TRAVEL FROM HOME • September 2020
Greece has a warmth of spirit that steals the heart of visitors. Its idyllic scenery, ancient culture and glorious gastronomy are just some of the reasons to love this sunny nation. Until you can escape to the islands, the British Airways Avios eStore is full of magical ideas to bring this richly endowed country a little closer to home
Flanked by the Aegean and Ionian seas, Greece is a seafood heavyweight – and The Fish Society offers an ocean of possibilities. Ready prepped classics such as bottarga (cured grey mullet roe) and battered calamari aside, there’s an A-Z of whole or filleted fish, from red mullet to sea bass, plus octopus, cuttlefish, squid and Poseidon-like quantities of crustacea, including lobster, crab, scallops, mussels and 30 (who knew?) kinds of prawns.
Where to buy: The Fish Society (10 Avios/£1)
There’s more to Greek gastronomy than feta (though that’s nice, too). Marianna Leivaditaki was born in Crete, where she worked in her family’s fish restaurant, and now heads up the celebrated London restaurant Morito. To do cunning things with your ocean bounty, turn to the sea section of her new book, Aegean: Recipes from the Mountains to the Sea (£24), for dishes such as stuffed squid with sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies, goat’s curd and sage, charcoal-grilled sea bass with lemon, oil and parsley or prawns with ouzo, orzo and courgette.
Where to buy: The Book Depository (5 Avios/£1)
Athens-born, London-based Mary Katrantzou’s year-round MARY-MARE resort collection nods delightfully to her Grecian roots in sunny fashions such as this sensational seashell print linen dress (£1,165) and postage stamp ruffle dress (£1,480), both exclusive to NET-A-PORTER. Team (naturally) with a pair of Ancient Greek Sandals (we love these at £115) and make like a goddess stepping out on Ionian shores.
Where to buy: NET-A-PORTER (up to 9 Avios/£1)
Set the Hellenic scene with a retro print (£20) of honeymooners’ paradise Santorini, and invoke the fragrance of a Greek hillside covered in fresh, grassy mint with a vegan soy candle (£16.95). Then settle back on some handwoven cotton tasselled cushions (£39) in the proud colours of the national flag and play a few rounds of backgammon, known locally as tavli, with a handsome wooden set (£80), handmade in Greece.
Where to buy: notonthehighstreet.com (8 Avios/£1)
The Greeks honoured beauty through statuary that’s survived the sands of time (unlike many other art forms). A rendering of Artemis the Huntress (£175.99) makes a fascinating focal point in any garden (and might deter inquisitive foxes), while this ode-worthy Grecian urn (£59.99) is perfect for cut flowers or plants, and a Corinthian pedestal (£229.99) ringed with acanthus leaves gives prized blooms the gravitas they deserve.
Where to buy: Wayfair (3 Avios/£1)
Ancient Greece provides rich fodder for the spinning of yarns. Book-shy kids will thrill to Marcia Williams’ excellent cartoon-strip versions of Greek Myths and Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey. Stephen Fry provides his own narrative for adults with Mythos, a witty retelling of the lives and times of the Greek gods, while Madeline Miller puts a feminist spin on a legendary enchantress in Circe. For more recent history, Louis de Bernières’ agonising and exquisite Captain Corelli’s Mandolin unravels the tragi-comedy of an idyllic Greek island plunged into World War II.
Where to buy: Waterstones (from £1 Avios/£1)
Mezze and philosophical chat tend to go down a treat with a drink or two. The award-winning Kretikos Boutari 2017 (£8.62) is an ambrosial, fruity, yet dry white wine from the Boutari estate in Crete. Then there’s the much-lauded refreshing, blond Mythos lager (24 x 330ml for £32.39), brewed in Thessaloniki. For something a little stronger, Ouzo by Metaxa (£21.85) is a deliciously potent distillation of flowers, seeds and rare botanicals, including masticha harvested by hand on the Aegean island of Chios.
Where to buy: The Drink Shop (5 Avios/£1)
Is it your first time on the British Airways Avios eStore? You can get 20 per cent bonus Avios on your first transaction when you shop online