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- 13 Mar 2013 -

Hidden Gem in Greek Wine Country

Bed & Breakfast may not be a foreign concept to you but it is not a common one in Greece. Meet the man who founded the first one there: Nikos Kontosoros. His concept is an original one, he wants to create a space where his customers can enjoy first class food and wine, wander upstairs to their room and be greeted by an equally scrumptious breakfast when they wake up in the morning.

Anyone else who creates a bed and breakfast in Greece will have huge shoes to fill as Nikos’ creation is one of a kind. Kontosoros is located in the Amydeo region in Northern Greece, hidden in picturesque Greek wine country. In the middle of nowhere, visitors pile in from far and beyond to experience what this little gem has to offer – an absolute mind blowing culinary explosion awaits.

Anyone else who creates a bed and breakfast in Greece will have huge shoes to fill as Nikos’ creation is one of a kind. Kontosoros is located in the Amydeo region in Northern Greece, hidden in picturesque Greek wine country. In the middle of nowhere, visitors pile in from far and beyond to experience what this little gem has to offer – an absolute mind blowing culinary explosion awaits.

Under the magical hands of Nikos and his team, local seasonal food is presented in their best light, better put – they are transformed into art forms dressed and accompanied in their most beautiful attire which takes your breath away. This is a family of food and wine talent, this is the story of a visionary who celebrates the beauty of the world we live in, most important of all this is the life and soul of an earnest man who made his dream a reality.

Kontosoros is the culmination of a dream since 1989. The restaurant, wine cellar and bed and breakfast block was built on the land which used to house the Kontosoros old family home. Through time, Nikos built a beautiful herb and veggie garden in the one-acre behind the restaurant, a family home for the family of 5 plus their dog, chickens and pigs! The moment you step into the reception you will be greeted by the smell of fresh bread, clean linen and home cooked food. Having been on the road for 2 weeks, it was my home away from home. I was overwhelmed by the warmth of Greek hospitality. Forget about rating the service standards in Trip Advisor, I was reminded of the basics - everyone in Kontosoros cared deeply about making sure you have a good time, I never had to ask for anything, they thought about my needs before I ever did!

Having created one of the most desired destination hotel and restaurant in Greece, the recipient of numerous culinary awards and a local celebrity, it is hard to believe how humble Nikos is. A self taught chef, he said he is simply a local ambassador of Greek cuisine. The heart of his creations is premised on presenting local (Florina, Northern Greece), traditional food with a modern, simplistic approach sprinkled with inspirations he drew in his culinary expeditions in Italy and Spain.

His menu evolves with the seasons to showcase what nature has to offer using home grown produce in his garden, discoveries in neighboring forests and working with 2 local farmers. He prides himself for never using ingredients more than 10 kilometers away from his domain. Case in point, when I came back early from working in the Kir-Yanni winery one day, Nikos was out foraging mushrooms with his younger son. He came back ecstatic with his finds - a basket full of wild mushrooms ranging from the size of my fist to my little finger in all different shapes and colors you can imagine. He ran in the kitchen and made us a mushroom carpaccio to showcase his proud discoveries. His friends tell me this is what he does, he is in his element when he creates.

When Nikos is not in the kitchen, you will often find him taking culinary students and farmers up in the mountains searching for indigenous plants and herbs…a relentless artist who thrives on pushing the boundaries of the present, testing his imagination and challenging his best creations.

The Kontosoros family is in a great place to take the business to new heights. His daughter is a chef with Hytra, a reputable Michelin star restaurant in Athens, his son is training to be an enologist.

His advice to them and youngsters venturing in the world of food and wine is to give the art a lot of patience. Never accept the status quo and always be on the look out for adjacencies and contrasts for new creations. People just look at his achievements, they were the result of numerous experiments, sweat and tears….he is not done yet!

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