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Looking good in the Garden . . .

this month’s recommendations from Le Jardin Champetre

P1360241
Lighting up the garden in the evening sun is Miscanthus ‘Adagio’. It is a compact clump-forming grass with bronze-pink flowers fading to white and prefers a spot in full sun or partial shade. Ours were planted this spring and are being watered weekly over this dry summer but should need less water once they’re established. They look great planted in groups or with similar height perennials (here with Bronze Fennel)
P1360211
Here grasses and perennials are also adding movement to the garden in the wind. We have interplanted the Pink Fountain Grass Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’ and Mexican Feather Grass Stipa tennuissima with Verbena bonariensis and Bronze Fennel.

 

 

Expat Citizen Rights in the EU. ECREU

by Brian Cave

1.  Whether one is a Remainder or a Leaver, it is the case that very large numbers of British Citizens resident in the other EU States are worried and at worst profoundly fearful for their future and for the future place of Britain in the world.

Surely the Brexit direction is a course of diversion away from the European Union and the established links and ‘rights’ of British Citizens could be broken forever.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.10.41The ECREU  www.ecreu.com site has been developed to explore the Rights of British citizens  throughout the EU States.  Have a look at the ECREU site if you have not done so already.

2.  The only way to get change is to be active politically.  That is the reason why I believe that the campaign  www.votes-for-expat-brits.com <http://www.votes-for-expat-brits.com>  is so important.

That is why ECREU will do all possible to contact politicians in a manner which generates a sympathetic dialogue.

The Britons abroad should not be ignored.  The British Government should  listen to them and they in turn should make their voices heard by the politicians.

3.   A letter has been received from Lord Tyler (Lib-Dem Party) – reproduced  below – which is of considerable importance.

The four Boundary Commission Committees are at this moment in discussions  on presenting a report to Parliament in early 2018.  Some are producing  interim consultation papers this September.
Do please give ‘voice’ to your  feelings by contacting the boundary commission relevant to yourself.

To know more google  ’Boundary Commission’ and many links will appear.

 ENGLAND  information@boundarycommissionengland.gov.uk

SCOTLAND  secretary@scottishboundaries.gov.uk

 WALES  bcomm.wales@wales.gsi.gov.uk

NORTHERN IRELAND  contact@boundarycommission.org.uk

 

Dear Brian Cave,

 I was delighted to hear from you, and very much appreciate all your timely  advice and comprehensive data on this issue.

 In particular, I cannot stress too much the vital importance of your final  comment:  “the correct solution is constituencies for expatriates”.

This is the ONLY rational solution but it is ALSO the only realistic political objective.   Put yourself in the shoes of the individual Constituency MP;  faced with the problems, concerns and special interests of some 75,000 constituents on his or her doorstep how many will give appropriate attention to a few dozen potential voters, with perhaps very different interests, living many hundreds of miles away ?    I had 87,000 eligible electors in my North Cornwall constituency:  l have to confess that I was never even aware of the number of expatriates registered on our electoral roll.

 This is why the Commons will be reluctant to simply remove the 15 year limit.  Whatever may be the intention of the May Government I doubt whether individual MPs would give a majority to a simple extension to lifetime franchise eligibility, even if the practical problems you highlight could be easily overcome.  Reverting to the place of birth would be equally objectionable as far as these MPs were concerned.  The individual elector might never have been an adult – with a vote – in the constituency to which he or she was allocated.  Why should the MP feel any obligation to represent their views ?    You are absolutely right to be DOUBTFUL !

With the increase in registration we foresee the case for specific expatriate parliamentary constituencies gaining ground. The logic is impeccable.  The current review by the four Boundary Commissions is the appropriate context to press this case, with the norm of some 70,000 – 80,000 electors justifying a separate seat.  Turning to the wider issues, your research is invaluable.  As you know both the Conservative and Labour Parties have now given up on any chance of a truly effective full-hearted relationship with the European Union but the Liberal Democrats (and to a lesser extent the Nationalist parties and the Greens) have not.  We are determined to do everything in our power to avert the worst results of Brexit, even to the extent of advocating remaining full members of the EU if an early UK General Election takes place before the eventual repeal of the Treaties. We are also seriously examining the case for Parliamentary approval of various stages of the negotiations.  There could even be a further Referendum to approve – or reject – the final deal.

  Meanwhile, I hope that you will feel reassured from the above that I and my colleagues are passionately interested in the concerns you express, and warmly welcome the ECREU initiative.  I will look forward to reading more about the plans; in the meantime I must

urge you and all who wish to make progress to give maximum support to the expatriate constituency option.

 With Very Best Wishes

 Paul Tyler

Flying today

‘victoRIOus’

is the name of the British Airways aircraft that is flying Team GB and ParalympicsGB home from the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

britishairways_21686541483863_thumb_3The name, which was one of a short-list of four selected by the athletes and British Airways staff, was chosen by hundreds of fans on Twitter in a recent poll.

To mark the occasion, the VIP charter aircraft bringing the athletes home has been named flight ‘BA2016’, is decorated with a gold-nose and has its name ‘victoRIOus’ emblazoned on the side. For Team GB’s homecoming, it also features ‘#greattobeBAck’ – a hashtag that the fans and athletes are encouraged to use.

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, said: “We’re excited to be bringing the athletes home ‘happy and glorious’ following the Games! victoRIOus is a very fitting name, reflecting the great pride we have for our sporting heroes, and is a great play on words too.”

Team GB depart on flight BA2016 from Rio de Janeiro today, Monday August 22, and land into Heathrow Terminal 5 tomorrow on Tuesday August 23 at 9.55am to an invite-only media reception.

Fans can visit facebook.com/TeamGB from 9.55am on Tuesday August 23, for a live broadcast with the athletes once the aircraft touches down.

As of Monday August 22, the public can also follow the aircraft’s movement on flight tracking website ‘Flightradar24’, which has created a bespoke visual of the aircraft when visitors hover over the icon. It will also feature on ba.com/backingGB.

Bill Sweeney, British Olympic Association CEO said: “Though we are still deep in the middle of competing, one thing we know we will have had from start to finish and beyond is the incredible support of the Team GB fans, both in Rio and Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

That support means everything to the athletes and for them to arrive home on board victoRIOus and share their experiences with their family, friends and fans is very special; and we thank British Airways for arranging this special plane home on the 23rd.”

During the 11 hour 15 minute flight, athletes can enjoy over 1,300 hours of films, top TV shows and audio programmes on board. This includes specially selected sports documentaries – ‘Sporting Greats; Sir Steve Redgrave’ and ‘Back on Board: Greg Louganis’, as well as highlights from the Rio 2016 Games and classic sports film ‘Chariots of Fire’.

Athletes will be able to enjoy a three-course menu and breakfast on board their return flight, along with a complimentary bar service. Some of the dishes available include; Gaucho-style beef tenderloin with kale and tomato, Grilled salmon and ginger-infused noodle salad, chicken in a white wine sauce, thai fish curry and chicken with polenta au gratin.

‘victoRIOus’ will take flight again on September 20, when ParalympicsGB return home from the Rio 2016 Games.

British Airways is official airline supplier to Team GB and ParalympicsGB. For the latest news and information please visit ba.com/backingGB

September’s Open Gardens in France

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 09.43.58The open Gardens / Jardins Ouvert organisation was founded in 2013, when we opened 4 gardens in the département of the Creuse for 1 day. The event raised 300€ which was sent to a French charity called A Chacun son Everest, which organises activities for children with, or in remission, from cancer or leukaemia. In 2014, we opened 28 gardens, spread through 4 départements, for a weekend in Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 09.41.04June and raised just over 3,000€, of which 2,500€ was sent to the same charity.

In 2015, our target was 5,000€ and we actually raised over 13,000€. There are now over 90 gardens in 22 départements and requests to take part continue to come in on a regular basis. The mixture of viewing beautiful gardens and raising money for charitable causes is a lovely way to spend time and many people are realising the joys of being involved, either as a participant or visitor.

In a very short space of time, the success of Open Gardens/Jardins Ouverts has been overwhelming. The organising Conseil is committed to developing the project on a wider basis and, at some point in the future, hopes to see gardens throughout France proudly bearing the logo of Open Gardens/Jardins Ouverts.

Day Pass: 5€   (1 day only)

If you only intend to visit gardens on one particular day throughout 2016, then a Day Pass will be the preferred option. This costs 5€ and is available at the first garden you visit on your chosen day. You will be issued with the Day Pass, which will be overwritten with the date of purchase and can only be used on that day. Please keep it with you as you will need to show it to the owner of any other garden you visit.


Membership Card: 10€   (valid for every garden throughout 2016)

The best option, if you intend to visit gardens on more than one day, is the Membership Card. This costs 10€ by post or 11€ via the website. (The additional 1€ is to offset the additional admin and postage costs).

Open Gardens for September

September/October (by appointment): 84360 Lauris

This garden is “garrigue” or dry garden. My husband and I planted all trees and plants ourselves since 1990. The soil is difficult, heavy and chalk. This will probably give visitors an opportunity to see a completely different type of garden, especially those not used to a garden with a “Mediterranean” feel (particularly Cypress & Olive trees)

4 September: 16390 Montignac le Coq

The Jardins du Coq were created in 2012. These young gardens recount the autobiography of the creator narrated in the appearance of the plants. 1452771980292The gardens are set on 2 hectares and are divided into 3 large areas around a collection of roses. The gardens evoke personal memories and a message of peace, love and friendship. Throughout the visit, poems and thoughts of artists are in evidence along the borders. New creations are being added all the time to this secret, lush garden.

10 September: 46310 St Germain du Bel Air

Our garden of over a hectare is divided into a formal front garden with herbaceous and rose beds. To the rear of the house is a restrained courtyard which leads to a mature tree alley, beneath which is a long “hot bed”. In addition, there are two island beds, one dedicated to dry conditions, the other a riot of colour.

145648363513211 September: 53190 La Dorée

Our eight year old garden, formerly pastureland, has been designed to create different areas of interest for colour, scent and wildlife throughout the year. It includes a herb garden, ornamental fruit and vegetable garden, flower garden, topiary, autumn/winter borders, orchard and further areas still under construction, including an arboretum. Seats around the garden offer a moment to pause.

11 September: 24340 La Rochebeaucourt

A rescued, mature garden of 6500 sq m with a range of ornamental trees, box topiary and herbaceous plants. There is also a fishpond, rockeries and a pergola.

11 September: 24360 Piégut Pluviers

Overlooking a lovely lake, our flower borders are alive with bees, butterflies and other insects all summer long. Mainly planted with herbaceous perennials, each year we develop a new area which gives us scope to try new and unusual plants. Come along and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of home made cake whilst taking in the views over the lake…you may even see a kingfisher!

18 September: 24320 St Paul Lizonne

Against a background of exotic greenery and a collection of over 100 species and varieties of “tamed” bamboo, hardy plants and roses rub shoulders with fruit trees and a potager on a slope and cultivated according to the principles of permaculture.1452777137473

18 September: 23210 Aulon

The huge diversity of hardy shrubs and plants produce colour and scent throughout the year: peonies & honeysuckle in springtime, old roses and hydrangeas in summer, grasses and anemones in autumn.

Breaking records, home and away

by Richard Pickering Cushman & Wakefield

Performance enhancement.  Alongside world records being smashed by elite athletes in Rio de Janeiro this week, the UK Equities market is setting records of its own. The FTSE 100, up 11% so far in 2016 to close last week at 6,916 is at its highest level in 14 months. So what is behind the performance burst? No doubt monetary policy measures intended to drive down the returns on bonds, and cut interest rates to record lows have served to stimulate demand. Alongside QE, the value of the pound also dropped, boosting overseas earnings. In an interesting twist, one of the Bank’s most notorious hawks, Ian McCafferty, now states that he believes rates could go even lower in upcoming months. Well, well, well…do I hear 7,000?

Money can’t buy you bonds.  The Bank of England is in the market for gilts. The latest QE plan (announced 9 August) is based on an assumption that as buyers of gilts, the Bank of England would find sellers. The problem with that assumption is simple. The owners (largely New_Europe-3-01financial institutions) are reluctant to sell, particularly their longer dated assets. As a result, the Bank of England failed to buy as much as required, calling into question the viability of the wider QE programme. And this problem appears unlikely to go away anytime soon given the difficulty that long term pensions and savings plans face generating a sufficient return. Why would you sell to the Bank of England at the moment? If the Bank of England want yields to go down, your prices are going up.

Brexit bonanza.  The latest retail sales figures could help temper fears that the economy is grinding to a halt. In total terms, sales rose by 1.9% in July, the strongest growth since January. The positive news story will come as a welcome relief to town centres across the country, given early indicators suggesting consumer activity slowing in the wake of the EU referendum. Warm weather and a weak pound are tributed with boosting a feel good factor at home and tourism interest from abroad – the number of foreign visitors to Britain jumped 18% in July. While the numbers are a reason to be cheerful, it is only the first month of full figures post Brexit. Encouraging news, but early days. Best to hold off ordering the bunting for now.

Powerhouse agenda.  With George Osborne sacked as Chancellor by Theresa May, the fate of the Northern Powerhouse – his pet project – seemed at risk. Enter Andy Burnham, ardent campaigner for the Northern Powerhouse, as the winner of Labour’s Greater Manchester mayor nomination last week.  If elected next May, Burnham has vowed to uphold a bold regional agenda including plans to radically transform the housing market. Business welcomes the idea of a Manchester mayor, but is concerned about any change to an economic model it sees as already successful. It is encouraging that these first fruits of devolution and a powerhouse premium are beginning to be realized as true sources of economic potential. The Northern Powerhouse is a £300bn economy – it will be hard for the new government to resist its momentum.

Mind the gap.  Shocking figures released by think tank The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) last week showed six times as much money is spent on transport projects in London than in the north. The IPPR showed the Department for Transport (DFT) will spend £289 per person in the north and £1,870 per person in the capital over the next four years. While airport capacity and HS2 will no doubt take up much of Chris Grayling’s immediate attention, improving connectivity between the country’s regional cities surely deserves priority as part of Theresa May’s ‘Better Britain’ policy agenda. No doubt, the irony of dramatic southern regional overspend will not be lost on the thousands of Southern rail commuters experiencing chronic delays this summer.

All together now.  The UK property fund management business is continuing to wrestle with managing liquidity mismatch – taking in money on a short term basis and allocating it on a long term one. In latest news, the managers of over £14bn in funds, currently frozen to redemptions, announced they are considering a coordinated re-opening. This comes after news from Aviva last week that its £1.8bn fund may stay closed for at least six months. The FSA is being consulted as any coordinated approach will need to comply with anti-competition regulation. While industry efforts to avoid a repeat of the German Open Ended Fund (GOEF) crisis of 2010 are laudable, they need to go further to ensure the reputation of the industry is not permanently tarnished. INREV’s report “Pillars to Endure Open End Fund Liquidity” released last year is a start. It’s clear efforts need to go further.

Deal or no deal.  Nearly eight weeks since the Brexit vote, and our tracker of investment activity is generally showing positive progress, including an improvement in deal volumes outside of London. Tracking a majority of assets on the market, we are witnessing increased turnover in the last four weeks, up noticeably from the initial four weeks after the referendum. Liquidity appears highest for smaller lot sizes and for unexpired lease terms of five years or more. The average transaction price reflects a marginal available discount, but a shortage of forced sellers has resulted in narrower price adjustments than many expected. Valuations have been trending on the conservative side with the industrial sector appearing most resilient. Deal or no deal: as always, it’s a matter of perspective.

Pay as you play.  All of the excitement around Team GB’s success at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad (50 medals and 5 days to go, at the time of writing) has overshadowed the UK Premier League Football season which kicked off this past weekend, and set a very different type of world record. Manchester United splashed the cash to take the midfielder, Paul Pogba, from Juventus for a world record breaking £89m fee. Perhaps club manager, Jose Mourinho, should have considered real estate as an alternative investment? Just last quarter, for the same amount of cash he could have picked up a new, landmark development (the XYZ Building) in Manchester’s Spinningfields, ‘the Canary Wharf of the North’, bringing in an annual rent of c.4.5m. Instead, his club will be paying out £15m a year on income on Pogba’s salary. And that is before mentioning relative depreciation rates.

Richard Pickering
Head of UK Research & Insight
Cushman & Wakefield

BA Stansted to Chambery (French Alps) from December 26th, and on sale now

British Airways is launching a new service to the French Alpine city of Chambery from Stansted and extending its Berlin service through the winter.panorama_chambery

The airline started flying from Stansted for the first time in May this year, adding a fourth London airport to its network.

Summer-only flights to Berlin, Faro, Ibiza, Malaga and Palma were due to operate until the end of October. But Berlin will continue through the winter and services to Faro and Malaga will be extended until November 20.

lg_758412The new twice-weekly service to Chambery will start on December 16, complementing the British Airways service from London City Airport which operates three times a week increasing to a daily service over the Christmas and New Year period.

Chambery is a gateway to many of the popular Alpine ski resorts, Meribel is just 60 miles away, Courcheval is 69 miles  and La Plagne  is 75 miles away.

Each way hand baggage only fares from Stansted to Chambery are on sale today (August 18) from £49. Each way fares from London City are also available from £65, inclusive of all taxes and charges.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager commercial and customer said:  “Our flights from Stansted have proved so popular with customers that we wanted to continue flying through the winter.  The introduction of the new service to Chambery also gives skiers and winter sports enthusiasts a gateway to one of the best Alpine snow regions direct from their doorstep.”

Mats Sigurdson, Stansted’s Aviation Director, said: “It’s fantastic news for passengers that British Airways will continue to offer flights during the winter season to Berlin plus launch an exciting new route to Chambery to serve the Alpine ski resorts of France.

“The announcement is a real vote of confidence in Stansted and recognition of the strong demand that exists across the region and will provide balogopassengers with even more opportunities to fly from their local airport this winter.”

Owning a winter hide-away . . .

Alps based property developer Alpine Lodges have today launched Kinabalu, an exclusive collection of 27 prestigious classic freehold apartments in the centre of Les Gets in the Portes du Soleil, due for completion in 2018.

Having completed four previous luxury chalet developments in the resort and with Annapurna, a further high end apartment development currently under construction, Kinabalu is a welcome addition to the expanding resort of Les Gets, which sits just 70km from Geneva Airport.

Facilities at Kinabalu will include a restaurant, bar, spa, concierge and underground parking. The development’s 27 unique residences vary in size from 1 bedroom apartments to a 6 bedroom duplex penthouse and are priced between €350,000 and €2.2million. Property purchasers will also be offered the services of the Alpine Lodges interior design team to create personalised layouts, furnishings and finishes.  Kinabalu sits just 50 metres from the slopes and offers stunning valley views.

Located in the Portes du Soleil, Les Gets offers easy access to 650km of piste between France and Switzerland. The resort offers family friendly facilities in addition to se

571836_num1166257_480x480

veral excellent restaurants, bars and shops. Kinabalu sits next to Annapurna, another 571836_num1166258_600x600Alpine Lodges residence currently under construction and reserving off plan. With the majority of Annapurna residences now sold, Alpine Lodges CEO Patrick Remme explains:

571836_num1166255_600x600“Les Gets is one of the best ski resorts in the Alps and offers something for everyone. Demand for our Annapurna residence has been very high so we’re delighted to secure another central development plot just next door on the site of L’Ours Blanc Hotel. Annapurna and Kinabalu will offer a standard of luxury not previously available in Les Gets”.

Company Information

Established in 1998, Alpine Lodges provide a full spectrum of property development services to buyers from across the globe. The company has developed over 500 properties in Courchevel, Meribel, La Tania, Val d’Isère, Tignes, Les Gets and Morzine.

Press Trip Opportunities

Visit an Alpine Lodges property in the French Alps to experience the high standards of construction and architecture for yourself. Contact amie@origami-media.com for more information.

Further Information

alpine-lodges.co.uk

89% of Ryanair’s customers are very satisfied

Ryanair, ‘Europe’s favourite airline’, ton 4th August released its ‘Rate My Flight’ statistics, which show that 89% of  surveyed customers were happy with their overall flight experience in June and July.

Over 8,800 UK and Irish customers used Ryanair’s ‘Rate My Flight’ function in the Ryanair app during the months of June and July, rating their overall experience, boarding, crew friendliness, service onboard and range of food and drink, from Very Good to OK to Poor.

Some 89% of respondents rated their overall trip ‘Very Good / OK’, recording similar ratings for boarding (86%), crew friendliness (97%), service onboard (96%) and range of food & drink (90%).

Category Very good / OK Very good OK Poor
Overall Experience 89% 53% 36% 11%
Boarding 86% 49% 37% 14%
Crew Friendliness 97% 63% 34%  3%
Service onboard 96% 53% 43%  4%
Range of Food & Drink 90% 31% 59%  10%

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said:

RMT“Rate My Flight is the latest digital initiative launched under year 3 of our “Always Getting Better” customer experience improvement programme, which allows customers to provide real-time reviews on their flights via the Ryanair app. We welcome all customer feedback so that we can continue to improve all aspects of the Ryanair customer experience. Customers who want to rate their flight should download the Ryanair app, allow for push notifications, and will be sent the survey through the app upon landing.” 

 

Learning to Fly, the BA way, next course is on 10th September

THE BRITISH AIRWAYS FLYING WITH CONFIDENCE COURSE CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF HELPING NERVOUS TRAVELLERS

britishairways_2168614691931681_thumb_3The British Airways Flying with Confidence course celebrates its thirtieth birthday on August 17 – having helped more than 50,000 people overcome their fear of flying since its launch.

To celebrate 30 years of running the course, the first 30 callers will receive a £30 discount for the Heathrow course on September 10. Customers can call 01252 793250 and quote “Facebook 30″ to receive the discount.

The first ever course ran at Leeds-Bradford Airport on August 17, 1986, and was conceived by British Airways pilots who were keen to give nervous flyers a trusted and familiar course to overcome their fear.

During the three decades the course has helped newlyweds go on their dream honeymoon, supported couples in long distance relationships, assisted family reunions, as well as new jobs and opportunities overseas.

The course even helped a former WWII pilot gain the confidence to return to the skies after many years of avoiding flying.

Thirty years later and a new generation of the airline’s crew host the course which is now offered at airports across the airline’s global network, including Johannesburg and Dubai, as well as the UK.

British Airways Captain Steve Allright who has been involved in the course since 1992, and continues to lead it today, said: “It’s a wonderful milestone to reach.

“We love flying, and want everyone to share that feeling of limitless opportunity and adventure that only air travel can really deliver.

“We’ve had so many incredibly heart-warming stories during the 30 years of the course, but what they all have in common is that we’re helping to connect people, and that definitely makes it all worthwhile.”

The one-day course includes a morning session with British Airways pilots explaining the technical side of flying and challenging regular areas of concern such as turbulence, and expert advice from a clinical psychologist on relaxation techniques, and managing anxiety.

The day still includes an actual flight with a dedicated British Airways A320 short-haul aircraft and crew – where customers can put the theory into practice.

Since the first course in 1986 which saw customers conquer their fears on board a BAC 1-11 aircraft, the programme has used several types of planes including a Boeing 757, Boeing 737 and the A320 aircraft used by the airline today.

The next course is at Heathrow on September 10, 2016

For more course dates check www.flyingwithconfidence.com

Blessed are the cheesemakers: barrel-aged feta

by Marianna Kolokotroni of Oliveology

A rich, authentic version of the familiar Greek favourite from Oliveology

“My cheese, tis plenty” sang the cyclops Polyphemus to the sea nymph Galatea, in what is believed to be one of the earliest references to the cheese we now call feta (the play Philoxenus of Cythera by Theocritus). Homer refers to it also, when he describes Odysseus’s arrival to a cave laden with ewe’s milk cheese.

Whether or not Polyphemus’ “overflowing cheese racks” ever won the heart of Galatea remains in dispute. Some say she caved; some say the absence of a second eye remained insuperable. What’s not in doubt, however, is the future popularity of his ewe’s milk cheese.

“In Greece we have it all day long. For breakfast, for lunch, as a snack, even as a dessert with some watermelon,” Marianna Kolokotroni of Oliveology says, cutting a pale, dewy hunk into generous samples. “Last night I had it with gigantes plaki”—Greece’s large white beans.

The real joy of feta
16265727-close-up-of-chicken-salad-with-feta-lettuce-and-tomatoesShe sources it carefully: though supermarket supplies are perfectly nice, they are “mild, quite generic, and manufactured in large quantities” she explains, which means milk comes from many farms all over the country. The real joy of feta, she continues, is that it varies enormously between regions—even between cheesemakers in Greece.

“Feta is a generic name. It simply means sliced,” says Marianna. “The feta from Athens will taste very different to the feta of Peloponnese.” Not only does the country boast a dramatic range of landscapes, but the herbs and grasses which grow vary also, giving rise to distinct differences between milk.

“What the sheep and goats graze on—thyme, oregano—has an effect. Then there’s maturation”—a factor in all cheese-making, of course, but particularly relevant to the barrel-aged feta in Marianna’s fridge.

Dating back centuries
At Oliveology, there are two kinds: the first matured for six months, the second for 12 months, in a birch barrel filled with brine: a tradition dating back centuries. This particular recipe has been around since 1937, when her supplier Kostarelos was first founded in Attica, a small town outside of Athens.

The story goes that as a young lad, Christos Kostarelos wanted to devote himself to cheese. His father obliged, with some large cauldrons and an annex room to keep him out the way while he churned. While Christos has now passed the casei-cultural reigns to his son, Kyriakos, his feta still cleaves to traditional methods.

The milk (a mixture of ewes’ and goats’—feta’s European PDO precludes cows’ milk) is thickened with homemade rennet—the recipe for which is a secret—at a medium-high temperature, then poured into moulds to remove the whey. After that, the remaining curds are salted and left to rest in a cold room for a while, before being put into the brine-filled barrels to steep.

Firmer and very strong
Sixty days is the minimum required for any raw cheese to be aged in Greece if it’s for sale greek-feta-cheeseelsewhere. Six months, of course, makes all the difference—12 months, Marianna tells us (though the taste says it all) is different again. “It is firmer and very strong. There is so much more to it, and the taste continues after you’ve finished it,” she says admiringly. “You don’t need to use as much.”

The six month is milder and creamier in comparison to its older cousin, but when measured against your bog standard feta, is far richer and deeper. Ten minutes previous we’d have balked at cheese pie for breakfast, one of the most popular daily uses for feta in Greece: now, with the salty, herbaceous flavour of barrel-aged feta still rolling around our mouths, we’re thinking again.

original article:  http://boroughmarket.org.uk/articles/blessed-are-the-cheesemakers-barrel-aged-feta

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 09.52.28Marianna Kolokotroni brings a form of liquid gold to Borough Market: Greek olive oil, produced on a family holding at the foot of the Taygetus Mountains, grown organically and hand harvested according to traditions used through countless generations. From elsewhere on the Greek islands, Marianna also sources fresh olives, artisan honey, raisins—which have PDO status and grow only in the Peloponnese region of southern Greece—and pistachios, grown and freshly roasted in small batches

 

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