Taverna is a brand new quarterly magazine dedicated to Greece’s rich food culture and, not least, ‘all things nice’ in the Mediterranean country.
With the debut issue of a magazine, an editor is often eager to assert their vision. At the very least you find this in the editor’s letter or on the magazine’s website. Taverna takes a more humble approach. While a strip of text on the cover proclaims its broad theme – “Food and all things nice in Greece” – there are no indulgent justifications nor ambitious manifestos. It lets the content do the talking.
Taverna gives readers one clue. “Simplicity, great ingredients, knowledge and tradition are the words that came up every time we wanted to describe what Greek food means to us: a handful of ingredients, simple and clean flavours,” writes editor-in-chief Michalis Michael. “This is what we will try to demonstrate in every issue of this magazine.”
It is the very simplicity of Greek cuisine that provides the main inspiration for, and focus of, Taverna and issue one is based on a broad and simple theme of cooking over an open fire. Articles include a profile of Dourabeis (above), the one restaurant where “they know how to turn a fish into a mouthwatering masterpiece;” a feature that shares the secrets to cooking in the great outdoors (below); and an article in which archaeologist and artist Jerolyn Elizabeth Morrison recreates the food of Ancient Crete (also below).
Taverna is the personal project of Michalis Michael, editor-in-chief at LIFO – the largest free newspaper distributed weekly across Greece. It is published by Stathis Tsagkarousianos, who also works at LIFO as its publisher. A vast knowledge of Greek culture, demanded by Michael’s position at the helm of a major national newspaper, is evident in Taverna. Issue one takes readers on a trail through a number of Greek regions: sweets from Syros, the infamous wines of Santorini and a traditional kitchen in Crete.
It’s a bright, colourful publication, from the vivid yellow cover on; a visual highlight is artist Sotiris Trechas’ series of food images (above).
A chunk of pages at the back of the magazine is dedicated to the Greek translation of the issue. It seems important that a magazine so enthusiastic about Greek cuisine wants to share this with a local audience, as well as an international one, but with just the occasional tiny reference image breaking up page upon page of dense text, it does not feel a particularly inviting read.
All in all, Taverna is a pleasurable read but it is its outward approach that makes it stand out. When a creative project is at its very beginnings, why limits its possibilities with rigid definitions?
Editor: Michalis Michael
Creative director: Yannis Karlopoulos