Share

cover art for The Culinary Treasures of the Byzantine Empire

The Delicious Legacy

The Culinary Treasures of the Byzantine Empire

Season 1, Ep. 12

The most comprehensive archaeological excavation in Istanbul’s history, took place very recently in the 21st century; a 58.000 square meter area in Yenikapi region. Here was revealed one of the biggest harbours known in the ancient world dating back to the Byzantine Era, the Theodosius Harbour. Amongst the group of findings there were 36 shipwrecks dating between 5th and 10th century which is the biggest collection of Early and Middle Byzantine Period shipwrecks. These shipwrecks are important because of their very well preserved state. Several of them had been very spectacular, with a large number of amphorae still in position when they sank in the harbour. Their discovery, brings into light fascinating clues of the life in the late ancient city (and early medieval period) and offers some direct evidence of the foods and trading goods of the Byzantine Empire.


Where do I begin with the cuisine and food of the Byzantine Empire? This is a daunting task as this was an Empire stretching 3 continents at its peak and with over 1100 years history!


The Mediterranean trilogy of wine, oil and bread meets the flavours of the Orient and in turn this mingles with the gastronomic staples of the Roman Empire thousand years before, and thus creates the unique characteristics of the Constantinople's food character that made it to a de facto gastronomic space, having created its own culinary propositions and became established as the Christian capital of wine and gastronomic delights in the medieval world.


Find out more, and everything you need to know of the Empire that would make the "Game of Thrones" books blush, with the feasts and murders and plots of their emperors and nobility here!


Ancient & Byzantine music composed and played by Pavlos Kapralos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzgAonk4-uVhXXjKSF-Nz1A


Traditional Cretan Music by Cretan Brioche

http://cretanbrioche.com/


Music theme"Indu" in the History Hound ad by Aris Lanaridis: https://www.arislanaridis.co.uk/


More episodes

View all episodes

  • 2. Food of the Aztecs Pt2

    34:37
    Hello!Welcome to part two of our exploration of the foods of Aztecs.Corn, food of the Gods and humans.The ceremonial drink cacao and the alcoholic drink pulqueAll here.Plus the importance of the Florentine Codex, a document with descriptions of many native plants and animals and customs of the Aztecs.Here is the Florentine Codex, digital edition with English translation too:https://florentinecodex.getty.edu/book/11/folio/1v?spTexts=&nhTexts=Enjoy!The Delicious Legacy podcast
  • 1. The Foodways of the Aztec Empire Pt1

    26:18
    Hello!Season 5, has landed!Episode one, part one is out and it's all about the amazing, delicious and perhaps unique foods and farming methods of the Aztecs, and the other indigenous people of Mesoamerica, the area that roughly today covers the country of Mexico, itself a massive area with many unique ecological niches and diverse nature.The food and diet of Aztecs therefore can't be anything else but diverse, unique and adapted to the different climatic conditions of the area of modern Mexico City.So what do we know of their recipes, their dishes and their eating habits?Let's find out today and next week!LoveThe Delicious Legacy
  • 30. History of Irish Food with Regina Sexton Pt2

    01:29:24
    Hello!Excite about Part2 of our Irish Food History!The Irish palette, is coarse like an oat cake. Fatty from butter and meat, and salty from preservation of food.What animal shaped the culture of Ireland more than any other? I'll give you a clue with this amazing myth and story. Táin Bó Cúailnge, the story of the cattle raid of Cooley!What's the relationship with fish and seafood? What if an alien came down to Ireland and saw this island, surrounded by sea, and thought the Irish would eat a lot of fish, what is the reality and how it has been shaped by history, poverty and religion?And what about the famous bog butter?Regina Sexton is Food and Culinary Historian, Programme Manager MA in Food Studies and Irish Foodways, University College Cork. She has been researching and publishing in the area of Irish food and culinary history since 1993. As such, she is the best possible person to takes us through an adventure through the history of Irish foodways!Enjoy the latest episode!Thom & The Delicious Legacy
  • 29. A History of Food Culture in Ireland with Regina Sexton Part 1

    43:58
    Pomponius Mela, a Roman geographer, who hailed from the Roman province of Baetica (now Andalusia) in southern Spain writing in 43AD, he described the Ireland and Irish people as “a people wanting in every virtue, and totally destitute of piety”. And yet this country was so “luxuriant in grasses” that if cattle were “allowed to feed too long, they would burst”.Hello! The ancient Greek geographer and explorer Pytheas of Massalia while exploring north west Europe named the land of Ireland "Ierni" and from there Claudius Ptolemaeus ("Ptolemy") called the island Iouerníā . The Roman historian Tacitus, in his book Agricola (c. 98 AD), uses the name Hibernia. It meant "land of winter", and he modern name Eire derives from here.So today's episode, part 1, is all about the food history and food culture of ancient Ireland. I've talked with food historian Regina Sexton who is based in Cork to give me all the fascinating details of the rich ancient food history of Irish people.Regina Sexton is a food and culinary historian, food writer, broadcaster and cook. She is also a graduate of Ballymaloe Cookery School holding a Certificate in Food and Cookery. She is the Programme Manager of UCC's Post-graduate Diploma in Irish Food Culture. She has published widely at academic and popular levels. Her publications include A Little History of IrishFood (Gill & Macmillan, 1998) and Ireland’s Traditional Foods (Teagasc, 1997)I hope you'll enjoy my discussion with her and join me soon for part 2!See you soon,Thom & The Delicious Legacy
  • 28. A Short History of Ancient Mesopotamian Food (From the archives)

    41:45
    ...Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat,It is (like) the onrush of the Tigris and the Euphrates.Hello! The lines above are from a brilliant Assyrian hymn to the Goddess of the brewing process: Ninkasi. Also a good set of instructions on how to make beer!Aside from beer, there are many other inventions that Sumerians are credited with. But there is not enough time in my lifetime to write everything about Mesopotamian food!From Sumerians, to Akkadians to Assyrians and Babylonians, we're talking about civilizations and empires that lasted roughly four thousand years. More time has elapsed from the first cuneiform clay tablet in 3200BCE -when writing was invented- till the last tablet around 1st century AD, than from the last until today. What were their recipes? How do we know? And what about their food production systems and first documented agricultural practises?Enjoy!As you usual, if you want to contribute and help me do this podcast you can support me on Patreon. Music by the amazing Pavlos Kapralos!https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzgAonk4-uVhXXjKSF-Nz1A
  • 27. The Cuisine of the Black Sea Greeks

    30:00
    Deep in a mountain in the Pontic Alps, North-East Turkey, there's a monastery reminiscent of Tolkien's Minas Tirith; the seven-walled fortress city built on the spur of a mountain. Nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) and facing a beautiful wooded mountain valley is Panayia Soumela Greek Orthodox monastery, dedicated to Virgin Mary. This is the heartland of the Pontic Greeks. And my journey today begun from a church with the same name, near my home town of Veria, in Northern Greece, 1800 Km away from Trabzon, deep in a forested mountain on a similar altitude...Hello! The Pontic Greeks lived in the region of northern Turkey roughly in the areas of Trabzon, Samsun and Gerishun, Sinop for about 2 millennia before their forced expulsion and genocide.But their food and culture remains still alive luckily for us, and even their unique Greek language which traces its lineage to ancient Greek!So what did they eat? How they cooked their foods? And how does their cuisine differ from other Greeks, and the similarities with other Black Sea nations around...Some spectacular videos of Panagia Soumela Monastery and countryside in Trabzon region mountains:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQb3UJVvbmMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynLcqCxCh0sFor traditional Pontic produce in Greece today go to Thessaloniki and find this guy:http://ragian.gr/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=4Google map link for the Thessaloniki shop:https://maps.app.goo.gl/QJGjFiEBW4YN7W369The farm were they age cheeses in caves, smoke their own meats and produce their pasta:https://maps.app.goo.gl/yVQHg9HVdGDcEyWdAMore information about history and culture of Pontic Greeks:https://pontosworld.com/index.phpAnd the Guardian article that inspired me to do this episode today:https://www.theguardian.com/science/2024/apr/03/endangered-greek-dialect-living-bridge-ancient-world-romeykaWith music from Pavlos KapralosEnjoy!
  • 26. A Feta Fetish: Towards a better feta cheese for all

    41:07
    Hello....!Who hasn't heard of feta cheese among us?Now I'm not saying that you necessary need to like it, but most of us know about this white, tangy & salty Greek cheese served with your Greek salad on your favourite holiday destination.But is the feta cheese we eat a "fait accompli"? (or feta accompli?)What is Sfella or "Feta of the Fire"?On today's episode we look at the facts currently and finds out that this is by far not the truth.A lot of deception happens from the rugged mountains in the north west of Greece till the final product reaches your table in faraway lands...Here's some great PDO fetas and other delicious goat and sheep milk cheeses from Greece.Moiras Cheesemakers Geraki Lakonia: (Μοίρας Τυροκομικά, Γεράκι Λακωνίας) tel: +30 27310-71.378Traditional Cheesemaker Tsatsoulis Levidi Arkadias (Παραδοσιακό Τυροκομείο Τσατσουλή, Λεβίδι Αρκαδίας) www.tsatsoulis.com.gr Goat cheese with character: www.tousias.gr Another great Feta cheese: https://chelmos.gr/https://www.maltbyandgreek.com/chelmos-feta-pdo-4kg-in-100g-slicesThanks for listening!The Delicious Legacy
  • 25. From the archive: Traditional Easter Food in Orthodox Greece

    27:44
    Helloooooo...!Easter in UK and Western Europe (Catholic or otherwise) is nearly upon us!Traditionally the most important celebration of Christianity.On this episode from the archives, from April 2020, I'm re-publishing the episode about Eastern Orthodox Easter where I describe in some general terms what is happening during the Lent and Easter Sunday.As is the most important date of the religious calendar and as such, is celebrated in style!The Lent lasts 40 days and then follows the Holy Week (another lent period) and the the Easter Sunday celebrations!What is tsoureki? What do the Greek eat on Palm Sunday?Do they really paint red the hens eggs? Why?And what is "mageiritsa" that's eaten after the midnight mass on Saturday to Sunday morning?Centre piece of Easter Sunday is a whole spit roast lamb on charcoal, or two (or as is the case with my family 3)...and kokoretsi...If you're nostalgic (as a Greek that's stuck abroad and missing it this year) tempted and hungry do have a listen!Music by Pavlos Kapralos.We will back next week with a new episode...!Much love and happy Easter!The Delicious Legacy
  • 24. The birth of Modern Greek Cuisine

    26:18
    Hello!What is Greek Cuisine today?How do we define the food of the modern Greek nation? Clear and in many ways transparent cuisine.can it be defined from the simplicity and freshness of the ingredients, and her frugal, austere or thrifty nature?Is it just this though?And how Greek is mousaka, a dish that is considered so Greek throughout the world?These and much more, I explore on today's episode on the origins of creation of the modern Greek Cuisine and how this is a problem of definitionfor many national cuisines and the myth that is essential in their story.Enjoy!The Delicious Legacy