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Politics

Promoting Feta, “Taste from Europe, Authentic Greek Cheese”

April 11, 2019
Matina Demelis

NEW YORK – At a special event held at the Battery Gardens in Lower Manhattan on April 10, the guests’ tables were adorned with brochures featuring the photo of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has been named Ambassador for the Greek Feta abroad promotion program.

Highlighting the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, “Feta. Taste from Europe. Authentic Greek Cheese” was the title of the program, which began in May 2018, will last for three years, with its main objective: to inform consumers about Greek feta and how to distinguish it from the rest of the brine cheeses.

Dimitris Tamparopoulos, Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development for Novacert, a company that has undertaken the promotion of the product in the U.S. and Canada, spoke to The National Herald about the program that the company is implementing.

He said, “We are not representing any particular brand, we are promoting feta so all the producers benefit. We participate in exhibitions and organize events and seminars in cooking schools. Through this campaign we have two goals. The first is to increase public awareness, that is to say, more information. Know what feta is, the original feta, and the second is the increase in sales. Each year, 40,000 tons of feta are exported, while domestic consumption is 80,000 tons.

Tamparopoulos told TNH, “We want to shift demand, we do not want to increase the market. The market is already specific and quite large. We want to shift the demand for white brine cheeses towards feta cheese. That is why the specific actions informing consumers and food industry professionals are so vital, increasing their knowledge about what feta really is, where they can find it, what its advantages and characteristics are.”

Chef Vasiliki Vourliotaki of Ousia Restaurant spoke at the event about her own efforts promoting Greek feta through her recipes.

She told TNH that she loves feta and “I came here to talk about it. It is a product that we all love and always have on our table. As a chef, I’m trying to make it a bit more familiar here in America by creating recipes that have feta as the main ingredient. It is a product that is well known throughout the world and great chefs use it and make incredible recipes. We should also give our support here as much as possible. Most people do not know how to distinguish Greek feta. For me as a chef, the other white brine cheeses have no taste.”

As part of the program, the Greek company attended the Fancy Food Show last January in San Francisco and she also organized some events in local cooking schools.

Seminars were also held for CIA (Culinary Institute of America) students in the Napa Valley, and they met with well-known chef and author Janet Fletcher.

From April 5-19, events will be held to promote Greek feta in 16 restaurants in Manhattan where their chefs will create recipes and add feta dishes to their menu while in May there will be sample events in supermarket chains.

“Our company was established 20 years ago but we have extensive experience in the promotion of agricultural products, food, and wine. We have had over ten programs with a total budget of more than 60 million euro. For example, Xinomavro wine has been promoted in America for six years, particularly on the East Coast and in California,” said Tamparopoulos.

Dr. Spiros Mamalis, professor and president of GEOTEE (Geotechnical Chamber of Greece), presented the history of feta, its origins, and how it is made.

Attendees at the event had the opportunity to taste dishes with feta as a main ingredient. From appetizers and salads to main courses, feta added flavor to all the dishes including shrimp, pasta, salads, and pizza. Slices of feta cheese on their own were also available for the guests to taste and enjoy the true flavor of this unique, Greek product.

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