Savoring Life of the Arcadian Land



dimitsana-arcadia-winterFather of medicine Hippocrates said “let food be thy medicine” more than 2,400 years ago. One’s immune system needs natural food to produce internal medicine to keep us healthy. Greek cuisine, natural and unprocessed, is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat food that enhance their health.
Modern scientific studies have proven Hippocrates’ words. Natural food is more important than vitamins. Health matters to us. Greece’s natural products symbolize the bond we seek with food. The booklet ‘Arcadian Land,’ published by the City of Tripoli, describes the region’s agricultural products. Philologist and educator Pitsa Macaouni furnished the source materials.

Crystal pears of Tripoli and garden vegetables
Crystal pears of Tripoli and garden vegetables

“Every region creates its tradition and future,” stated the booklet. “Arcadia respects and honors tradition. Its products are authentic. Arcadian wines are internationally famous. Honey from Mainalos forests has a distinctive flavor. Potatoes from Tripoli are of the finest in Greece. Potatoes are a major element of a healthy Greek diet. Tripoli’s delicious apples are becoming popular. Garlic has been cultivated for centuries. Grapes of Mantinea are made into the finest wines.”

Moschofilero grapes and cheese.
Moschofilero grapes and cheese.

Moschofilero grapes of Arcadia are one of the top four varieties of Greek grapes. The soil of Mantinea gives Muscat grapes an aromatic character and essence. The temperate climate and early ripening enhance its distinctive taste. Muscat grapes are protected by the European Union.

Tripoli’s delicious apples are a unique Greek variety. This variety is produced only in the Arcadian soil and has a protective status. Garlic has been produced since ancient times. It grows abundantly, with a unique aroma that is still coveted in present days. They are sold in farmers’ markets and establishments across Greece.

Crystal pears of Tripoli grown on the planes of the Mainalos mountains are cultivated with dedication and attention. Tsakonika pears come from the same variety. The Mantinea Crystal pears stand out because of their unique flavor and sweetness that comes from the Mantinea soil. Garden vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet watermelons, string beans and other vegetables are in demand in the Greek cities. The vegetables are harvested and shipped early in the morning to the major urban centers of Greece. The mountainous soil gives an aromatic flavor to vegetables.
Arcadian cheese is famous since ancient times. Homer said it was a region of sheep, cows and goats. The art of cheese-making is practiced in the smallest households. It is a staple of economic activity. The flocks graze on the mountain slopes, giving a unique taste to dairy products. Feta, graviera and mizithra of Tripoli are in demand by those seeking authentic, natural products from the traditional cheese-making trade.

Arcadia has a special boutique liqueur called “Tipota,” meaning “Nothing.” For more than half a century, Tipota is produced by the Biris family business using an old recipe, began in 1947 Tripolis. The liqueur is mixed in cocktails or served with crushed ice.

“Leonidio’s plain produces everything from citrus trees, olives, tomatoes, lettuce and other garden vegetables,” states the booklet ‘South Kynouria.’ “The region’s most characteristic product is eggplant, which is sweeter than other varieties, mostly due to the soil microclimate. It is well known as the most delicious eggplant in Greece. The ‘Tsakonian eggplant’ of Leonidio has been recognized by the European Union as ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ (PDO).”

Tsakonian eggplant.
Tsakonian eggplant.

Arcadia’s name comes from the mythological character Arcas. It was the home of god Pan. The European Renaissance celebrated Arcadia as an unspoiled wilderness. The Latin phrase “Et in Arcadia ego” meaning “Even in Arcadia there am I” is associated with “The Arcadian Shepherds” 1647 painting by Nicolas Poussin. The Municipality of Tripoli was formerly part of the Mantinea province in the regional prefecture of Arcadia. Under the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the provinces of Gortynia, Kynouria, Mantinea and Megalopoli were replaced by the municipalities of Gortynia, Megalopoli, North Kynouria, South Kynouria and Tripoli. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcadia.

The International Society of Arcadia in Athens is dedicated to the study of Arcadian ideology. Arcadia developed as part of a humanistic ideology of a Paradise in Western Civilization. The Organization has organized symposiums in Mantinea, France, Cyprus and other centers. Their website includes contributions from over one hundred international figures, two Nobel Prize winners and others.

Emblem of the International Society for Arcadia.
Emblem of the International Society for Arcadia.

“Τhe emblem of the International Society for Arcadia consists of the ligature AR found on coinage of the Arcadian Alliance (4th century BC), surrounded by a wreath of Arcadian oak leaves and acorns, a floral motif directly associated since ancient times with Arcadia (Ηerodotus 1. 66, Pausanias 8, 1.5 και 42.6) and the myths of the Golden Age and Blissful Arcadia (Hesiod, Works and Days 232-233, Theocritus, Idylls 9.18, Virgil, Buc. 10.19, Οvid, Μet. 1.106, Sannazaro, Arc. 1, Cervantes, Quij. 1.11 etc.), according to http://www.isarcadia.org.

We must try to integrate Greek or similar products to create a healthy Mediterranean diet. Savoring products of the Arcadian land enables us to enjoy a healthy and fit life.

Links:
www.traveltripolis.gr – information on Arcadia