I can’t lie. The first time I set foot in Greece it was love at “first sight”.
The sea, the sun, the landscapes and the Greek cuisine, man!
How many times have you eaten better than at home while traveling? Greek cuisine has some little secrets and many tasty products that I will try to tell in this article …
You will discover the four basic secrets by sitting in any Greek restaurant and maybe you will fall in love too:
- Fresh ingredients of good quality;
- correct use of flavorings and spices;
- Greek olive oil (don’t be surprised if you turn the Greek islands into the midst of millions of fragrant olive groves);
The Greek diet is also famous and recognized all over the world for the positive effects it generates on human health. Several scientific studies have shown that a balanced diet of this type produces positive effects on people’s beauty, longevity and health. It is no coincidence that the appetizing and tasty Greek dishes are mostly the result of ancient recipes of high quality but still simple and original.
If feta is known all over the world and needs no introduction because it accompanies so many Greek dishes, you may not know that almost every island or town can boast its own local cheese. There are white, soft and creamy cheeses, such as anthotyro, manouri, galotyri from Epirus, xinomyzithra from Crete and katiki from Domokos.
If, on the other hand, you prefer harder yellow cheeses, the ones that suit you are kaseri (Macedonia and Thessaly), kefalograviera (Dodoni), metsovone (Metsovo), Graviera (Creta, Tinos and Naxos), formaella (Arachova), karathaki (Lemnos), San Michali (Syros), Ladotyri (Lesbos), Kefalotyri and others.
The olive tree was a gift from the Greek goddess Athena to the capital and, since then, olive oil has been used in Greece for various purposes: in medicine, cosmetics and above all for food. Among the many Greek souvenir shops, there are several that sell products made with olive oil. If you are a lover of the genre, do not hesitate to stop and search.
If, on the other hand, you love olive oil as a food product, consider that in the Peloponnese, Crete, the island of Lesbos and central Greece you could find excellent products. But given the amount of olive trees around Greece and the islands, I don’t think you’ll ever have a hard time finding great olive oil, wherever you are.
Fresh fish and meat
Greece lives in close contact with the sea and, with it, its people and its delicious cuisine. A typical island dish is kakavia, a tasty fish soup that fishermen once prepared with small freshly caught fish. The fish can be served as an appetizer (meze) on the grill, fried or boiled. Oysters, mussels, sea urchins, shrimps, octopuses are among the many tasty “gifts” of the sea that you can taste in Greek taverns. Larger fish, on the other hand, are cooked in the oven or on the grill.
On the mainland or in the mountainous areas you can enjoy meat dishes, mainly lamb, pork or goat. Traditional dishes cooked with homemade pasta, meat pies from Epirus, tender kid meat cooked slowly in a casserole or rabbit stew with onions.
Souvlaki and gyros with pita (the soft Greek sliced bread) are popular street (or cheaper dish) foods that almost everyone knows. The culinary combinations in this case are many.
You can roll the meat inside the bread or savor it on the plate with a side of salad and fries. It is equally delicious.
To you the choice.
Greek wines occupy considerable importance in the international context of alcoholic beverages. Ancient traditions are combined with modern production techniques that give life to wines that have been awarded with various awards over the years.
Among the white wines you can find assyrtiko, moscofilero, athiri, zitsa from Epirus, roditis, robola from Kefalonia, Savatiano from Attica and vilana from Crete. If you prefer red wines you can instead opt for the agiorgitiko of Nemea, the xinomavro, the mantilaria and the kotsifali of Crete among many.
If you are looking for dessert wines, try without hesitation the movrodaphne, a sweet wine from Patras and Kefalonia, the Visanto from Santorini, the sweet muscat from Lemnos or Liatiko and Romeiko, two varietal wines from Crete.
Ouzo is a very famous Greek alcoholic flavored with anise. Serve with seafood or salty specialties (mezedes) by the sea. Always make sure it is served with ice cubes and a little cold water, which serve to give it a little whitish color and intensify its taste. The best distilleries of Ouzo are found on the northern Greek islands, in Thessaly, Chios and Lesbos. Tsikoudia and Tsipouro are spirits distilled in a similar way to ouzo. You can try the former in the bars and distilleries of Crete, the latter in Thessaly and Epirus
Honey and spoon desserts
Honey was once used as a basic sweetener for the dishes of the ancient Greeks. Today, as then, its nutritional value and medicinal properties are highly appreciated. Tradition also has it that in Greek weddings a spoonful of honey is served to the newlyweds as a sign of good luck in the new common life.
You can taste thyme honey in the mountainous areas of the country, pine from Euboea, fir honey from Mount Olympus, aromatic citrus honey from Epirus, chestnut honey from Mount Athos, as well as oak honey. and heather from various mountainous regions of the country.
As for the spoon desserts you can try those based on fruit, flowers and vegetables.
In Greece you will find tasty orange, pomelo and rose sweets in the Peloponnese, apples and walnuts on Mount Pelion, citrus and bitter orange in Epirus, cherry tomatoes in Santorini and Kos, pistachio on Aegina island, green olives, grapes and raisins in Crete, kumquats in Corfu and aubergines in Lenidion in the Peloponnese.
The spoon desserts are served with a glass of fresh water and, as they do not contain fat, they are an excellent healthy alternative to many other desserts and pastries without creating unnecessary remorse in you … Without sacrificing taste.
Source and photos: Visitgreece