Greek mythology is replete with tales of the Sirens – those enchanting vixens enticing even the most steadfast sailors to the Mediterranean shores. It could be argued that it was not only their voices and hypnotic beauty that lured mariners but perhaps the very charm of the place itself.
Centuries have passed and a new sylphlike creature is beckoning travellers to the land of Dionysus and Hermes. This time though, it is a chestnut-haired cheesemaker from Limestone County, Alabama – Tasia Malakasis, owner of Elkmont-based Belle Chevre Creamery.
Tasia (ta-SHE-ah) first apprenticed with the company before deciding to purchase the operation outright in 2007. She implemented the marketing skills she’d honed as a vice president of an internet technology firm to help take Belle to the next level, capitalizing on all the right things. The hard work paid off and all varieties of her cheeses continue to win awards, year in and year out.
But Tasia is still a Southern girl at heart, one who likes to cook for friends and share the pleasure of a good meal. A few years ago, she started an impromptu cooking school of sorts in her own Huntsville home, playing hostess to customers who wanted to meet the cheesemaker, add some dishes to their culinary repertoire, and maybe enjoy a glass of wine. The experiment has been a big success which got her to thinking.
Every summer Ms. Malakasis travels back to Greece to visit relatives, relax, and gain epicurean inspiration. And this year, she is opening up the sojourn to a small group interested in the same pursuits. During the all-inclusive expedition (minus airfare to Athens), the travellers will explore the island of Lefkada and dine on traditional Preveza cuisine; explore the historic markets and Turkish bazaar of the city of Parga; grill seafood and dine al fresco at a private Greek estate. And because no trip to her homeland would be complete without enjoying some beloved goat cheese, Tasia will take the group to visit local creameries and explore how the Meditteranean terroir affects taste.
The price of the trip (August 10 – 17, 2012) includes transportation, lodging, cooking courses, daytrips, food and drink. Spending ten days with a gorgeous Southern cheesemaking artisan is priceless.
For complete information and to secure your spot, visit http://www.bellechevre.com/tasias-table-greece.php
(Can’t make the trip this August? Savor a little of Greece at home with a Greek Kiss by Belle Chevre Creamery – available for purchase on line at Bourbon & Boots)
Christiana Roussel lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama and enjoys all things food-related. Follow her culinary musings on line at ChristianasKitchen.com or on Facebook or Twitter (Christiana40).