a hot SUMMER NIGHT
Sometimes finding a theme for a gathering makes everything fall into place. Hospitality lies at the heart of Greek culture and so does the idea of nibbling on mezethes (a variety of first courses) while sharing a companionable ouzo or glass of wine.
You know the scenario: friends are coming over—but not for a full meal. Still, they’ll need something more than peanuts to eat. You have time to nip out to the store but not to cook… No worries! We can help. We’ve imagined four different occasions and found a solution for each with a platter of mostly store-bought treats and some suitable drinks. Entertaining doesn’t get much easier than this. Greek flavours conjure up a Mediterranean mood that suits a summer night. Cut some feta cheese into thick slices and drizzle it with a little runny honey. Brush three or four rounds of pita bread with olive oil, sprinkle on salt and oregano and warm them in the oven with small chunks of cooked loukaniko sausages (mild chorizo sausages would be a fine substitute). Put some pickled turnip in a bowl. Add some black olives and two dips—rich, garlicky tzatziki and taramasalata dusted with paprika.
Greek wines are the obvious choice for Greek food. Assyrtiko is the super-trendy grape grown on sun-parched Santorini, and
Santo Santorini produces a fine version (LCBO 459032, $23.30) full of a dry minerality and sharp acid but with a big round body. Boutari Moschofilero (LCBO 172387, $14.05) is a more easygoing white with tangy citrus and floral aromas. Renowned producer Domaine Hatzimichalis offers its 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (LCBO 538074, $18.95), a big friendly red full of dark fruit and cedary spice, while fans of retsina should try Malamatina’s version (LCBO
422725, 500 mL, $6.20). It’s clean and fresh with delicate citrus notes under pine resin aromatics.
Topping tzatziki with a garnish of cucumber helps tip off its identity to guests. Instead of honey, you can drizzle the feta with a good flavourful olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano.