Who said that Greece is only famous for ouzo, raki and good wine? Greek beers may not be as popular as in other European countries, but there are some serious efforts worth mentioning, and even more worth tasting!
Though most Greek beers are not widely known, there are some, like Volkan Beer from Santorini island that have been awarded internationally. So if you’re the type who enjoys an ice-cold brewsky while watching the game with buddies, or loves sitting by the fireplace with friends nibbling on a Greek “meze,” search for these quenchers…μπύρες
Greece has long been a family holiday favorite with itsbeautiful blue waters, child-friendly beaches and abundance of flavour-packed fare. Make sure you sample all the country has to offer with our pick of delicious dishes…
A mainstay of any Greek meal are classic dips such as tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic),melitzanosalata(aubergine), andfava(creamy split pea purée). But the delectabletaramasalata(fish roe dip) is a must. This creamy blend of pink or white fish roe with either a potato or bread base is best with a drizzle of virgin olive oil or a squeeze of lemon.
Greeks have been cultivating olives for millennia…some even say that Athena gave an olive tree to the city of Athens, thus winning its favour. Greek meals are accompanied by local olives, some cured in a hearty sea salt brine, others like wrinklythroubes, eaten uncured from the tree.Similarly, olive oil, the elixir of Greece, is used liberally in cooking and salads, and drizzled over most dips and dishes.Many tavernas use their own oil.
Each region in Greece, in fact, each household, has its variation on the classic grape leaf-wrapped rice parcel. Eaten as a finger food, some stuffed vine leaves incorporate mincemeat with the long-grain rice, others, simply a heady combination of thyme, dill, fennel, oregano or pine nuts.
Variations on moussaka are found throughout the Mediterranean and Balkans, but the iconic Greek baked dish is based on layering: sautéed aubergine, minced meat fried pureed tomato, onion, garlic and spices like cinnamon and allspice, a bit of potato, and then a final fluffy topping of cheese and béchamel sauce.
Greeks are master of charcoal-grilled and spit-roasted meats. Souvlaki is still Greece’s favorite fast food, both the gyros and skewered meat versions wrapped in pitta bread, with tomato, onion and lashings of tzatziki. At the taverna, local free-range lamb and pork dominate, though kid goat is also a favorite.
Settle down at a seaside taverna and eat as locals have since ancient times. Fish and calamari fresh from the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas are incredibly tasty and cooked with minimum fuss – grilled whole and drizzled withladholemono(a lemon and oil dressing). Flavoursome smaller fish such asbarbounia(red mullet) andmaridha(whitebait) are ideal lightly fried.
Sometimes in the form of a patty, sometimes in a lightly fried ball, make sure to try these starters any chance you get. The body of the fritter is usually made of grated or pureed courgette blended with dill, mint, or other top-secret spice combinations. Paired with tzatziki, for its cooling freshness, you just can’t lose.
Along harbours, octopus hung out to dry like washing is one of the iconic images of Greece. Grilled or marinated, it makes a finemeze(appetiser), or as an entree stew it in wine sauce and serve it with pasta.
Octopus with rice
Feta & cheeses
When in Greece, be sure to sample the vast array of fresh cheeses. Ask behind market counters for feta kept in big barrels, creamy and delicious (nothing like the one in plastic tubs in markets outside of Greece). Or, sample graviera, a hard golden-white cheese, perfect eaten cubed, or fried assaganaki. At bakeries you’ll findtyropita (cheese pie), at tavernas, salads like Cretan dakos, which is topped with a crumbling of mizithra, a soft, white cheese.
Greeks love their sweets, often based on olive oil and honey combinations, with flaky filo pastry. The classic baklava is a start, layering honey, filo and ground nuts. Or trygalaktoboureko, a sinful custard-filled pastry. Simply, pour a lovely dollop of local thyme honey over fresh Greek yogurt.
What level of help do we need? Does my child need homework help, intensive remediation, or something in between?
What areas do we want to see the tutor improve: better scores in one subject (chemistry, geometry); improved general skills (math, reading, science); study skills; motivation?
What do I know about my child’s learning style? Does he learn best by reading, listening, moving, touching? Does he do better with men or women? Does he need lots of nurturing or a firm hand? What motivates and interests him?
How much time and money can you devote to tutoring? Don’t skimp, but be honest with yourself before you start.
Call your child’s school counselor or teacher and share your concern. Good counselors will have met with your child and should have files on her progress throughout her school career, her scores on standardized tests, and notes on possible personality problems. Most schools have a list of registered tutors on file in the counseling office. Often it’s in the form of resumes or fliers. Many times these are posted in a book for parents to look over before making a choice. Or schools may post them on a bulletin board for parents and students.
Check out the local paper. Many good tutors list their credentials there.
Ask friends and neighbors for ideas. Retired or “stay-at-home-parent” teachers may be willing to help out. Make sure they know the subject matter you need.
Call your local branch of a learning center like Sylvan or Kumon. Ask if your child fits their profile. Usually they work with general problems like reading comprehension, rather than specific subjects like biology or literature.
3. Test your options
Check credentials carefully. Ask questions to see how well their skills match your child’s needs:
What is your educational background? If the tutor will work on chemistry, she should have at least a college minor in chemistry. A different education is needed to teach first-grade reading.
What type of teaching experience do you have? Look for a tutor who has worked with students similar in age and ability to your child.
Meet with several candidates. Include your child and ask plenty of questions:
How do you evaluate each student’s needs? Find out whether the tutor will use standardized tests, school reports, or other forms of evaluation to discover your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
How long to you think you will need to prepare the lessons? Keep in mind that difficult subject matter will take longer to prepare, so expect to pay more for the extra preparation time.
What tutoring methods do you use? A skilled tutor will do more than just answer questions and do problems with students. He will assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses, prepare individualized materials and use “hands-on” materials wherever possible. He will work hand-in-hand with the classroom teacher, and most of all, give your child a “can-do” attitude and lots of positive reinforcement.
What do you expect from me? Good tutors need a family’s cooperation. They need parents to contact classroom teachers and ask for cooperation in making tutoring a success: a copy of the textbook they use; a syllabus of their class or subject; any extra worksheets they have that might facilitate the tutorial process.
How do you motivate your students? Think about what motivates your child, and seek a tutor who uses these methods.
What hours are you available? This question often makes or breaks a deal. You may have found the perfect tutor, but if she doesn’t fit your schedule you’re out of luck.
Where do you do your tutoring? Tutors usually choose a public place to tutor, like a library. However, if you have checked out the situation carefully, a home should be acceptable, especially if another person is at home during the session.
How long do you expect tutoring to last? A tutor can become a crutch, so it’s important to get an estimate of how long it will take to help your child develop the skills and confidence to succeed independently.
How much do you charge for your services? Cost varies greatly, depending on subject area, location, and the credentials of the tutor. Neighbors or friends may charge less, but remember, professional tutors charge professional rates.
What is the range of results you see? How much have other clients improved in the past?
Is there someone I can contact who knows your tutoring skills? You get references for electricians, doctors and dentists. Doesn’t it truly make sense to get a reference for the person who will be working very closely with your child?
4. Partner for results
Watch how your child relates to the tutor. Sit in on part of a session if possible. Your child must be comfortable, if you want to see success.
Monitor progress. Ask for feedback from your child, and see if your child’s grade gradually improves. If, after several sessions, you don’t see improvement or you feel a negative attitude in your child, move on to another tutor.
Finding — and keeping — a good tutor involves some work on your part. But then isn’t your child worth all the help you can give?