Griffins and grapes

Griffins and grapes

Griffins and grapes Courage, chivalry and determination. These are the characteristics of the students sorted out to be a member of the Gryffindor House, one of the four houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry Potter and his pals are the foremost Gryffindors, fiercely competing with the rival house Slytherins.

Harry Potter did not have it easy to be a part of the house. It was the sorting hat that decided who went to which house, and it definitely had a tough moment to decide on the destiny of Harry Potter.

The hat trembled and shook, and hesitated for a moment and finally told Harry Potter: “You might belong in Gryffindor; Where dwell the brave at heart; Their daring, nerve and chivalry; Set the Gryffindors apart.”

It was the right choice. Harry Potter could not be a true hero if he was not from the Gryffindor House. The symbol of Gryffindor is the lion, its colors red and gold, and it represents the element fire; all representing power, passion, perseverance and persistence. All the virtues of the house come from the mythological creature Griffin that is the symbol of power. Griffin is also about safeguarding, and it protects the site of Metropolis in Turkey, which is close to Ephesus, near Torbalı. Griffin is half-eagle, half-lion; with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, it rules the sky and the land. Metropolis had a particular significance; it was the city dedicated to the Mother Goddess, Mater Gallesia.

Torbalı is a small village in the Aegean, literally an agricultural paradise. Its bounty has been famous throughout antiquity, while the city of Metropolis practically fed the great city Ephesus; it was a small but powerful stop on the trade route halfway between Ephesus and Sardis. According to ancient geographer Strabon, it was also famous for its wines. Mosaics depicting wine god Dionysus have been found in the agora of the town. It is amazing that the city remained untouched until 20 years ago, almost completely covered with earth, until it was first excavated by Professor Recep Meriç of Izmir 9 Eylül University. The legendary griffin must have safeguarded the dormant city from the evil eyes and looters, which was like the patron saint of the town. Now the theater, the bouleuterion, the baths and gymnasium, and the agora are completely unearthed, revealing the whole layout of the ancient city. A griffin stone carving found in the theater of Metropolis is now displayed at the İzmir Archaeological Museum. The destiny of Metropolis is strangely parallel to an old winery of Torbalı. The local wine brand Idol was a nearly dormant wine house when the İzmir-based businessman/ entrepreneur Lucien Arkas bought a share of it a couple of years ago. Like the city of Metropolis, the awakening of the winery was swift.

If Arkas were to be at Hogwarts School, he would surely be sorted as a Gryffindor student by the sorting hat, just like Harry Potter. In real life, the legendary griffin became the symbol of his establishment. A true lover of history and land, Arkas decided to revive the winery, eventually bought most shares and renamed it with his own initials LA and chose the protector of Metropolis as the symbol of the winery. Now LA owns the biggest single organic vineyard in Turkey. The very same characteristics fit for Gryffindor is true for Arkas, a small devilish power man of persistence, perseverance and passion. He himself became the griffin, safeguarding the grapes of Metropolis.

Bite of the week

Recipe of the Week: It’s just the time to make a perfect grape jelly. Crush roughly about 3 kg of fragrant red grapes, bring to a boil and simmer with 1 L of water for about 30 minutes. Strain the juice through a muslin cloth; letting it drip without squeezing for a couple of hours. You must have at least 1.5 L of juice, mix with 1 kg sugar and bring to boil again. Skim the froth, when it reaches the jelling point, pot into jars while still hot. If the grape is low in pectin you can add a sachet of pectin when you add the sugar.

Fork of the Week: Another fine product by Arkas is Kristal olive oil. Olive oil is another ancient product of the bountiful land of Aegean region. Sold also in nostalgic old-fashioned rectangular tins, Kristal is a classic brand that deserves keeping on the kitchen counter.

Cork of the Week: LA is also a big importer of fine foreign wines. One of the most exciting new product distributed by LA is an unusual sparkly just fit for the last days of summer. Fresita is an original blend of Chilean sparkling wine made with the charmant method, flavored with handpicked strawberries.

Another fine choice for the last of summer days is their own produce, LA Mon Réve Viognier, made under cold fermentation to preserve the wonderful aromas of the luscious grape. Both will definitely make your day!