create impressive gorges the most important of which is the Gorge of Vouraikos and its Odontotos rack railway, the most spectacular railway line in the Balkans.
Aigialia is a captivating destination where the peace of the mountains matches the wildness of the gorges and ravines, the impressive mountainsides, wooded with vines, fruit-bearing trees, olive trees, citrus trees and the beaches with pebbles and clean fresh waters in the summer.
The Aigialia vineyard stretches over this area. It is one of the most beautiful vineyards in Greece producing the famous Corinthian Currants and the grape variety of Roditis, and one of the most interesting wine-growing zones in the world, according to Mrs. Stavroula Kourakou-Dragona, the Grande Dame of the Greek wine. Aigio, the “balcony of the Gulf of Corinth” is the capital of Aigialia. In terms of gastronomy, along the coasts of the Gulf of Corinth one can find fresh fish and seafood cooked in many different ways, the best meze being “bourgeto”, a strew mainly made with monkfish, ray and fresh cod. In the plain, the scanty water supplies of the small water streams revive the beautiful orchards with lemon and other citrus trees. In the semi-mountainous areas, the widely traveled black currant Vostitsa, necessary for the British pudding is the dominant crop. The currant fields keep company to the olive groves that produce olive oil and olives, since the traditional olive growing gets lost in the mists of time.
Aigialia is the homeland of the roses to produce the rose syrup. Typical dishes of the region of Aigialia are, in addition to the bourgeto, asproyiachni, kagianas, codfish with currants, stuffed vine leaves, vergadi (goat) with green beans and kid with oregano and olive oil.
Oenoxenia, a series of events organized in August in the area of Aigialia are a valuable showcase for this unique destination and promote the modern culture and the gastronomy of the region.
Greek Gastronomy Guide
Gastronomy destination: Kalavryta
These last years, the heroic town of Kalavryta has become one of the most popular winter destinations in Greece thanks to its ski center (the ski center of Chelmos is the second in Greece in terms of traffic).
Breathtaking sceneries, such as the Vouraikos Gorge and its rack railway, the Cave of the Lakes, the Planiteros plane tree forest, the fir forest of Chelmos, the various monuments to visit and contemplate, such as the Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust, the Monastery of Mega Spileo and Aghia Lavra Monastery, the railway station and the hangouts where the local gastronomy finds its ideal expression, and high level accommodation facilities, are all a very good reason -in addition to its proximity to Athens- for Kalavryta to be ranked among the first destinations of a traveler.
In terms of gastronomy, the town of Kalavryta is proud of its stock raising activity and its dairy products (Kalavryta dairy cooperative is one of the largest and most modern as well as financially healthy cooperatives in Greece) and in particular is proud of its barrel-aged feta cheese, its meats, its traditional pasta products, its fir tree honey, its trouts, its mushrooms and its herbs.
Among many taverns and restaurants, one can find some top ones that comply with different criteria, one of which is the personality of their owners. Cheerful, convivial, friendly and always harpy to serve their customers, they are the best ambassadors of Kalavryta gastronomy.
Among the tempting and delicious dishes preference is given to various types of pies (cheese pies, vegetable pies, meat and leek pies), stew meat with traditional pasta (rooster, rabbit), kid with oregano and olive oil, stew with baby onions (wild boar, pork), but Kalavryta is the heaven on earth for those who love BBQ (lamb on the spit, kokoretsi, splinandero, all kind of grilled steaks).