by Yiannis Adilini
The journey of "Gastronomo" to explore and promote authentic Cypriot products continues. In March, they organized six blind tastings* over three different days, where "G" tasters sampled 62 different product labels. These products were evaluated using specific criteria and methodology in the welcoming space of Kamara, a bar-restaurant in Nicosia. All the tasted products are integral to Cypriot cuisine, and "G" believes that in order to progress, knowledge of tradition must be present. They have been organizing the Quality Awards annually since 2014.
The blind tastings included evaluations of extra virgin olive oil, traditional halloumi made from goat's milk, and fresh, soft, unsalted anari cheese. When it came to beverages, the tastings focused on Zivania spirits (non-aged) and premium red wines. The evaluation criteria took into consideration factors such as a barrel or jar aging, the use of indigenous or foreign grape varieties from the 2016-2020 vintages, and the availability of these wines on the market. For white wines, only labels from Xynisteri single vineyard or those of superior quality from the 2020-2022 vintages were considered. These tastings showcased premium Cypriot wines, which are the flagship products of wineries and are gradually gaining recognition on restaurant wine lists and in the hearts of wine enthusiasts.
The "G" tasting panel consists of the following members: Fotis Papadimas, professor at T.P.A.K.; Tassos Kyriakidis, olive oil sommelier and researcher in Epidemiology and Health at Yale University; Deni Kallivoka, wine and beverage journalist, editor of Difford's Guide Greece & Cyprus, and founder of Aegean Cocktails & Spirits & Athens Cocktail Festival; Marilena Ioannidou, Cypriot cuisine chef and olive oil sommelier; Elina Christofidou, official in charge of wine and gastronomy at the State Ministry of Tourism (Special Interests Sector); Athena Loizidou, chef, cookbook author, and contributor to "G"; Andreas Emmanouil, sommelier and honorary president of the Cyprus Association of Oenologists, as well as founder of the Cyprus Oenophiles Group; George Tsantiotis, restaurateur and chef; George Kassianos, sommelier and president of the Cyprus Association of Oenologists; Alyssa Tosoudi, head sommelier at Amathus Beach Hotel; Katerina Psomadelis, sommelier at Pralina Experience; Apostolos Kouroupakis, journalist and editor-in-chief of "Kathimerini" and the cultural insert "Zoe"; Marinos Marinou, olive oil sommelier; Kyriakos Fokou, chef at To Patriko; and Yannis Adilinis, journalist, radio producer, and responsible for Quality Awards.
"G" had the pleasure of tasting exceptional products that showcased outstanding quality characteristics and excellent raw materials. These products were crafted by passionate, dedicated producers who possess a strong sense of integrity, conscientiousness, and a forward-looking vision. These artisans truly believe in their creations and have garnered our utmost respect and admiration. Their unique offerings have captured our hearts and continue to receive our unwavering support.
The outcomes of the tastings will be unveiled during the Gastronomos Quality Awards ceremony, scheduled to take place at the end of June. We are delighted to have the Bank of Cyprus as our esteemed sponsor for this event.
* To ensure transparency, all blind tastings conducted by "G" were recorded on video and are securely retained.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]