Dining » vol. 13

Experience the Taste of the Greek Mediterranean

Eco-Friendly Gaea Products Offer Healthy Ingredients and Bold Flavors

By Erin Hansen

A leading producer of authentic and award-winning Greek Mediterranean food products, Gaea, based in the lush Agrinion growing region of Greece, now introduces America to its Certified Carbon Neutral Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Cooking Sauces which join its already delicious line of tapenades, cooking sauces, olives, and 100o% organic olive oils.  Sourced from small Greek farmers who live on the land they harvest, each ingredient is handled with care and inspected to ensure exceptional quality.  Their cooking sauces are a reflection on the different cultures and regions in Greece ~ each sauce is named after a specific island and contains ingredients popular with the native residents.

Gaea (which means “Mother Earth” in ancient Greek Mythology) takes seriously sharing the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle. Their natural line has been approved for the Med Mark seal, which certifies products as part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. The olives for their olive oils contain no additives or preservatives, and each bottle has a special code printed on its packaging that traces back to production, ensuring unparalleled authenticity.  Many studies, including those conducted by the Mayo clinic, have shown that consuming 2 tablespoons of olive oil daily for one week lowered bad cholesterol levels and increased levels of antioxidant compounds like phenols and Vitamin E, vitally important for protecting cells from damage.  Extra virgin olive oils from the Gaea line offer these benefits in addition to rich, clean flavors that are a treat for the palate.

In addition to being mindful of the health of its consumers, Gaea is also dedicated to protecting the land and continuing to evolve as an eco-friendly company; they are leading the way in the international olive oil industry with a green “rev-oil-ution” designed to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.  Gaea is committed to preserving the Earth’s resources with its non-depletion policy on wild products, recycling, integrated crop management, and organic farming.  Too, they seek to preserve and promote the Greek “meze” culinary experience, one which is centered around a well-balanced and healthy diet incorporating hot and cold dishes, friends, family, and laughter.

To get you started on enjoying these delicious products, Gaea has published a cookbook, 5 Greek Chefs.  This recipe is the perfect way to begin incorporating Gaea into your lifestyle ~ invite your friends, gather your family, and enjoy!

Macaroni with Artichokes, Olives, and Oven-Baked Tomatoes
By Chef Alexandros Papandreou

Preparation time:  25 minutes
Cooking time:  20 minutes
Servings:  4

1 lb thick style macaroni
3 tomatoes, sliced
5 tbsp. Gaea DOP Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp. sugar
6 artichokes, cleaned and diced
2 fresh green onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers
20 Gaea pitted Kalamata olives
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cup Gaea Santorini sauce
Ground pepper, salt

Arrange tomato slices in baking pan.  Drizzle with 5 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper.  Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Boil macaroni in salted water for 9-10 min., drain and rinse with cold water.  In the meantime, sauté artichokes and onions with oil in a non-stick frying pan until soft.  Add tomatoes together with pan juices, capers, olives, thyme and pepper.  Stir in macaroni, drizzle with a few drops of olive oil and serve.

For more about Gaea, including a full list of their products (for example, the tapenades come in 6 different varieties ~ including Smoked Eggplant, Sweet Pepper & Goat Cheese, and Sundried Tomato Bruschetta!), please visit www.gaea.gr. You may order Gaea products on-line at www.mybrands.com Gaea products are also available locally at Shaw’s markets, both in the olive oil section and in the Mediterranean food section.

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