Athanasios Parparoussis doesn't typically travel far from the Peloponnese peninsula where his family-run winery grows the Mavrodaphne and Agiorgitiko grapes he uses in his award-winning wines. In fact, a dinner this Monday, October 12 at Helen Greek Food & Wine will mark the first time Parparoussis has visited the United States.
The famous winemaker is coming along with his wife, Vasiliki, whose recipes will be featured in a family-style dinner that includes Athanasios's entire portfolio of wines (along with a few promised surprises from Helen's sommelier/owner Evan Turner). Chef William Wright will be cooking out of Vasiliki's own portfolio, which includes dishes such as roasted grouper with caper-scented tomato sauce and moussaka stuffed pumpkin.
Houstonia recently selected Helen Greek Food & Wine as the best new restaurant of the year, while Athanasios Parparoussis chose Helen as only one of a handful of restaurants he and his wife will be visiting. "They have been making wine since 1974 and they’re finally coming to America to show off their wines—and we get to be one of three they’re coming to,” says Brittany Meisner, who handles PR for Helen.
Those other two restaurants? They're in New York City. So how did Houston manage to get to be one of the chosen cities? Thanks to the same tenacity Turner employed to get Helen open in the first place after five long years of work. "Evan...extended the invitation and told them how much he loved their wine, and simply wouldn’t take no for an answer,” laughs Meisner.
We're sure the all-Greek wine list—the second largest in the US—couldn't have hurt. Either way, we’ll drink to that. Opa!
Parparoussis Dinner at Helen Greek Food & Wine, Oct. 12, 7 p.m., 2429 Rice Boulevard, $125, exclusive of tax and gratuity, space is limited to 45 guests. RSVP to [email protected]