Not far from Thessaloniki, you’ll find the Chalkidiki peninsula: three fingers of land that spread out into the sea. On the first “finger”, Kassandra, you’ll find the exclusive resort of Sani, which is where the Sani Gourmet Festival, an occasion to celebrate Hellenic haute cuisine, takes place every year. Chefs from Greece’s new gastronomic movement gather together to exchange ideas about a cuisine that hovers between a strong, centuries-old tradition and the desire to experiment.
The host of this initiative is Chrysanthos Karamolengos, whose restaurant Tomata is one of the points of reference for what is considered the nouvelle cuisine of Greece. From feta fritters with watermelon sauce, to fried sardines with three different vinaigrettes made with mustard from Thessaloniki. But it’s particularly famous for its desserts: the dark chocolate croquettes with mango sorbet has now become legendary. And in the cosmopolitan spirit of Thessaloniki, Tomata combines Eastern and Western influences, taking cues from different countries and traditions.
But what Karamolengos is really known for is the way he’s been redefining the parameters of Greek tradition, with his emphasis on local vegetables and ingredients and his aim to “clean” the Greek palate, which has grown accustomed to excessive condiments and overly strong tastes. Many of his colleagues consider him to be the greatest exponent of the New Greek Cuisine.