The best Gift to Bring to a Dinner Party

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Here in Greece the traditional gift to take along when dining at someone’s house is cakes. Not just any cakes but cakes from a bakery. There is a very distinct difference between taking along some home made offering and that from a shop, and the pastry shops produce large sickly sweet confections full of honey and cream which no one ever appears to eat. Quite what happens to them all once the boxes are open is anyone’s guess but the most likely outcome is the boxes are piled in the fridge and then thrown out when the cakes have gone off.

If wine is taken along then it is far more appreciated if it is the home made variety in a plastic bottle rather than any of that rubbish bought from a shop which will be full of chemicals. Home made red wine from real grapes is highly prized and thought of as good medicine. It is known as spitico, and the best tavernas produce their own and people eagerly await the day when the barrel will be ready. Usually it is available from November to March and after that people need to risk being poisoned by shop bought wine.

Flowers aren’t terribly popular as gifts but there are a number of plastic flower shops which stock offerings. Real flowers grow outside but indoors they simply attract mosquitoes and die in the heat. However a gift of a pot plant in vibrant hues to add to the balcony display will always go down well, as would a pot of basil. Naturally one mustn’t be seen to eat the basil as this is considered a rather odd habit and if you want to buy a basil plant you must go to the florist.

Naturally it is acceptable to take a gift of olive oil for your hosts and it is fine if you put it in a plastic water bottle. This type of gift would be suitable when the first oil of the year is produced and it is fresh, and even if your hosts have just filled their own barrel with 100 kilos of olive oil for that year’s use they will still appreciate your offering as long as you didn’t buy it in shop. It is imperative that the oil must be from your own supply and it would be considered very bad form to try and pass off a plastic bottle from the shop as your own as most likely it could have been watered down.

These gifts of shop bought cakes, home produced olive oil, basil from a florist, and spitico wine will all be appreciated by your hosts. Just remember to keep the items in order and never turn up with home made cakes, shop bought wine, flowers out of the garden or olive oil from the shop.

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