Feast Greece (2008)

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Released 12-Nov-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Lifestyle Menu Audio
Featurette- (6.27)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 217:23 (Case: 223)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Robert Grieve
Harry Panagiotidis
Michael Dickinson
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Barry Vera
Case Amaray Variant
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In)
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Feast Greece is an interesting food-lifestyle-travel series that successfully demystifies the culture and culinary delights of Greece's most famous cities. While the focus of the series is primarily gastronomic, there is an interesting balance of geography, history and culture present. For those who aren't familiar with this show, I would describe it as a cross between The Food Lover's Guide and Lonely Planet, and if you're the slightest bit interested in Greek culture or cuisine then this series will certainly appeal.

    There are nine episodes in this series, spread over two dual-layered DVDs. Episodes 1 to 5 are on disc one, while disc two contains the remaining episodes and extras. The episodes each average about 24 minutes in length.

    Episode 1: Garden Of The Aegean - We begin on the island of Lesvos and learn of it's rich produce; namely Olives, Sardines and Ouzo. Due to it being relatively isolated and rather close to Turkey, there are many unique customs and dishes on offer. After discussing a little of the island's history, we're given some insight into the process of Ouzo making.

    Episode 2: Lesvos- The Virgin Mary Festival - Continuing our exploration of Lesvos, we take a look at one of their most widely celebrated religious festivals, which involves a six-hour pilgrimage by foot up an ancient stone path to the town of Agiassos. Some time is also dedicated towards explaining the island's name and it's association with the word "Lesbian".

    Episode 3: Chios- The Weeping Isle - An amazing centuries-old village, Chios has a labyrinthine design that was intended to deter invaders but nowadays it just confuses tourists. We visit a farm of weeping trees where mastic is harvested. The clear resin has a plethora of uses, from adhesives to drink flavourings.

    Episode 4: Athens- Athena - In the Olympic city, we visit a people's market and explore the vast array of produce on offer. Tucked away in the market is a quiet 24-hour restaurant where Barry tries a rather dodgy-looking broth. One of the highlights of the series for me, we're introduced to poet-sandal maker Stavros Melissinos who recounts his experience making sandals for all four Beatles in the 60s.

    Episode 5: Crete- Milia - A little more focused on architecture and lifestyle now, we visit a very old market that was built on the site of a Venetian bastion. Then, before attending a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding, we're shown how snails (a Cretan specialty) are harvested, as well as hand made filo pastry.

    Episode 6: Crete- A Taste Of Honey - We visit a family-owned farm where a vast array of produce is made, including grapes, wine, herbs and honey. After cooking up a dish of snails, we explore the renowned local pottery galleries and meet a few of the artists.

    Episode 7: Zagoria & Ioannina- Behind The Mountains - Zagoria is an isolated region with fantastic restaurants and very unique architecture. Wild mushrooms are prominent in the bush here and feature on most of the menus, but this episode does highlight the effect climate change has had on yields.

    Episode 8: Meteora - The monasteries of Meteora were built upon enormous rock formations that are truly a sight to behold. At the age of 73, father Dositheos is a world-famous chef whose simple book of traditional recipes has been translated into countless languages. He cooks a number of dishes for us from his monastery kitchen. We also visit an iconography studio to see how students create the decorative religious artworks.

    Episode 9: Greek Offerings - An overview of the whole series, as Barry hits his home kitchen and prepares a number of his Greek favourites.

    Host Barry Vera was born in the United Kingdom and has worked at a surprising number of restaurants throughout the world, including the prestigious Waldorf. Barry has been living in Australia since 2001; Feast Greece is his third series for SBS television, alongside Feast India and Feast Bazaar. His restaurant, Véra, located in Brighton, Melbourne, dissolved last year and reports have suggested he will not be returning to television, which I hope is not true. The official feast-tv website has not been updated to include this series at all, which is also strange.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This series was produced in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, for broadcast on digital free-to-air television.

    Horizontal resolution is an issue with this transfer, in fact I recall complaining of the same artefacts in my review of the first series. The image is jagged and edgy, which is exacerbated whenever the camera does a smooth pan. It's a shame, because the photography is really excellent and this artefact detracts from the experience.

    MPEG compression is relatively well controlled. Some MPEG grain is visible during scenes containing great detail, and this extends to blocking in some scenes, particularly shots of water or lakes.

    The broad range of rich colours is handled very well. I didn't notice any obvious bleeding or oversaturation during the feature. There's plenty of depth present in the darker scenes when need be.

    Two English subtitle streams are present, one of which is burned into the picture to translate any Greek dialogue that pops up. Another English subtitle stream may be selected for the hard of hearing, and it seems to do a reasonable job of transcribing the remainder of the spoken word.

    This disc is dual layered, however I didn't notice any layer break. I would presume the layer transition is placed between episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only a single Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack included, primarily in English of course. The back cover confusingly lists two stereo soundtracks; English and Greek- but I suspect this may intended to indicate the two languages that are present.

    The dialogue is a combination of post-dubbed narration and comments spoken directly to the camera. Barry has a clear voice with a mild British accent and is very easy to understand.

    The stereo soundtrack is very bright and contains a lot of depth, particularly in the accompanying Greek traditional music. I didn't notice any obvious panning between the left and right channels, but I have no doubt that this is a stereo soundtrack.

    The subwoofer and surround channels are obviously not utilised at all.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu pages are static and include clips of music from the feature.

Featurette (6:27)

    Barry discusses the decision to take the series to Greece and shares a couple of anecdotes from his journey.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title appears to only be available in Australia (Region 4) at the moment. The PAL-formatted discs in this set are coded for all regions.

Summary

    Feast Greece is an excellent series for foodies and aspiring travellers alike. This package gathers all nine episodes onto two discs, with some brief extra material.

    The DVD transfer is on a par with the series' standard definition digital broadcast.

    The extras are brief, but interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using HDMI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Bring back feast - Jonathan