Summer holidays are fast approaching and all we want is a little freshness and colour on our plates! So get to your forks! Let’s go on a gastronomic trip to Greece.
Greek cuisine is part of the Mediterranean diet and as such, it is recognized worldwide for its nutritional virtues. It is based on sharing, friendliness and hospitality, typical values of the peoples of the Mediterranean basin. Greek cuisine is therefore a generous, colourful cuisine, full of juicy and tasty vegetables, aromatic herbs, often seasoned with excellent olive oil (an attribute of Turkish gastronomy that reveals the influence of Ottoman domination) and a drizzle of lemon juice. From Athens to Thessaloniki via Mykonos, let’s discover together 10 essential dishes of Greek gastronomy.
The Mezedes are the unquestionable symbol of the sharing and conviviality typical of Greek cuisine and the Mediterranean diet in general. These small appetizers with their authentic flavours, which work a little like Spanish tapas, can be enjoyed as a starter or become a single dish but they should always be shared in good company, often with a glass of ouzo, an aniseed-flavoured aperitif that can be eaten well chilled. The Greek mezedes are almost endless, here are some of them to taste absolutely!
Horiatiki, the Greek salad
The Greek salad is the essential starter of the country’s cuisine that can be found on every table. Of an absolute freshness it is known, appreciated and consumed all over the world. But in Greece, its flavour is unique because the ingredients are necessarily tastier: tomatoes and peppers bursting with sunshine, feta cheese eaten directly at the source, black olives with a perfect roundness, almost sensual, onion and cucumber fresh and juicy, and aromatic herbs incredibly fragrant! Once the dish is finished by all the guests, don’t forget to make “papara”, in other words, to sauce the dish lightly.
Mmmmmmhh the tzaziki and the human race, a great love story! No need to make introductions, it can be eaten as an appetizer but it also accompanies most traditional dishes. Nested in the heart of a piece of pita just out of the oven, it is a real treat.
A spinach and feta puff pastry is a perfect dish for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. In addition to being delicious, this kind of pie is also very practical to eat and to carry, it will quickly become your best companion on the beach or on a boat, lost in the middle of the sea.
Dolmadakia, the stuffed vine leaves
Summer is the best time to visit Greece if you want to taste its little wonders while they are still fresh. The rest of the year you will find them canned but still succulent. Enjoy them cold, or hot if they are fresh.
It is surely the most famous Greek dish in the world, a tasty gratin of minced meat and eggplant, drizzled with tomato sauce and béchamel sauce.
Souvláki, a meat brochette
These meat skewers (beef, pork or chicken) can be served on a plate or in a pita, accompanied by vegetables, tzaziki and even fries, for a complete meal on the go.
The famous Greek sandwich that can be found all over Greece and the islands. The price-quality ratio is unbeatable, the price, like that of souvlâki, generally hovers around 2€ for an explosion of flavours in the mouth and a well-filled belly.
And now let’s talk desserts. The Ottoman influence in Greece is probably most strongly felt in the kitchen. The baklava and a whole host of other oriental pastries, present and appreciated in the countries, are the most gourmet proof of this.
A crunchy envelope with a warm, melt-in-your-mouth core! Loukoumades are small round fritters, traditionally made with honey and cinnamon. It is said that they were originally offered to the winners of the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece.
The retsina also dates back to Ancient Greece. It is a white (sometimes rosé) wine, to which pine resin is added during the fermentation process. The resin is removed just before bottling, but leaves an incomparable trace of taste.