Aegean Cuisine was initially a project carried out by the Centres of Enterpreneurial and Technological Development (KETA) of the South Aegean in cooperation with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Dodecanese and Cyclades (CCIDC), in order to highlight and promote the cuisine of the Aegean Sea and the locally produced products of the Region of South Aegean . Aegean Cuisine is a network of businesses in the South Aegean Islands, whose aim is to off er visitors the Aegean experience. It was founded in 2008 to utilize and exploit the wealth of the Aegean oenogastronomy, highlight local products and wines and to promote thematic tourism in these islands.
The goal was to create a network through synergies amongst local producers, local restaurants and sellers of local products in order to make it easy for visitors to learn about local products, to get to taste them in certifi ed local restaurants and to fi nd out where to buy them and take a bit of the Aegean back home.
A plethora of actions for the South Aegean islands followed, including thematic events, participation in fairs/exhibitions, publication of the bilingual recipe book “Aegean Cuisine” etc. Today, the project is run by the Dodecanese and Cyclades Chambers of Commerce with the support of the Region of South Aegean. Aegean Cuisine’s official website www.aegeancuisine.gr contains all information about the network in both Cyclades and Dodecanese, and is regularly updated and enriched with fresh content.
Certification started in 2011, according to particular quality criteria, which gave, to specific restaurants in the Prefecture of the Dodecanese, an opportunity to promote the Aegean Cuisine idea. Since then, the criteria has been updated according to the needs and perspectives which emerged. In 2015, a new phase of certification of restaurants was completed in cooperation with TUV HELLAS.
This means that these restaurants meet certain quality criteria with regard to the legal operation of the organisation, hygiene, food safety, origin of the raw materials, the quality of the products, services and recipes they offer and also incorporates facilities and decoration.
Through a complex mechanism, and following years of consultation with the majority of specialists in the fi eld of gastronomy in Greece (chefs, oenologists, journalists, trend-setters), and also with all relevant key stakeholders on a local level (local producers, local restaurant owners, local owners of local products shops), KETA produced a manual for the South Aegean.
This inclusive manual was designed according to a set of criteria, the first being the origin of the products/raw materials used. Other criteria included a set of quality standards such as hygiene, service, recipes etc. The Cyclades Chamber of Commerce, making full usage of the acquired know-how, optimised the manual and created a mixed system of control in collaboration with TUV Hellas for technical/technocratic matters, and with a team of acknowledged experts in gastronomy for matters of taste. .
Part of the CCIDC’s action is to promote these enterprises by all appropriate means including a strong technological strategy. Digital promotion through the network’s official website www. aegeancuisine.gr has information and promotional material of each restaurant.
Finally, and in order for the two Chambers of Commerce (Dodecanese and Cyclades) to be able to implement actions for the promotion of Aegean Cuisine internationally, a new application to register the Aegean Cuisine trademark at a European level was submitted to the EUIPO.