Eating & Cooking

Thanksgiving in New York

Thanksgiving in New York –like coming home for Christmas…

I’m laden with memories of my children when they were small, sharing love and warmth, preparing excitedly to go to the parade in Central Park West, see the million balloons at Macy’s, and absorb the spices and flavors filling the air. I long for these feelings of homeliness, tender closeness and being grateful for all the blessings we’ve received.

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I remember the days of getting together with people close and beloved that we might have seen each other only a while before or not for quite sometime and that making no difference… I remember friends, sharing moments difficult and beautiful, and owing them for being there for me in those young days of motherhood.

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This year, I was drawn again. The irresistible friends, my daughter Vivia and this home that always welcomes me and wraps me in its love and warmth. The pumpkin the turkey the hugs and the shops are all there and I am enchanted. Living my memories and living today. So thankful.

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After all, life is the family, the friends and the memories we make. And I am blessed with all three and giving thanks that I’ve been here yet again.

Home. For Thanksgiving.

 

Matrona’s festival, Santorini

The place, mesmerizing Santorini. The setting, delightful Village of Foinikia. The occasion, unique Matrona Festival. The people, new and old wonderful friends. The food, local mouth watering specialties, feasting on bakaliaros xelouristos (specially made bass) and fava beans. In magical October coloured by Santorini’s own, romantic and enchanting sunsets.

I was fortunate to be met with a great and delightful surprise while visiting the alluring Santorini when I coincided with the original Panigiri (Festival) dedicated to the Panagia Matrona celebrated in the island every October in the village of Foinikia.

It was everywhere. The streets, the squares, the cafes, the welcoming smiles and eyes of the locals opening homes and hearts in joy and pleasure to serve and include their guests in their preparation meals and the bustling atmosphere of their panigiri.

Authentic and joyous, an experience to be kept in the heart. Enjoy!!

 

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Fava beans, the other thing that Santorini is famous for! After 3600 years of cultivation in the volcanic soil of the island, fava beans from Santorini have recently been added to the EU’s list of Protected Designation of Origin products!

Taste and find out why Santorini fava beans are the best!

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HIT LIST 2015 – APRIL

The girls decided, that location scouting for “Love Floris” at the Cycladic islands during Greek Easter season, was ideal and they were right!

The trip started with Santorini, a beautiful island with impressive folk traditions, as well as recipes to die for!!

 

Holy Week in Orthodox Christianity is the week immediately before Easter. It is the last week of the 40 day Lent that leads to Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Here are some highlights of our great trip and some of our traditions:

Eggs are dyed red in a big pot and then shined with olive oil, on Good Thursday, symbolizing the blood of Christ.

On Holy Saturday after the celebration of the resurrection at midnight, people “use” the red eggs by trying to smash the “opponent’s” one, before peeling them off to eat them, the breaking of the egg symbolizes the breaking of Jesus’s tomb stone!

Easter sweet cookies /(kulurakia), another culinary tradition, are offered in every house, accompanying Greek coffee or sweetening breakfast time!

Spending “Good Friday” at Pirgos in Santorini was an unforgettable experience.

The mourning day of Jesus’s crucifixion, was commemorated with fires lit in metal baskets decorating the ledges of every house, offering a magnificent view in the evening.

The ‘Love Floris’ ladies pay their respect to the icon of the crucified Jesus, the smell of the Epitaph lilacs in the church was surrounding them.

Last but not least the experience of tasting a unique traditional pastry, “melitini”, in a cozy ( reminding the old times) local café at Kasteli, with the personal touch of Ms. Nafsika Lagada.

 

Ios was next, were we visited Vaso and her dynamic group of people.

They took us to all the beautiful sights, including Agalia (Hug) and Pathos (Passion), loving every moment of it!!

 

Our final location was Sifnos, were the weather was not that friendly but the people made up for it!

Marina Vernicos, a dear friend, of whom we have seen great work through her photographic lenses, graciously welcomed us in her home for a wonderful dinner.

That night was full of surprises with the epitome Takis Zacharatos, an old friend that I hadn’t seen for a very long time!!

We enjoyed every moment of our time there, what a beautiful island with my favorite spot being, a small church called Panagia Poulati.

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HIT LIST 2015 – JULY

July

Was a very exciting month, since we welcomed the Kindler family as our First “Love Floris” luxurious tour guests.
One of my favorite memories was, when I had the pleasure of giving cooking lessons to the children, teaching them how to make greek delicious stuffed tomatoes and traditional spinach pie, at the Arresana Hotel in Santorini.
We also had a magnificent night at the Herodion Theater where we heard Alkisti Protopsalti sing Ave Maria, what a voice!
And that was not all, we cruised the Aegean with the Aqua to so many islands. I will not forget the amazing service from the crew on board, they were wonderful!

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The Rocking Baby Shower

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Traditionally a baby shower celebrates the pending birth of a child, by presenting gifts to the mother at a party hosted by a close friend or relative.

Initially a baby shower celebrated the first born child with all the anticipation and exhilaration associated with such birth, and simultaneously the transformation of the woman into motherhood.

Not knowing in the past the gender of the birth, the party was a simplified affair with the dominant color being the neutral color “yellow” that could apply to all instances.  But the sonograms of today have evolved the shower into a more personalized event with specialized themes, from the invitation to the favors and everything in between.

Last May, Vivia, from Floris Special Events in New York and Lewis Miller, from LMD Design, had the pleasure of putting together a customized baby shower for a very special little boy who was due to arrive late June.  The theme that was chosen was a “rocking horse” (used throughout) with the coordinating colors being blue and beige.

The invitations of the shower are of the utmost importance as the shower is the first event celebrating the forthcoming birth.  It should make it more than clear to the friends and relatives the gender of the baby, and as the shower is held a month or so before the actual birth, it announces that the happy day is around the corner.

A well thought out shower invitation starts the process of exciting your guests with pleasurable anticipation of all the festivities that are to follow. It should include the venue, the date and time, the hostess but most importantly the gift registry as this facilitates the gift buying for your guests and prevents receiving gift duplications.

It should be a memorable and joyful event for everyone attending but most importantly for the mother to be.  Laughter should be the thread that binds.

After eating and chatting by all the friends, the gifts are opened to share in the joy of the upcoming event.

Last but not least are the table of sweets, or preferably called “candy bar”, that is a “must” in such a gathering, signifying a wish for the baby that he should enjoy a lifetime of kindness, sweetness and love.  The ultimate of course, is to have Olivier Chang’s signature on this item.