Greece is a country blessed with a rare Mediterranean beauty, which unfolds in an extraordinary diversity of land and seascapes, opening your horizons to every possible kind of experience, not least gastronomical. Forget that the Greek sun and sea are there to put the finishing touches on our beaches. Think instead of the delicious things they produce, from the copious quantities of miraculous olive tree to the lowliest mollusc.
Greece promises to be a gastronomy experience that you’ll never forget. Here you’ll take part in a game of discovering new tastes and aromas, new combinations of foods, new fruits of the earth. The gastronomy here will excite you: traditional Greek breakfast, colorful authentic Mediterranean cuisine, local products, fine wines, flavourful beers and local spirits.
Every corner of the country has its unique specialties, dishes that have evolved over time from the interplay of necessity and invention; from raw materials that grew naturally in harsh or fertile environments; from passersby – invaders or refugees – who introduced new ideas and from the Orthodox Church, whose stringent regulations regarding fasting compelled countless generations of housewives to create an enormous repertoire of wonderful vegetarian and vegan dishes. Come and discover Greek cuisine in all its manifestations; regional or Panhellenic, traditional or modern, sophisticated or simple. The single thread of Greek ingenuity connects all the culinary experiences you will have here.
Greek cuisine in the big cities
In the big cities, you’ll dine at innovative and star-spangled restaurants serving new Greek cuisine and you’ll visit traditional markets that have been open since the 19th century. Shop windows and open-air displays will entice you with their novelties and freshness, inviting you to sample and taste familiar or unfamiliar foods. Live like a local in a land that has been influenced by waves of conquerors and embrace the habits that have for so long nourished body and soul of an entire nation. Every place is its own little gastronomic kingdom.
Gastronomic tradition in Greece
The key for any visitor is to ‘go local’, enjoy the gifts of the land and see and the company of people who have upheld ancient culinary traditions for centuries. Exchange toasts with your neighbors as you drink wine made from exquisite home-grown grapes. Have fun at lunch parties on Sundays and holidays that last till evening, enjoying traditional dishes that have been seasoned with love and special care.
Think of the gastronomic wealth of Greece as a giant gift basket full of natural perfumes and tastes. Peel the most succulent peach you’ve ever seen and let a glistening, juicy twine cascade over your wrists and fingers. Take a sip of fruity Nemean red wine or flinty Santorini white and let the sublime taste wash over you. Feel the energy flow after a light but fortifying Greek breakfast.
Ask the vendors at the farmers’ markets to choose their best produce for you. Swim at dawn and watch the fishermen haul in their catch; then order it for lunch at the beach taverna. Let your senses revel in what freshly picked fruit and vegetables should really taste like. Imagine biting into the firm flesh of naturally grown tomato in the shade of a courtyard ringed by chattering cicadas.
Wine and Greece’s local spirits
Discover award-winning Greek wine from historic vineyards. Share traditional local drinks – an aromatic tsipouro, ouzo or raki of a local producer – and enjoy the refreshing and flavourful Greek beers that have been gaining more and more fame in recent years. Finally be sure to try the one of a kind mastiha from Chios, as a liqueur as well as in a cocktail. The drinks and spirits that the Greek soil produces put the extra zing in those memorable holiday moments.
Turn your exploration of the flavors of Greece into an exciting gastronomic odyssey. Here is a list of the fantastic dishes or snacks that you can taste during your visit in Greece:
Chicken Souvlaki: grilled pork skewer. In almost every road there was a little shop with a barbecue that was constantly serving this snack. It can be accompanied by various sauces, but the most popular is garlic sauce.
Tiropitakia: little triangle shaped pastries filled with the quintessentially Greek cheese: feta, and with other cheeses. They're quite salty and excellent! They're normally eaten at breakfast.
Feta Cheese: I had already tried this cheese in Portugal, but trying it in Greece was quite a different experience. It really is better to try it in its place of origin!
Honey: Greek honey is totally different from what we consider to be honey! The honey we tried was a home-made money, quite thick. This is only due to the type of flower which influences its flavor and consistency. It was great mixed with the famous Greek yogurt.
Greek Yoghurt: in spite of already having tasted the "Greek yogurts" which are produced for other countries like Portugal, the real Greek yogurts are very different since they are actually genuine. I don't know how to explain the difference, you just have to try it and feel it.
Yogurt Sauce with Garlic: this is one of the most famous sauces in Greece. It's very frequently used to dress salads and meat dishes.
Giant Beans with Tomato, roasted in the oven: this was one of the meals that we tried and which delighted us. The main ingredient, the giant bean, is produced in the North of Greece, so it's a very common ingredient in Greek gastronomy. This dish is essentially made with the giant bean, tomato, lots of olive oil, onion, pepper, parsley and black pepper. It's all put in a tray and roasted in the oven. It's a very simple recipe, quite healthy, and very tasty! You have to try it if you're visiting Greece!
Bread with olive oil, garlic and oregano: beyond being very common in Portuguese cooking, this snack also appears in Greek cuisine! It's used to accompany main dishes.
Greek Potato Salad: this salad is also an accompaniment for other dishes, and consists of, on top of potato, pepper, garlic, and salad and is dressed in a way that highlights a sour taste that isn't from the vinegar or from the lemon.
Kadaifi: this is a typical Greek pastry. It's made with a dough which has a very peculiar consistency. This consistency is due to the very many fine layers that compose the base. Its principal ingredients are honey and almonds and it's great! We brought this pastry back to give to friends and they loved it!
Pastries with honey: I don't know the actual name of this pastry, but it's very easy to find it (and it's worth it! ) in pastry shops (of which there are many).
Coffee: the coffee is more expensive than in Portugal, but it's just as good!
Since Greek gastronomy is Mediterranean, it's very healthy and rich in distinct flavors. You will love the experience!