Evangelia Koutsovoulou + Daphnis and Chloe / Rosemary Yogurt Dip + Iced Herbal Mountain Tea
In a country that is geographically diverse, rich with fresh produce year-round, and which is strongly connected to the idea of cooking what grows around you, Greece is a place where the most basic ingredients can transform into exotic, prized dishes fit for a king. If you look at the classic Greek salad for example, it is something extremely simple that when made with high quality ingredients consumed on a warm summer afternoon, is nothing short of perfection. The salty feta continues the feeling of saltiness from the sea from which you likely just emerged, the tomatoes are sweet and the cucumber, cooling. Perhaps there are olives and capers, undoubtedly copious amounts of olive oil, peppers or sliced red onion, all topped with a dusting of fragrant oregano. Each item whole and unadulterated, married together to create a perfect dish. What’s gorgeous about this way of eating is that it resets your sensibilities. You can taste each element and ingredient without too much fuss or unnecessary addition.
Chief among the core components of this type of rustic Greek cuisine are fresh and dried herbs, where even the most non-culinarian Greek kitchen will likely be stocked with dried oregano or thyme, or a few herbal teas. From this tradition enters Evangelia Koutsovoulou’s herb company, Daphnis and Chloe, which has emerged as an herbal ambassador to home cooks, chefs and culinary enthusiasts around the globe. Combining the natural abundance and depth of herb varieties across Greece with high-quality craftsmanship, Daphnis and Chloe is a collection of incredibly unique products (not to mention irresistible aesthetics) that could inspire even the most kitchen-phobic person to want to cook. Open a jar of Evangelia’s products and you will be instantly transported to Greece; the quality of the herbs, the beautiful simplicity of Greek cooking, and the insanely fragrant aromatics that come from her products hit you immediately and are simply unparalleled.
This is a major accomplishment because (in my humble opinion) a lot of high quality Greek foodstuffs are simply unavailable or very limited outside of Greece. In the average artisanal European-centric shop in the US, you can find expensive Portuguese sardines, Italian pasta, French butter or Dutch cheese. But you often cannot find amazing Greek olive oil, herbs, honey or a multitude of other Grecian treasures. It’s not a competition per se, but I can personally attest to ‘the food’ being one of the number one things that my friends from the US always recall as one of the most joyful parts of their trips to Greece. …and a big part of that is because when you visit the islands or villages of the mainland, many of the ingredients are rich in quality and local tradition, something uniquely captured in Daphnis and Chloe products.
Being able to take that summer moment when you’re driving through the countryside with the sun on your face, or the first time you had an amazing taverna meal ‘in the middle of nowhere’, is a real talent, and Evangelia has done just that. It’s not just that the herbs smell a.m.a.z.i.n.g., but it’s that they embody a very specific kind of romanticism about Greece. They connect nature, sharing food, and a classic culinary tradition all in one. The herbs in the Daphnis and Chloe product line are both diverse among each other and simple to incorporate into a cooking repertoire, making these herbal gems are not only accessible, but also, simply addictive.
ROSEMARY YOGURT DIP + ICED HERBAL MOUNTAIN TEA
INGREDIENTS - Rosemary Yogurt Dip
~ 1.5 - 2 cups thick, whole milk yogurt*
2 - 4 tbsp Daphnis and Chloe dry rosemary leaves, crushed
1 - 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
bread for dipping
*Try to use thick yogurt to achieve ultimate dipping ratios! In the US I often use good quality Icelandic skyr (whole or 4% milk fat) or something similar, which is easily accessible. Regular whole milk yogurt is also great, but preferable to serve chilled out of the refrigerator. You can also take regular yogurt and strain ahead in a cheesecloth.
Crush the rosemary leaves in a mortar and pestle until crushed into tiny pieces but not too powdery. If you’re making this dip ‘impromptu’ you can also crush the leaves by hand but try to make the pieces small.
Spoon the yogurt onto to a plate or into a shallow bowl in a large circular dollop in the center. Place the back of your spoon in the center and rotate the plate/bowl in a circle to spread/flatten the yogurt, creating a swirl in the center (like you would if plating hummus).
Top with a generous amount of the crushed rosemary leaves, ~ 2 - 3 tbsp. Then top with a generous dash of olive oil. Add more leaves to taste as you dip your bread and enjoy!
INGREDIENTS - Herb Iced Tea
1/2 bag Daphnis and Chloe Greek Mountain Tea
1 heaping tbsp honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
Optional: pomegranate seeds and lemon wedge for garnish
Bring ~ 6 - 8 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Once boiled, turn off the burner and remove from the heat, and add ~ 9 - 10 sprigs of the tea (you can use stems, leaves and flowers). Let brew for ~ 4 minutes. Remove the sprigs and leaves with a slotted spoon, and stir in the honey, stirring until dissolved.
Place the tea in the refrigerator to cool. You can place it in a pitcher at this point or leave in the pot.
When ready to serve, add the lemon juice, as well as optional garnishes and ice as desired.
Learn more and order herbal gems from Daphnis and Chloe here.