The Spice Board of India, Hotel Grande Bretagne Athens, and the Embassy of India have organized an “Indian Spice and Food Festival”, from 21 to 31 March 2006, at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, Syntagma Square, Athens. The event featured Indian menu at the GB Corner restaurant of the hotel, prepared under the supervision of Chef V. Anilkumar.
Spices are an integral part of India’s rich and diverse cuisine. The gastronomic expression of India’s cultural heritage is in its cuisine, which has been rapidly gaining popularity across the globe. An important objective of this Festival was to generate better awareness of Indian cuisine and encourage Greeks to try it out, and hopefully establish quality Indian cuisine in Greece on a long-term and sustained basis. The Spice and Food festival provides an opportunity for the Greek tourism industry to further enhance its products by providing Indian cuisine.
This Spice and Food Festival, brought to the Athenians the smells, flavours and tastes of the rich tapestry of spices of India. Spices are to Chefs, what colours are to the painter, notes are to the musician, emotions to the actor and writer. The Chef blends his spices into the food, and creates a work of art, which is perceived by our senses of taste and smell. Just like our eyes or ears help us experience a masterpiece of painting or music, so also our senses of taste and smell allow us to experience a masterpiece of cuisine. Like art, cuisine is not static, but develops and evolves in the hands of imaginative chefs.
Spices have played a part in the history of Greece. Since prehistory, man realized that certain plants could enrich food. Spices became a highly valued in Europe, and their trade became the key to fortune. On the other side, India produces 75 of the 109 listed spices and accounts for about 45% of the global spice exports. The Spices Board is responsible for activities such as: export promotion of spices; production development of some of them such as Cardamom and Vanilla; as well as quality certification and quality control, promotion of organic production, processing and certification of spices; and research & product development, etc. Besides use in foods, spices have medicinal and cosmetic uses. The Spice Board supports the establishment of a network of accredited laboratories for testing spices and spice products and issuing analytical certificates to the exporters / customers.