Events

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Croatia – A country of Unexpected Treasures

I recently went on inspection visit for our Love Floris, to ensure our guests travelling there will have a wonderful experience. I was welcomed by a coutry with rich history, wonderful scenery, delicious food and a love for Mythology.

Some of the highlights of my trip included

 

The stunning Galeria Mestrovic in Split, an art museum edicated to the work of the 20th-century sculptor, Ivan Meštrović.

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Our Lady of the Rocks, an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks

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According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by Croat local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays.

Staying at the fabulous Meneghetti hotel, with a vineyard one could only dream of

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Having freshly caught and cooked oysters on Peter’s private island. The oysters tasted even better thanks to Peter: He was humble, exciting, genuine  and authentic – a truly incredible man.

I am not a huge fan oysters so I was originaly apprehensive, but it turned out to be the most amazing experience of the trip. We had mussels cooked with onions and garlic and white wine, fresh bread as well as red wine of his region.

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Visiting Trogir, known as the town of Happy Moments

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A Private tour to collect truffles with Nikola in his truffle garden

Nikola is an extraordinary young man who has devoted his life to his dogs and truffle hunting. You can read more about him in the New York times article, which you can find here.

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The beautiful drawings made by children in the port of Split

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Some useful phrases in Croatian

Hello – Bok

Welcome – Dobrodošli

Good morning – Dobro jutro

Good afternoon – Dobar dan

Cheers! Good Health! – Živjeli!

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Easter in Karyes

In te Greek Orthodox faith, Easter is the most sacred observance. The preparations and customs, including traditional foods and large feasts, remain an important part of modern Greek life.

Toward the end of Holy Week, which is between Palm Sunday and Easter, the preparations for Easter come to a climax. While each region may have its own local customs associated with Easter, there are several traditions that are observed by everyone.

In my beloved village of Karyes in Laconia (famously the sancuary of the goddess Artemis – and the village the caryatids were named after) we have many wonderful traditions.

Traditions

  • Holy Friday is a day of mourning and not one of work (including cooking).  The Epitaph is decorated with fresh field flowers and it is carried through the village.IMG_8654
  • When the Epitaph passes, women lay a tile with lit charcoal and incense next to their doors.IMG_8660
  • On Holy  Saturday, the Eternal Flame is brought to Greece by a military jet and is distributed to waiting priests who carry it to their local churches. The event is always televised and if there’s a threat of bad weather or a delay, the entire country agonizes until the flame arrives safely. The pilot in the photo is our very own Floris Family Pilot, my nephew here Manolis shown here delivering “agio fos”, the holy light to islands all over Greece.IMG_3038

Food

  • On Great Tuesday, traditional Easter cookies are baked in local bakeries Καταγραφή
  • In Karyes, we also eat kourampiedes during Easter  – a cookie that is traditionally eated during Christmas in the rest of GreeceIMG_3695
  • On Holy Thursday, the traditional Easter bread, tsoureki, is baked.
  • Eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ. From ancient times, the red eggs have been a symbol of the renewal of life, carrying the message of the victory over death.IMG_8661
  • On Great Saturday, Magiritsa is cooked. The traditional mayiritsa soup—which uses the organs and intestines of the lamb that will be roasted—is prepared. This will be eaten after the midnight service.IMG_3693

Godmother and Godfather Duties

In Greece, godparents are not only tasked with baptizing a child. They are responsible for guiding them in life and in faith – as well as pampering them! In the Greek Orthodox religion, Easter offers several godparent traditions.

  • As part of Greek-Orthodox tradition, every Easter godparents give their godchildren a “lambatha”, a playfully decorated candle.IMG_8668
  • Godparents also buy an Easter outfit for their godchildren, including the Easter shoesIMG_8666
  • A Chocolate egg is always a good idea and will earn the Godparent some extra hugs!
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Vasilopita – A Greek Tradition

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We all know the way too celebrate the New Year, between the fireworks and the champagne, but as Greeks, we have a special and unique tradition: that of the VASILOPITA.

A Vasilopita is a traditional Greek cake or bread served at midnight on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the life of Saint Basil. Vasilopita is made of a variety of doughs, depending on the region and almost every family has it’s own recipe. The Vasilopita is also decorated with almonds, which create the year number. When decorating with the almond, each one is ‘wished upon’, thus the almonds become wishes for the new year: prosperity, health and luck.
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 IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT LUCKY COIN
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Each family will cut the vasilopita with two slices, making a cross. After baking the vasilopita cake, a coin is inserted through the base and when cut the person who finds the coin is said to be granted luck for the rest of the year. The pieces are cut in a particular order:  The first piece is for Christ, the next piece is cut for the needy and then a piece for the house. The rest of the pieces are now cut for members of the family, starting with the head of the household, then each member of the family in
order from eldest to youngest, including those that are absent.
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No one is allowed to look at their piece until everyone is given theirs. Then, once the server or the head of the household gives his or her okay, everyone checks to see if they found the coin – the lucky one with the coin in his or her piece is the one who is going to have a fortuitous year!
In older times, the coin was often a valuable one, such as a gold sovereign. Nowadays there is often a gift that corresponds to the coin, usually a charm that is given to the coin recipient.
History of Vasilopita

The history of vasilopita can be traced back to the ancient festivals of Kronia and Saturnalia and is connected to a legend of Saint Basil. In honor of Saint Basil, or Agios Vasilios, people bake this bread every year. The tradition has evolved from the original story and now whoever finds the coin is said to have good luck for the rest of the year. However, the bread itself does serve as a reminder for all that Agios Vasilios did for people of Greece.

Recipe

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We woul love to share this recipe with you, from one of the best Greek Pastry chefs Stelios Parliaros, who happens to be a good friend, which you can find here.
Ingredients
  • 250 g butter
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 125 g ground almonds
  • 125 g ground pistachios
  • 6 eggs
  • 250 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 300 g dried fruit, finely chopped
  • 200 ml Amaretto
Method
Soak the dried fruit in the Amaretto. Beat the butter, sugar and ground nuts until they are fluffy. Blend the dried fruit together with the Amaretto and add to the mixture continuing beating for a while longer. Add the eggs gradually. Add the flour and the baking powder, beating continually. Butter a baking pan and dust it with flour, place the mixture in it and bake at 180°C for one hour.
Καλή Χρονιά, sending you sweet and lucky wishes!

Christmas Thoughts

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Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult to be beautiful. Here, we offer simple yet elegant little touches that you can use to decorate your home for Christmas and make a difference. From making Christmas candy and baking Christmas cookies, to decorating Christmas trees and gift ideas, find what you need to plan a perfect Christmas Decoration.

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  • Start planning your decoration around the element you currently loving, like favourite colours, and build from there. That object or color dictates the whole mood and theme of the table and setting. Don’t hesitate to go beyond the Green and Red (even though they always look beautiful) and explore the festive touches of white, silver and gold.IMG_3542
  • Use your heirlooms – Silverware looks beautiful filled with nuts and makes Christmas decorations extra special. 
  • Aim to update your decor in a way that feels seasonal and festive and add seasonal touches: garlands and wreaths are always fabulous. You can also concentrate on having a variety of beautiful candles or making a wonderful holiday drink based on champagne like the one you can find here.

  • Though it’s about also about creating Instagram-worthy setups, aim to go beyond just the visuals for your decorations. Carefully put together a playlist to set the mood and light a woodsy candle or a roaring fire. Accentuate them with bowls of nuts and baubles to reflect the warm setting.IMG_3547\
  • Continue the tradition of making cookies. When your guests arrive, you can also offer a Christmas Cheese Display, with fresh bread, dried fruits and surrounded by winter flowers.IMG_7458 (2)
  • It’s great to send your guests home with a small gift. For winter parties you can give gingerbread mixes, hot chocolate or mulling spices. It’s a fun activity to wrap the gifts as you’re getting ready for a party, and a way for your guests to take a little piece of the evening home with them making the evening just a bit more special. Make sure to serve something unique and different like these Baked Alaska’s in a lollipop.1
For example, on a professional note, Floris Special Events has created a Christmas Wedding recently in New York. Here are some pictures of the marvellous event

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December – It’s all about Birthdays!

What birthdays are all about
They say your birthday is just another day, so why go the extra mile?
It is another day. Nonetheless, why should that stop you from celebrating the joy of life? Why should it stop us from taking a few minutes, hours or an entire day to take stock of your life, your people, and most importantly, count your blessings.
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But what happens when you grown up? Is it tacky to throw a birthday party for yourself? If you ask me, birthdays are even better as an adult! When you host a birthday party for yourself, the size and style of your party is entirely up to you, including your choice of food, fun, and even the cake flavor. That’s better than anything you had as a kid, right?
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Birthday parties are like road trips: getting there is half the fun. Deciding on the theme, decorations, and activities makes the days leading up to the event seem like part of the celebration itself. It needn’t be elaborate — your friends will be happy with a small party as long as they are made to feel special. However, even a simple party requires planning; the sooner you start organizing, the earlier the excitement begins and the fewer details you’ll have to work out on the day itself.
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Celebrate each birthday – the big ones like someone’s 1st and 16th and your own big birthdays. I love my birthday and my zodiac sign. It’s fun to know your zodiac sign, yout birthstones (the ones for Sagittarius are topaz, amethyst, ruby, sapphire, and turquoise) and celebrities that have the same birthday as you (mine is Stephen Spielberg).
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I was blessed of having great birthdays because of my children. It is a family tradition for us to celebrate big birthdays and a few years ago I celebrated mine- my 60th birthday! My best friend and daughter designed something extraordinary at the Armani restaurant in New York. It was incredibly special, as they had taken the time to create something memorable that was exactly what I would have wished for and more. All pictures in this article are from this wonderful birthday!
 
Each Birthday is my favourite birthday!
Do’s and don’ts, inspired by the fabulous party thrown by my best friend and daughter in New York
– Send great invitations. Even though technology has evolved, everyone appreciates a stunning invite to a party. Send a save the date six months before and the invitation 6 weeks before the party, so that everyone that will have to travel can be there.
– Don’t forget the importance of doing things that have sentimental value: my daughter wore a dress, shoes and jewelry that I used to wear 30 years ago
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–  Always keep birthday calendar – although facebook is very helpful as it announces birthdays each day
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– Have a great photographer to capture every moment. At my party,  the wonderful Philippe Cheng took beautiful pictures of everything
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– Design the menu- know what your guests like and don’t forget to offer many options for your vegan and vegetarian friends
– The cake:
We all know it isn’t a party without a frosted mound of sugary goodness lit with candles. When you’re a whole year older, isn’t your birthday resolution to try something new? How about a red velvet cske, a pistachio cake, brownie sundae ice cake, or a light-as-air “cloud” cake! Today, so many wonderful pastry chefs personalise cakes with so many interesting things. Mine was black and white, themed “New York and Athens” and created by the wonderful Philippe Cheng

– Select a great place. My party took place at the Armani ristorante, which I absolutely love!
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– Themes are very important and create a great atmosphere. As I love black and white, mine was black and white glamour
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– Send thank you notes at the end to let your friends know how much you appreciated their presence
-It’s all about the guestlist. Invite people you love, business associates and people that know how to have a good time
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-If your party is at home make sure to send a gift to the neighbours (sentimental value gifts). Everything is about the idea and the thought behind, it, not the gift. its showing someone you know them and want them to be happy
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– Drinks are important for a good party! Try this cocktail dedicated to Sagittarians, which uses a base of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, distilled from Swedish potatoes only once, yielding an earthy flavor. Add pepper, dill, tonic, and a hint of lime.
-Give out seasonal favours at the end. Mine was armani hot cocoa!
– Have treats for your guests to enjoy through the party. My party had a black and white candy bar
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– Dress attire: It’s important for people to know how to dress, especially when it’s a birthday party
 Once a month we’re going to post special birthday pictures and themes – Any excuse to celebrate!