When you visit a new destination one of the must-dos on your list is tasting the local cuisine. The unique dishes a place offers are one of the most authentic cultural elements and are linked to the qualities and characteristics while revealing important information about the area’s history. At the same time, food is also a way to communicate, a way to “speak” to someone’s heart. The Greek cuisine and Gastronomy are spectacular.
Greece has a long gastronomic history, with authentic flavors and aromas which represent an age-old cultural unity. With a 4.000-year-old history, one of a kind characteristics which are based on unique and pure quality good of the Greek Land. As a matter of fact, the first cookbook in history was written on 330 B.C. by Archestratos.
The plethora of Greek dishes will satisfy everyone, both vegetarians and meat lovers. When you visit Greece there are more options apart from “Moussaka”, “Souvlaki” and the famous “Choriatiki Salad with Feta cheese” for you to try. Based on Mediterranean Diet Pyramid there is a variety of healthy dishes which will have a positive effect on your health, beauty and longevity, as dozens of scientific studies have shown.
Basic Ingredients of Greek cuisine
The four secrets of the Greek Cuisine are: High quality fresh ingredients, balanced used of herbs & spices, virgin olive oil and simplicity. A special shout out needs to be made for olive oil as it accompanies all Greek Dishes, it is used in abundance in the vast majority of them, it is of excellent quality and it benefits your health. The mild Greek Climate contributes to the distinctive aroma & flavor the vegetables and fruits have as they are cultivated in natural and not artificial ways. That little detail makes a difference in the final taste of your dish, you will be happy and content after tasting a Greek tomato, cabbage, carrot, onion, parsley, garlic, grapes, apricots, peaches, cherries, melons, watermelons, etc.
Regarding the herbs, they are gathered from the hills & countryside and they are renowned for their aromas. As you taste some of the many different dishes, you will be mesmerized by the amazing aroma of oregano, thyme, mint and rosemary.
Do not forget to also try the Greek Cheeses and especially Feta. Taking into account that the sheep and goats are not contained but free-ranging and the pastures are very lush, Greek meat has a unique taste. As for the Mediterranean seafood, it is much tastier than those from the oceans. The Aegean and Ionian Seas are crystal clear and rich with fish, upon your visit in Greece it a must having a meal at a seaside Tavern and tasting fresh fish on the grill, it is considered to be a true delight.
Greek philosophy & Atmosphere
The atmosphere on a Greek Restaurant or Tavern is casual, relaxing, simple and informal. People are friendly and laid-back, gathered around the table to enjoy a meal or “mezedes” (hors d’ oeuvres) with Ouzo drink, either when they go out or stay at home. The Greek word “symposium” -a word that is as old as Greece itself- literally means “drinking with friends”. Sip a glass of ouzo or wine with grilled octopus or any other Greek dish while sitting under the shade of a tree in a small tavern by the sea on an island in the Aegean. When you get back home, try to repeat this experience by preparing the same meal and serving the same drink.
Wherever you try to repeat this, you will soon realize that it does not “taste” the same. It’s not that something is wrong with your palate or your culinary skills; it’s that the Greek ritual when eating a meal –mainly a combination of what you are eating and where you are eating it- cannot be repeated, extracted or copied. It is simply something you can only find, taste and enjoy in Greece!