A Food Lover’s Guide Through Traditional Greek Cuisine
The magnificent climate and stunning scenery make it easy to see why Greece is a top global destination. Still, traditional Greek cuisine raises a visitor’s experience to the next level.
Eastern and Western cultures influence this delectable cuisine. The three key ingredients in creating a mouth-watering meal are olive oil, wine, and wheat, often combined with fish, meat, yogurt, and vegetables.
Greek recipes combine herbs and spices, mainly including basil, thyme, mint, dill bay leaves, and oregano.
Recipes vary by region, each having unique flavors, while each meal can differ from restaurant to restaurant depending on their ingredient quality.
Let’s take a look at the Greek menu, shall we?
Before your main meal, appetisers, called mezes, that may be on offer would include, but not limited to, Choriatiki (Greek Salad), dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves), tzatziki (yoghourt-based dip), melitzanosalata (aubergine/eggplant dip), Tomatokeftedes (tomato fritters) or Kolokithokeftedes (fried zucchini/courgette balls).
Greek Main Courses
Main course options include Kleftiko’s lamb specialty, translated as “stolen”.
This lamb is a slow oven-cooked meat dish, infused with lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic.
Giouvetsi is a beef stew cooked with Orzo pasta, and another very similar beef stew is called Stifado.
This time it is served alongside either rice, potatoes, or pasta instead of being slow-cooked together with the starch.
Greek Soutzoukakia, are sausage meatballs of either ground pork or beef that are cooked with a red-wine sauce and served with rice.
More Greek Cuisine Dishes
But a dish that is possibly the most synonymous with traditional Greek cuisine is the Souvlaki (Gyros).
On skewers, this popular fast food consists of grilled meat and vegetables. It is often eaten with pita or inside it.
A vegetable with three names, eggplant/aubergine/brinjal is a favoured main course ingredient.
A few dishes include this vegetable, not to be confused with each other.
Read more: 10-day Island Hopper Greek Itinerary
Moussaka is spiced meat cooked in tomato sauce. And then baked with layers of bechamel sauce and fried eggplant. Whereas Papoutsakia is a baked eggplant then stuffed with a tomato-based meat sauce topped with bechamel sauce and cheese, then further baked.
Greek cuisine offers a few additional lighter dish options, such as Gemista (vegetables stuffed with rice), Fasolada (bean soup), and Tiropita (Greek Cheese Pie).
A Greek meal is not complete without a sweet treat, mostly made of phyllo pastry, nuts, milk, butter, sugar syrup, and semolina blended with spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom.
These sweet options include Blakava, Galaktoboureko (Greek custard pie), Halva, Saragli, Bougatsa (another custard pie), and Portokalopita (orange pie). Of course, the most intriguing of all the Spoon Sweet.
With all these mouth-watering choices, it is easy to see why a trip to Greece will include many happy meals with your favorite travel companions.
As a food lover, are you ready to try some Greek cuisine? Let’s get you started!