Greek Food and Drink

Posted on Jul 1 2013 - 2:06pm by TravelFore

Grilled Octopus

It is widely known that the Mediterranean cuisine is supposed to be one of the best in the international gastronomic community.
From Spain and Italy, to Greece and Turkey, olive oil, vegetables, fruits, seafood and meat, cooked in all kinds of ways, are the major components of Mediterranean cooking, for over two centuries now.
Most nutritionists from all over the world suggest to their patients the Mediterranean cuisine as a healthy way of living, instead of tough diets and food prohibitions. Besides, it is not a secret, that the people living around the Mediterranean Sea, top the lists of longevity, unlike people from other cultures with “nastier” eating habits.Many of you might think that eating healthy automatically means that most of the times you eat food that you don’t like or even taste good. And that is a myth that Greeks come to dissolve. Souvlaki, Greek Moussaka and Feta cheese, are only three of the foods that you must taste when you visit Greece.
From the first moment you step your foot into Greek ground you can smell it in the air. Souvlaki is almost everywhere you go. You can find it in Athens, you can find it in Thessaloniki, you can find it in every island and even in the smallest town.
Souvlaki with grilled pork
Souvlaki is the most popular Greek fast food. It consists of small pieces of meat, most likely pork and sometimes maybe chicken or lamb; if you prefer, grilled on a skewer. It is served with grilled bread and lemons. The secret lies on the oregano and the salt sprinkled on the meat before you eat it.
For those who know, an other and maybe most delicious way to eat souvlaki, is on a pita sandwich. Accompanied with slices of fresh tomato and onion, fried potatoes and that “magic” and totally Greek sauce, called Tzatziki, it is a meal you must definitely have. Very common is also the pita gyro which is meat roasted on a vertical spit.
The famous tzatziki is a sauce made of strained yoghurt, mixed with cucumbers, garlic, olive oil and salt. You can eat it within a pita souvlaki or gyro, or with all kinds of red meat.
Between Athens and Thessaloniki you may find some differences on the souvlaki. The main is in the sauce used, as the Thessalonians use ketchup and mustard, instead of tzatziki. Different versions, of souvlaki can also be found in Cyprus, where they use a larger pita to wrap the meat, and Turkey, where they use only lamb.
If you decide to visit a traditional Greek tavern, you should most definitely order Moussaka; a dish very popular in the Balkan cuisine, with several variations between the countries, although the Greek version is the most loved one.  Moussaka is served hot. It is a three-layer dish baked in the oven, which is based on sautéed slices of eggplant or potato (and even mushrooms), along with minced meat, topped with Béchamel sauce (a.k.a. white sauce). The minced meat is cooked before hand with onion, garlic, herbs and spices. You can also use grated cheese on the top.
A picture perfect Moussaka
Once you are inside the tavern and you eat your moussaka, don’t forget to also order a Greek salad. It’s the one with the Feta cheese.
Greek salad is famous worldwide. From North America and Australia, to South Africa and United Kingdom. But only in Greece, you can eat the original. Made with sliced cucumbers, pieces of tomatoes, green bell peppers, sliced onion and olives, dressed with olive oil, salt and dried oregano. And what makes it so special… is the Feta cheese!
Feta has been a protected designation of origin product by the European Union, since 2002. It is a brined curd cheese traditionally made from sheep milk, aged perfectly for several months, with a lightly grainy texture.
Greeks use feta in many dishes, like spinach pies, or eat it as it is. Its flavour is tangy and salty, and sometimes spicy, with the use of pepper in the making.
Spinach pie with feta cheese inside phyllo dough
You can accompany your meal with either locally produced wine, or anise-flavoured liqueurs like Ouzo or homemade Tsipouro and Tsikoudia. The last three of them are also recognized by the European Union as products with a protected designation of origin.
And when you finish your meal, you can try fresh yogurt with honey and walnuts as a dessert. It sounds very simple, but it tastes so good.
Greek cuisine just like Greek culture, is one of the oldest in Europe and historically a forerunner of Western cuisine. It has a long history and influences from different cultures, that the Greeks have been interacted with over the centuries. The most characteristic and ancient element of Greek cuisine is olive oil, which is used in most dishes.
Baklava made with chopped walnuts, honey, and phyllo.

Kataifi

Related Posts

About the Author

The world's foremost travel blogs!