When the top priority of modern livestock farming is to ensure flavourful products with high nutritional value that promote economic growth while also protecting the environment, the answer is extensive goat and sheep farming. That is the overriding message sent by the Greek National Interprofessional Meat Organization (EDOK) at an event held Thursday 23/1 in Stockholm, Sweden, as part of the Signed by Nature programme.
The Swedish audience, already familiar with environmental issues, expressed great interest in the particular features of extensive goat and sheep farming as practised in Greece, one of which is its contribution to preserving the environment.
The event was kicked off with opening remarks by the Greek Economic and Commercial Attaché in Sweden, Pantelis Giannoulis, before turning the floor over to Greek Ambassador Andreas Fryganas, who said that extensive goat and sheep farming is amongst the traditional livestock farming practices in Greece, and noted that Greece must highlight its qualitative characteristics and comparative advantages The Ambassador congratulated EDOK on staging the event, and expressed the hope that similar efforts will take place in future, as there is wide interest in Sweden in the messages that “Signed by Nature” brings.
The significance of goat and sheep farming as a driver of growth for Greece’s primary sector was highlighted by EDOK President Eleftherios Gitsas, who placed particular emphasis on the high quality of the products being made.
Signed by Nature’s key messages were further developed by programme coordinator Vicky Kostopoulou. The sustainable production of goat and sheep meat, as “signed by nature”, helps to conserve cultural richness and produce high-quality meat; it has a positive environmental footprint, protects against natural disasters and helps maintain biodiversity. It was this last message in particular that drew excitement from attendees, who asked questions to learn more about how goat and sheep farming helps shape and maintain the typical Greek landscape, on which the event cast a spotlight.
Amongst the 70 guests attending the event was the Cypriot Ambassador, members of the Swedish Culinary Club, journalists, bloggers, chefs, importers and distributors, who expressed interest in attending the next event in Stockholm to take place during the second year of the Signed by Nature programme.
The menu offered to guests was prepared by executive chef and Brigade president Nikos Fotiadis, and featured the variety of ways in which goat and sheep meat can fulfil diverse gastronomic needs. The menu began with a cappuccino of sheep’s meat broth and wild green foam, and continued with a series of finger foods, including sheep’s meat burgers with puréed red peppers and mastic mayonnaise, ewe prosciutto rosettes, mini sheep sausages on a skewer with olive and feta, sheep gyro with mashed potatoes and Kozani saffron, and goat meat tartare. In other words, it was indicative of the culinary creations that a catering company can offer based on goat and sheep meat.
The main dish, which was an excellent example of the use of goat and sheep meat in a gourmet restaurant kitchen, was lamb fillet with a pistachio crust, pumpkin purée with bergamot and celery root bar with a Mavrodafni wine sauce and Greek truffle from Olympus.
Finally, traditional dishes which feature prominently on the Greek family table were presented, and specifically goat fricassee with Greek wild greens, roast lamb with potatoes and grilled lamb chops.