The Cheese Production Award went to the Vassila Cheese Factory of Mytilene, for a fine oil cheese during the 16th annual K magazine Gastronomos Quality Awards ceremony, which this year was focused on those who test their creative powers in the reaches of country.
This year “Gastronomos” awarded accrites, “bright”, active and dynamic people, who stand out not only for the quality of the food they produce, but also for their morals, and who by their example act as a motivation for other young people to to stay and work in their place. In addition to the VASILA Cheese Factory, other units located in the north-eastern Aegean also stood out.
The Cheese Products Production award went to the Vassila Cheese Factory of Mytilene, for a fine oil cheese. Its concentrated taste, ideal maturation and musky aroma are due to the passion of Giorgos Vassilas from the Mesotopos of Lesvos. A fourth-generation graduate cheesemaker, Giorgos receives the fresh milk directly from the family farm’s milking parlor with 2,000 goats and sheep of the local breed at dawn. With traditional, inherited recipes, he makes a series of fine lesbian cheeses in the small family unit. The Legume Production Award highlighted the work done by the Prespa Top company of the young Manolis and Vassilis Dimitropoulos from Lefkona Prespa. With vision and hard work they multiplied the family estates. Today their small company produces 90 tons of PGI Prespa elephant beans and flat megasperma, while also managing 60 tons from other producers. Not only that, but with their work and presence they give life to the small village of 100 inhabitants, a breath of fresh air from the border.
Limnos and Chios
The Wine Production Award went to Limnos and indeed to four active and outgoing wineries of the island: the Agricultural Cooperative Limnos Wines, the Garali Winery, the Hatzigeorgiou Estate and Limnos Organic Wines. They make some of the country’s most renowned wines, capturing the essence of the desert island with its dry-thermal terroir and volcanic soils. Working with local varieties, they highlight the wine tradition of Lemnos.
The prize for the best honey was won by Dimitris Hasapis of Limnios. He fell in love with bees in 2001 and since then he has been producing a top product deeply aromatic from the virgin wild thyme meadows of Lemnos, mainly in the coastal area of Moudros and Skandalis. Its honey, according to an analysis by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition of the University of the Aegean, has a high content of wild thyme pollen and a strong antimicrobial effect, superior to that of the famous Manuka.
The Association of Mastic Producers of Chios, founded in 1938, won the Entrepreneurship Award. It is the cooperative that organizes the production and marketing of mastic and the founder of Mediterra, a subsidiary company that undertakes the marketing of the unique Greek product. Its executives modernized the promotion of mastic for its unique properties, founded the mastihashops, won international markets and this year they are inaugurating the Center for Mastic Research, which will investigate new uses in the food and pharmaceutical industry. Today they produce a huge range of products – from food to cosmetics.
Regarding the awards, the Honorary Award was given to Angeliki Giannakidou. The founder and president of the Ethnological Museum of Thrace is a tireless guardian of the Thracian tradition, which she has been documenting for decades with the aim of preserving and promoting it.
The Olive Oil Production Award was awarded to Konos – Micheli Estate, which has been producing for four generations on the land of Hebrides. The Honey Production Award traveled to the North Aegean and Lemnos this year, with Honey Hasapis as the recipient.
the Cheese Production Award went to Vasila Cheese Factory of Lesvos for its outstanding oil cheese, while the Wine Production Award went to not one, not two, but four wineries from Lemnos that stick with indigenous varieties and have become the best advertisers of the place them: the Limnos Wines Agricultural Cooperative, the Garalis Winery, the Hatzigeorgiou Estate and Limnos Organic Wines.
The Consumer Product Award was won by Thrace Mills – I. Ouzounopoulos S.A., while the Entrepreneurship Award was won by the Mastic Producers Union of Chios and the Mediterra SA company. rare and fine local products, this year went as far as the Dodecanese and the Kasos – Ioannis Bonapartis Cheese Factory. Our critical lakes were honored with two distinctions: the Pulses Production Award was awarded to Prespa top, while the Meat and Cold Cuts Production Award was awarded to Kerkini farm.
Finally, the Special Prize was awarded to the “lady of the rock”, Rinio Katsotourchi-Thiraou, the only resident of Kinaros and a living symbol of what it means to be akritas.
Photos: Konstantinos Tsakalides.