Are you one of those tourists who love wandering from one island to the other in Greece and taking its taste with you? The Greek cuisine, with its wide variety of high quality ingredients and its wisely considered and highly beneficial combinations which summarize the knowledge of centuries, enjoys a privileged position in the global culture of taste alternatives. A trip to Greece means a fascinating exploration of tastes, flavors, unexpected combinations and endless variety. BUT at least don’t leave Greece without trying the following foods:
The delectable taramasalata: fish roe dip is a must. This creamy blend of pink or white fish roe with either a potato or bread base is best with a drizzle of virgin olive oil or a squeeze of lemon.
Olives & olive oil
Greek meals are accompanied by local olives, some cured in a hearty sea salt brine, others like wrinkly throubes, eaten uncured from the tree. Similarly, olive oil, the elixir of Greece, is used liberally in cooking and salads, and drizzled over most dips and dishes.
Each region in Greece, in fact, each household, has its variation on the classic grape leaf-wrapped rice parcel. Eaten as a finger food, some stuffed vine leaves incorporate mincemeat with the long-grain rice, others, simply a heady combination of thyme, dill, fennel, oregano or pine nuts.
Iconic Greek baked dish is based on layering: sautéed aubergine, minced meat fried pureed tomato, onion, garlic and spices like cinnamon and allspice, a bit of potato, and then a final fluffy topping of cheese and béchamel sauce.
Souvlaki is still Greece’s favourite fast food, both the gyros and skewered meat versions wrapped in pitta bread, with tomato, onion and lashings of tzatziki.
Settle down at a seaside taverna and eat as locals have since ancient times. Fish and calamari fresh from the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas are incredibly tasty and cooked with minimum fuss – grilled whole and drizzled with ladholemono (a lemon and oil dressing). Flavoursome smaller fish such as barbounia (red mullet) and maridha(whitebait) are ideal lightly fried.
Courgette balls (kolokythokeftedes)
Sometimes in the form of a patty, sometimes in a lightly fried ball, make sure to try these starters any chance you get. The body of the fritter is usually made of grated or pureed courgette blended with dill, mint, or other top-secret spice combinations. Paired with tzatziki, for its cooling freshness, you just can’t lose.
Grilled or marinated, it makes a fine meze(appetiser), or as an entree stew it in wine sauce and serve it with pasta.
Feta & cheeses
When in Greece, be sure to sample the vast array of fresh cheeses. Ask behind market counters for feta kept in big barrels, creamy and delicious. Or, sample graviera, a hard golden-white cheese, perfect eaten cubed, or fried as saganaki. At bakeries you’ll find tyropita (cheese pie), at tavernas, salads like Cretan dakos, which is topped with a crumbling of mizithra, a soft, white cheese.
Honey & baklava
Greeks love their sweets, often based on olive oil and honey combinations, with flaky filo pastry. The classic baklava is a start, layering honey, filo and ground nuts.
Source: BBC Good Food