Traditional Greek cuisine is part of the wider Mediterranean cooking culture. Its main characteristics, that make it stand out from the rest, are the diversity and simplicity of the dishes, the gourmet taste, the infused Greek philosophy around well-being as well as the nutritional value and colours of the ingredients. Virgin olive oil forms the basis of the Greek cuisine as it supplements the majority of Greek dishes along with fresh cut vegetables and herbs that can be found in abundance across fields and mountains and are well known for the tasty touch of perfection complimenting every dish. Dairy products such as feta cheese or Greek yoghurt could not be neglected either from the list alongside wood stove baked bread, honey, fish and local livestock such as free range sheep and goat.
To the Greeks, food means far more than a nutritional need. An entire philosophy has been developed around it. Dining represents an important moment during the day and is directly linked with fun -“kefi”- with the gathering of friends and family vividly interacting over “mezedes” – Greek word for starters – drinking wine, ouzo or tsipouro. Live the ultimate Greek culinary experience, combining all of the above with the ideal scenery; a sandy beach overlooking crystal blue waters in a Greek island.
Some of traditional Greek dishes are internationally renowned and can be found in restaurants and “tavernas” across the world. Get a taste of the top 10 ones that you must try during your visit in Greece.
Mousaka, every Greek’s favourite and one of the most popular to fans of good cuisine! Its main ingredients are aubergines, potatoes, minced meat and béchamel – a delightful combination all the way to the last bite.
Stuffed cabbage leaf rolls, “Lachanodolmades”: Cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat, rice and a special sauce made of lemon and egg. An intricate taste that will seduce you with its smell until you try it.
Pastitsada: A traditional recipe from Corfu! Comes in two versions with either red meat or chicken at its core, tomato sauce and hand-made pasta. Look for the special version of Pastitsada made using a delicious mixture of spices known as “Karmela’s spetsiriko”.
Lamb Fricassée: Until a few decades ago the Frikasée used to be served on the first Monday of the Orthodox Easter. It is made of prime lamb cuts, lettuce, onions, dill, mint, lemon&egg sauce and plenty of “meraki”.
Rabbit “Stifado” (stew), for those with a love for non-ordinary tastes! The secret to this dish is well hidden in the red tomato passata made of onions, vinegar and rosemary.
Gemista, amazing and full of summer! Tomatoes or Green peppers stuffed with rice, minced meat (for the non-vegetarians), plenty of herbs and spices come together to form one of the most delicate Greek dishes.
Meat Pie, from Kefalonia! This is a traditional Kefalonian recipe of a meat pie with lamp, rice, cinnamon, mint, orange and many more little secrets.
Magiritsa. The first dish to be consumed after the break from Easter’s lent across the whole country. Its main ingredients are baby lamp intestines, lettuce, egg and lemon sauce all combined with a unique mixture of spices giving its extraordinary smell and taste.
Giouvetsi, or the Greek equivalent to Sunday Roast! Its taste is attributed to its special cooking method. The lamb is cooked along with long-grained rice inside a large metal or clay pot called “gastra” and then served with grated mizithra cheese, spices and roasted vegetables.
Souvlaki Pita or Pita with Pork “Gyro”. The world-wide famous fast-food found everywhere in Greece! Make sure that you ask for an extra shot of tzatziki sauce to be added to every portion!