2011 Greek Christmas Gift Guide + Two Book Giveaways!!

Spread the love

Christmas is less than a month away and it’s time to get shopping and buy those presents for those important in your life. Much like last year, I’ve compiled a selection of gifts that would interest the Greek in your life or the philhellene. There’s something for everybody here and gift ideas that suit all budgets.

Many Greeks believe in the evil eye and we’ll hang charms on cars, in homes, walls and even wear jewelry to ward off the evil eye. Take your pick of which you like and give some as Christmas presents.

If I can make bread, anyone can! Ever since I bought a pizza stone I can now make killer homemade bread and pizza better than most pizzerias.

The Euro Cup 2012 is on next year and one of “good news” stories to come out of Greece is that the Greek National team has already qualified. Wouldn’t you look good sporting a Greek soccer jersey as Team ELLAS tries to repeat 200 glory?

One of the best ways to enjoy Greek coffee is to prepare it using a brass Briki...the more traditional – the better I say.

Since we’re on the subject of Greek coffee, if you want to splurge or treat the Greek coffee lover – buy a “Hovoli” where the coffee is made in the Hovoli where the Briki is placed in hot sand then once it froths, the coffee is poured into the demi tasse. Pricey but the best way to make Greek coffee.

One of the cherished items I brought back from Greece was this mortar & pestle made of olive wood. I think you should have one too!

Pamper yourself and your skin with Greek olive oil soap. I swear, you’ll stay young-looking and delay that appointment with the plastic surgeon.

One of my favourite comprehensive Greek cookbooks has to be Tessa Kiros’ “From Many Greek Kitchens”. The photography is beautiful, nostalgic, the recipes easy and delicious.

Mastiha is a spice that comes from the island of Chios, in the northeast Aegean Sea. My friends at Mastihashop NY have created these gorgeous gift sets that include some products with mastiha, olive oil and other Greek food stuffs. Below are just some of the gift sets available and you can call or email them for prices, gift descriptions and prices.

Rosa Eskanazi was the Queen of Rebetiko music and this movie “My Sweet Canary” about her life and music is my favourite “foreign film” of the year and the soundtrack is amazing too!

Here’s a couple of book giveaways: The Mastihashop has donated the cookbook “Mastiha Cuisine” by my friend Diane Kochilas. This book’s recipes all contain the unique spice from Chios – mastiha.Earlier this year I met cookbook author Maria Speck when she came to Thessaloniki to visit her mom. Her book “Ancient Grains for Modern Meals” was included in the New York Times’ Notable Cookbooks of 2011 list! I am giving away her book as my Christmas present to my readers.

To be eligible to win one of the two cookbooks, all you have to do is leave a comment and tell me which cookbook you would prefer to receive. One comment only, draw to be held Dec. 18th, 2011. Book giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents only. Good luck!


© 2011 – 2012,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

40 Comments for “2011 Greek Christmas Gift Guide + Two Book Giveaways!!”


I have enjoyed your site and have followed it . Your recipes, descriptions and photos all make for a quick”taxidaki”( trip) to our beautiful Ellada !
I am of Mikrasiatiki ancestory and some of your recipees are reminisent of our beloved Patrida (Alatsata & Halikarnasos). My choice of book would be Mastiha Quisine . Chios holds a special place in my heart for the reason that in 1912 when my maternal side were expelled from Alatsata, Mikrasia, they were taken first to Chios then were most welcomed to the USA.



Hello Peter,
Few months ago I found your website and I really love it! I like cooking a lot and enjoy so much to read and follow your recipes. I miss Greece a lot, but try to visit my parents and family there every year (I live in Guelph). I am particularly in love with Halkidiki, among the most beautiful places in Greece.
I would love to have Δημιουργίες με μαστίχα book.
Happy Holidays!



I’m learning to cook with grains like buckwheat and amaranth and I would love some help! “Ancient Grains for Modern Meals” sounds amazing…thank you for the chance to win!



I would love to have the Mastiha Cuisine cookbook.Such a wonderful giveaway,about a cuisine I particularly love to eat and savor,but not very familiar with the history and recipes,this book would be fabulous to win.thanks for the chance,and thanks for such an authentic and interesting blog.

Angela Papas


Both cookbooks are very nice but the Masticha one intrigues me. Plus my family is from the island of Chios so I’d love to win that one.



I have gone to 2 cooking classes with Diane,she showed me how to roll out filo for the
first time,I thank her every time I make a pita.Would love to have her book.
Thank you Yanni

Andrea B


Hi Peter, I have been following your blog since the beginning and absolutely love it and look forward to reading it every day. I would like to enter the contest to win the book, and I prefer the Ancient Grains book.
Thank you!
Andrea B


Terrific gift guide Peter. I’m coveting that mortar and pestle – and that ‘ancient grains’ cookbook. Hey, you look pretty snarky in that blue and white cap..

Green Tears


I would love the Ancient Grains cookbook!

I enjoy visiting this site everyday – good reading, beautiful pictures and great recipes!

Thanks so much, Peter.



Hi Peter, I love your blog; my husband loves the roasted lamb and the grilled calamari recipes you have provided! I am branching out into cooking grains other than boring, white rice, and would like to be entered for the Ancient Grains for Modern Meals book. Thanks so much for the wonderful contest, and for an amazing blog!


“kalo mati” is such a great little souvenir to give out to friends and colleagues. Can I add Cretan honey as another awesome Greece-inspired non-perishable gift?
I wouldn’t lie, I’d love to win the Ancient Grains cookbook, though the Mastiha one would certainly provide an incentive to incorporate this ingredient into our meals.


Think I’ll opt for the Food From Many Kitchens book as everyone else is opting for the book on grains, which also sounds splendid, Speaking of beyond splendid, Peter, we love your blogs, pictures, recipes. You take us all on a virtual tour of Greece’s most delectable tastes and gift us with the visual feast of your marvelous photographs. I can almost taste every delicious dish with which you dazzle our collective palate. Efharisto!



Ti Kaveis Petro;

I am so happy to have found your blog a few years ago and look forward to every post.
My knowledge and skills in Greek cuisine have greatly increased due to your blog and
I cannot thank you enough :)
The ancient grains cookbook sounds awesome…
Thank you for all the work you put into this website…

Kala Xristouyenna!



Thanks for the great giveaway! I think both books look really interesting, but I would have to pick the Ancient Grains. I really enjoy reading your blog. It so full of good food and amazing culture.



Oh this is a tough one. They both look wonderful! I think I would like to start with the Ancient Grains book.

Thanks for the wonderful blog. I’ve cooked so many wonderful meals thanks to you.



What a delicious dilema! I think the Ancient Grains book would be used more in my kitchen.
Thanks for the chance to win, and the great gift ideas.



Diane Kochlias – Mastiha Cuisine would be my preference.
Thanks, I’m so pleased to have discovered this site.


As you probably know, I love your blog, Peter.
Since I already own the Masticha cookbook, the Ancient Grains book would be a welcome addition to my kitchen.
Thanks for sharing Greek food with the world!

Suzie Dods


I would LOVE the Tessa Kiros book or the Ancient Grains book!
I get your post every day ( or most every day) and it transports me back to the Aegean Greek Isles, Koufanissi, Paros, Iraklia and Naxos. I mentally go to the Athens Metro, to the streets of Athens and the food of Greece.
I remember how welcomed I was on Paros and the simplicity of the food and the lifestyle of Koufanissi.
My biggest success was being able to speak some Greek and I would dearly love to go back for an extended stay.
Thank you for your blog and posts.


Hey Peter! Love your list this year. I always find it hard to find unique gifts for my parents, but I think you have helped me out – the ‘Hovoli” is a great idea! Now I just have to get my hands on one.
Would love to enter your book giveaway for the mastiha book. Thanks. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year.



I would love to win the Ancient Grains for Modern Meals cookbook. This past spring, my partner and Idecided to do the 40 day Greek fasting (Lent) and that’s when we decided to try a lot of whole grain cooking. Since then we’ve completely eliminated any processed foods from the house, and any enriched flours or sugars. It’s been quite the learning curve, and I’m still short on recipes that meet our taste buds’ needs. We especially miss a lot of Greek food. It would be nice to win this book and expand our recipe collection.
Wishing you and your family all the best for the Christmas holiday season! Looking forward to your 2012 blog entries… always entertaining, always informative.
Rania in Vancouver, BC, Canada



I’d love to win the Mastiha Cuisine Cookbook. It looks great.

Pizza stones are awesome! They make the best bread baked directly on them, besides pizza crusts.


Peter, both of those cookbooks look like they’d be marvelous for a great read and tons of experiments in the kitchen. I think I’d prefer Mastiha Cuisine by Diane Kochilas. Thanks for a great contest and Happy Holidays!

Rich Blackmon


The ANCIENT GRAINS book look amazing! I would love to cook from it. Your blog is one of my favorites and I enjoy all your posts on everything Hellenic. You are once again helping me to a Greek Christmas (food wise at least.) Keep up the good work! Eυχαριστώ!



I wish for the Grains cookbook. Thanks for the offer and the continued access to your vast knowledge of all things Greek.

Diane in Northern Calif


Since I enjoy using Diane Kochilas’ “The Food and Wine of Greece”, adding her “Mastiha Cusine” to my cookbook collection would be a nice treat. The fact that my husband’s family comes from Chios is and added attraction.