On your journey around the Aegean Sea, you are bound to be overwhelmed by captivating scents. This is a region of countless gastronomic discoveries: delicious white or tomato sauces, tenderly cooked pulses, home-grown vegetables, bread and rusks with a robust flavor given by the local wheat and barley varieties as well as the flavourful fresh goat cheese compose a mouthwatering cuisine.
A Greek Food Experience
What are pulses
Pulses are dried fruit of an entire category of plants who belong to the family of legumes (Leguminosae) and took their name from the characteristic lobe that protects the seed during its formation and maturation. It is one of the key ingredients of Greek Mediterranean diet, as also a memory of our childhood, because of the persistence of Greek mothers in the consumption of pulses from all family members.
The fish dishes are the best ones as Greece is a country surrounded by the sea and fishing is a main factor of the Greek agriculture. But fish dishes are the tricky ones for the foreigners and tourist because in many Greek taverns the fishes are spelled wrongly and many west and north European tourists don't know so well the fishes of the Mediterranean.
The Greek food throughout its history and continuing today is for the Greeks a philosophy, they know that what makes a perfect feast is not just the food but also the good company. Food is nearly always prepared with the tastes of the guests in mind, should the dishes be roasted or fried, light or heavy? Much of the conversation at the dinner table centers amicably around the food. The freshness of the fish, having just leaped from the sea; the vegetables newly dug from the ground or picked from the vines of the local farmers. The host will want to proudly point out how they have attempted to provide the best and freshest produce for you to enjoy.
In Christianity, the period starting from the 25th of December, the day of Christmas, till the 5th of January is called the Twelvetide, meaning the twelve days of Christmas. During this festive season period, the annual celebration of the nativity of Jesus Christ takes place, which is concluded with the commemoration of His Baptism in the Jordan River at the day of the Epiphany.
Epirus’ is the north-west part of mainland Greece. Epirus has a very particular terrain, the mountainous areas, the sea, the climate and a centuries-old history have all played a part in creating countless dishes and tasty combinations that make up the local cuisine.
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.
When it came to food, the ancient Greeks revered three things: bread, wine and olive oil. They also stressed the importance of civilised, convivial eating – sitting down around a table to share a meal – which, like baking bread, fermenting grapes and pressing oil, was considered one of the signs of a civilised society. These days, not much has changed. Bread, wine and olive oil, along with fresh vegies, are the cornerstones of Greek cuisine. Known as the Mediterranean diet, it’s considered to be one of the healthiest models for eating.
Christmas is a very important festival in Greece and traditionally food plays a major role. This is a good chance for families to come together over the decorated table and try Christmas food prepared by the housewife. The traditional Christmas celebration lasts for 13 days, from Christmas Eve until Epiphany on January 6th, the day when the baptism of Jesus Christ is symbolically celebrated.
More than 60% of New Yorker's are not going to cook dinner tonight, and if you are one of them you just had a scent memory of all those delicious aromas arising from that Greek restaurant near your office. Is Greek cuisine a healthful meal choice? As with any restaurant, Greek or otherwise, there are healthy choices and less-than-healthy choices on the menu. Some of the Greek classics such as gyros, spanakopita, dolmadakia, and fried squid can be loaded with sodium and fat.
Many people don’t realize that Greek food is some of the healthiest food that you can consume. Haloumi, souvlakia, baklava…there’s so much to love about Greek cuisine, including the significant health benefits that go along with a Mediterranean diet. Recent studies have shown that this eating pattern can reduce your risk of dementia and reverse symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also helps in preventing heart attacks and promotes a generally longer life. Opa!
Greece has long been a family holiday favourite with its beautiful blue waters, child-friendly beaches and abundance of flavour-packed fare. Make sure you sample all the country has to offer with our pick of delicious dishes…
Don’t leave Greece without trying…
Greek cooking is fun for many reasons. The fact that some recipes have existed for thousands of years always creates excitement among those who are preparing Greek food – most of us have been exposed to some aspect of Greek history while in school, but it is even better when we get to eat something instead of study!
Did you know that in the Greek islands they have found fossilized olive leaves dating back 50-60,000 years old! The Greeks have been harvesting olives for quite some time.
It is said that Greece devotes around 60% of its cultivated land to exclusively growing olives.
Greek fisherman’s soup (known in Greece as Kakavia | κακαβιά) is a delight. It truly is a mouthwatering dish to make which will show off the flavours of whichever fish you choose to throw in. Why? I think the main reason this soup pops in flavour without much work is because you get to use the natural saltiness from the fish, plus, by using a variety, you get a small taste of each of their unique flavour qualities. Greek fisherman’s soup has a base of only water because extra stock in not necessarily needed to make the dish taste yummy. Of course, you can add vegetable stock and different herbs if you would like as this never hurts.
Greeks approach food with a combination of seriousness and nostalgia, inevitably thinking back to the dishes they were raised on. They don’t eat to live but rather live to eat, and a meal is almost always a social, convivial occasion, which revives the original meaning of companionship – people who broke bread together. Greek cuisine offers unique treats.
For the marinade
8 lamb rib chops (approx. 700g/ 25 oz.)
1/3 of a cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 1/2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (optional)
zest of 1 lemon
For the potatoes
4 medium sized potatoes, cut into wedges
1 large clove of garlic, minced
50ml olive oil (1/4 of a cup)
80ml water (1/3 of a cup)
1 tsp dried oregano
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp semolina
salt and freshly ground pepper