Cooking Tips & Recipes :: Sampling the Best of Greek Cooking

Milk Tart
Image by DimitraTzanos
A delicious recipe of the South African Milk Tart from my Aunt Electra.

For many individuals, being able to travel is a rare chance that gives them great opportunities to delve into new environments, discover other cultures and gather one-of-a-kind experiences that will all be cherished for all time. Yet for food lovers, travelling is not only about having fun, it is also about savoring the unique gastronomy of a particular place or country. Greek visitors will surely be able to indulge themselves in superb Mediterranean foods which are evocative of Ancient Greece with a modern twist on flavors. It is unfortunate, however, that a lot of people fail to fully explore this element since they become too anxious about eating something ?wrong.? Greece, like most tourist destinations, offers a variety of food choices to cater to different palettes, but it is easier for people to patronize places they are familiar with, such as the usual burger place or cafes. When visiting a place, such as Greece, one must make it a point to embrace and experience distinct traditions, and one part of this is cuisine.

Throughout the world, Greek cuisine is acknowledged for possessing variety, flavorsome combinations and fantastic nutrition, making it one of the healthiest cuisines across the globe. Greeks love food and traditional fare is often central in family gatherings, further illustrating how food is ingrained in Greek culture and history. Yet what makes their food exceptional is the fact that the basic ingredients of Greek food are still the same. Old recipes are just enhanced and interpreted in many different ways, but olive oil still remains as the most utilized element.

Traditional Greek food is often served in tavernas. So, it will be to your advantage if you do choose to visit a Greek tavern that primarily caters to locals. Restaurants that cater to locals are great choices if one wants to try out authentic Greek cuisine. Here, you will not be given a menu in 30 languages, which is a good sign since this is a signal that you will not be served the very common ?steak and chips.? Instead, expect distinct Mediterranean fare that you will surely remember. A great way to start your Greek food trip is to order mezes or mezedakia, which are like tapas. These are fun Greek appetizers that one can have as a starter or as part of a main course. It is best paired with Retsina or Ouzo wines. Tsatsiki is a widely appreciated starter. Tourists and locals alike love this dish made from yoghurt, garlic and cucumbers.

Now, the most adventurous part is ordering the main course. One has an array of delicious dishes of meats, fish and local fare to choose from. The Moussaka, for instance, is a very well-known Greek casserole dish cooked with tomatoes and eggplants; and the Giouvarlakia or meatballs, and the Dolmades or stuffed cabbage leaves are all popular, too. Grilled meats include Britzoles, or pork chops, veal or Britzoles Mosharises; and skewer meat specialties such as Souvlaki which is similar to meat kebabs. Also, since Greece is composed of emerald isles surrounded by the sea?s bounty, one can expect offerings of various types of fish dishes. Fish recipes, however, are oftentimes overlooked by tourists because of misunderstandings in spellings that confuses eaters on what type of fish are available. In Greek restaurants and taverns, one can usually find Tsipoura or sea bream, Maridaki also known as the Atlantic Whitebait fish and the Kolioi or mackerel. Other selections of seafood commonly served in Greece are: Kalamaris or squid; Htapodi or octopus, which is usually boiled or grilled; Gavros, a certain type of anchovy; and Galeos, which is a kind of fillet generally served with a side of garlic salad and beetroot. Fish epicureans may also want to get a taste of the traditional Kakavia, a Greek fish soup which uses of many types of fresh fish and prepared with vegetables, onions, carrots, potatoes, celery and olive oil ? the star of all Greek food. Widely recognized Greek desserts include the traditional Greek yoghurt with honey and the Baklava.

To experience authentic Greek culture and history, sample traditional Greek food. Many of the dishes you will sample when in Greece stay true to ancient recipes meaning that not only will you benefit from the delicious, healthy Mediterranean diet that is enjoyed in Greece, but will also understand a little more about their culture and how their love and appreciation of food has evolved.

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