Tag Archives: Chocolate Moderne

Gift Guide for the Greek Lover

6 Dec

Whether you’re giving a Greek American a taste of their homeland when they can’t make it back for the holidays or satiating a Hellenophile’s interest in Greek culture, there are countless foods, books, beauty products, and jewelry that will suit your needs.  Plus, select a gift made in Greece and you’ll also be supporting the struggling Greek economy.  Here’s just a small selection of Greek gift ideas, some made in the States, some in Greece, and others elsewhere, but all unique and lovely.

Gifts for the Greek food lover:::

 

Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors by Janet Fletcher

 

How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking by Michael Psilakis

A selection of delicious dressings and marinades from Sophia’s Gourmet Foods

A selection of three different flavors of honey from Odysea Shop

Traditional Greek preserves (rose petal and pergamot) by Monastiri

Kalamata olive oil

Ouzo candies

Pavlidis Dark Chocolate

Pastelli with honey

Bonus tip! – Gifts appear so much nicer when they come as a set.  You may want to give a cookbook with some Greek spices.  A duo or trio of a certain type of product (such as honey or olive oil) is a great way for the recipient to try out a few flavors.  Or, you may want to give a gift basket of assorted Greek candies.

 

Gifts for someone who loves Greek literature:::

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antigonick by Sophocles, translated by Anne Carson, illustrations by Bianca Stone

The Greek Poets: Homer to Present by Peter Constantine

 

The Odyssey: A Pop-up Book by Sam Ita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holidays on Ice by David Sederis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bossypants by Tina Fey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor

Subscription to Greek America Magazine

Bonus tip! – Trying pairing the book with a book light, a notebook and pen, a bookmark with a quote by a Greek philosopher, or a coffee mug (maybe even with a bag of Greek coffee).

 

Gifts to make someone feel like a beautiful and pampered Greek goddess:::

Beauty products from Korres.  I would especially recommend Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. You can read my review here.

Olive oil body lotion by Olivia

Jewelry by Konstantino

Bonus tip! – Include a lovely handwritten letter.  A bottle of Greek wine (here’s my review of the Greek American wine Pindar) or some fine Greek chocolates (here’s my review of the Greek American chocolatier Chocolate Moderne) would also make someone feel loved and pampered.

 

As the Greek proverb says, “A gift, though small, is welcome.”

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Gripster: Storm Stylin’

26 Aug

 

Hey all you hurricane hipsters, hopefully Hurricane Irene will blow out to the ocean and this whole state-of-emergency situation will have just been the government’s effort to revitalize the economy through the mass purchase of flashlights (you know us Greeks love our conspiracy theories) but just in case here are some tips for staying storm styling during Hurricane Irene:::

If you’re like me and totally unprepared for any sort of emergency and don’t own a flashlight, shame on you!  By now, all the flashlights are gone.  Even finding candles in the drugstores is getting hard.  Get creative.  Barnes & Noble* is a tranquil oasis right now, and they just so happen to sell a wide variety of battery-operated reading lights.  Just because it’s for reading, doesn’t mean you can’t use it to find your can opener if the lights go out.

While you’re there, pick up the Barnes & Noble* ereader the nook if you don’t already have one.  Charge it up pronto and download some books.  If the power is out for a long time, you’ll have plenty of reading material.

It’s still a good idea to have some candles on hand.  If you can’t find any at the drugstore or grocery store, that’s okay.  Class it up with some scented candles from Bath & Body Works.  I picked up the Cranberry Woods one during the winter holiday sale and am loving it; right now their summer scents are on sale.  (PS: I’m obsessed with the Black Currant Vanilla aromatherapy line, if you ever want to buy me a you’re-my-favorite-blogger gift.  But that could be weird if I don’t know you.  Hm, never mind.)

Speaking of scents, if we don’t have access to water that means you won’t be able to shower.  I suggest some perfume or body splash to keep you smelling fresh.  I’ve got Bath & Body Works‘ Plumeria body splash (which always makes me think of my Hawaiian friend from undergrad) and Zara‘s Creme (which my sister gave me).  And remember, just because you can’t shower doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reapply your deoderant.

Now you may not be able to wash your hair but you can use an oil-absorbing dry shampoo.  I’ve used the TRESemme dry shampoo with mixed results.  That said, I do favor their regular shampoo and condition.  And, they don’t test on animals.

Another great animal- and eco-friendly company is The Body Shop, where I’ve been shopping since middle school.  I love the Tea Tree Oil line, and today stocked up on their cleansing wipes in case I won’t have access to water to wash my face.  Bonus: there’s a buy 2 get 1 free sale on select lines right now at The Body Shop.

While at The Body Shop, I also picked up anti-bacterial hand sanitzers in my most favorite scents satsuma and pink grapefruit.  I normally advise against these sorts of anti-bacterial hand sanitizers because I fear using it will lead to the creation of a resistant super-bug, but hey, you’ve got to have clean hands somehow if there isn’t good old-fashioned soap and water.  Plus these ones smell amazing, unlike some brands that smell like rubbing alcohol.

If you wear contacts, keep your stylish glasses in an easy to locate place.  In fact, make a to-go bag of all your critical necessities (medication, keys, cash, etc.).

Now in terms of food, non-perishables does not have to mean SPAM!  The Village Voice published a great piece called “How to Stock Up for Irene: A Gourmet Guide to Hoarding.”  And all you Gripsters (Greek hipsters) will be happy to know they call stuffed grape leaves (ahem, dolmathes) ” the queen of canned vegetable matter.”  A shout out to my Swedish side, they also suggest Swedish hardtack.

I’m getting word via social media that the Trader Joe‘s line is crazy insane right now (which, really, is nothing new), but another great Greek food to have on hand is the Trader Joe’s Kalamata olive spread.  If you get it fresh in Astoria like you normally would it will need to be refrigerated, which isn’t good if the power goes out.  But the Trader Joe’s version doesn’t need to be refrigerated til after it’s opened.

Nutella!

Have some nuts on hand for protein.  Unsalted is best so you don’t drink all your water.

Instead of potato chips, why not veggie chips?  I got mine from Gourmet Garage.

I couldn’t find a single jug of water.  But you know what I could find?  Perrier.  Now I can feel fancy during the storm.  And to ghetto it up, before the storm hits, fill up your Brita water filter, travel mugs, coffee pots, flower vases, sauce pots, you name it, with tap water just in case.

I’ve seen a lot of people buying alcohol.  Not to sound like your yiayia but I’d caution against drinking alcohol during Hurricane Irene.  Not only will it dehydrate you, causing you to drink more of whatever precious water you have, but should you need to evacuate you need to be as clear-headed as possible.

You should indulge in something though.  I recommend chocolate!  My friend Sally gave me a milk-chocolate bark and a dark-chocolate bark from Jacques Torres Chocolate.  Let’s not forget about the Greek American chocolate brand Chocolate Moderne I mentioned in my recap of the Gabby Awards after party.  Gourmet chocolate won’t prevent the hurricane but if you’re stuck inside your apartment during torrential rains you might as well eat something sinfully delicious.

How are you staying storm stylin’?

 

*I work for a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble.

2011 Gabby Awards: The After Party

14 Jun

Are you sick of hearing about the 2011 Gabby Awards yet?  I’m going to skip over the actual awards ceremony itself because as the main event it’s already gotten press coverage elsewhere.  What I want to talk about now is the after party!  I mean, let’s be honest here, most of the time when you’re at home on your couch watching the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards you have to sit through an awful lot of boring acceptance speeches.  Don’t you really wish you could find out who’s dancing with whom at the after parties?  I have to hand it to the Gabby Awards, though: instead of a bunch of “I’d like to thank my publicist” speeches, the winners shared beautiful and tender stories of immigration and growing up Greek American.  I was thoroughly engaged and inspired.

After the 2011 Gabby Awards ceremony on Ellis Island, we boarded a ferry to Chelsea Piers.  You may recall I recently spent an afternoon exploring Chelsea Piers.  Not surprisingly, the awards ceremony had run waaaaaaay over schedule.  Hey, we were on Greek time, what do you expect?  We’re notorious for being late.  We were tired and hungry and probably felt a tinge of what our Greek ancestors felt when they were coming into Ellis Island all those years ago.  The pitch-black sky was perfect for witnessing the surprise Gabby Awards founder Gregory Pappas had arranged: the Empire State Building lit up in the colors of the Greek flag!

When we got to Chelsea Piers at 11:30 pm, Greek American Iron Chef Cat Cora had prepared a special buffet dinner for us.  Cat Cora was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, so her food is a unique pairing of Greek and Southern flavors.  Unfortunately for me (a vegetarian), both Greek and Southern cooking tend to focus on meat.  My tablemates told me the moussaka was delicious.  I particularly enjoyed Cat Cora’s melitzanosalata (a flavorful eggplant spread) and her more innovative asagio orzo.

If you go to Cat Cora’s website, she offers some free recipes.  My dad is obsessed with avocados (you’ll have to wait to read my memoir for the story behind this) so I want to tell him about her avocado tzatzkiki spread.

I have to admit, though, I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so even before I checked out the main course I was at the dessert table!  And it was to the dessert table I kept returning.  There were too-pretty-to-eat cookies by Eleni’s, a bakery I’ve languished in many times.  There were tiny squares of bliss by Chocolat Moderne.  I’m a sucker for gourmet chocolates.  What I loved about Chocolate Moderne, founded by Greek American chocolatier Joan Coukos, is that the gourmet chocolate company invokes classic Greek flavors in their chocolates.  Does Kalamata olives and chocolate sounds like a strange flavor combination?  It’s not.  It’s ammmmazing!  The dessert table also featured the best cupcake I have ever tasted, by the Greek American sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne behind Georgetown Cupcakes.  Seriously, Magnolia Bakery has nothing on Georgetown Cupcakes.  My sister’s a huge cupcake fan (not quite to the extent that my dad is obsessed with avocados but let’s just say she’s done a lot “research” into finding the best cupcakes in NYC) so I’m thinking we have to take a roadtrip to DC this summer to meet these Greek American cupcake sisters and eat their cupcakes!

As we ate all the delicious food and drank hearty glasses of pinot noir the band played Greek music.  Glykeria took to the stage to perform.  She is so cute and put on a great show.  It wasn’t long before many of us had pushed the tables and white couches away to start dancing.  Some people even got up on the tables and started dancing.  If you’ve ever been to a Greek restaurant or club, you know this is not at all uncommon.

But did I mention the dessert table??