Even though Greece has influenced Europe and the rest of the world with things like democracy, philosophy, literature, science and mathematics, its love of good food remains one of the country’s most celebrated traits.
Taking influence from both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, popular ingredients include olive oil, fresh vegetables, cheese, yoghurt as well as various types of fish and meat.
While the best examples of traditional cuisine can only be experienced on holidays to Greece and unforgettable adventures around the country, you may want to try and create the following dishes back home too.
Appetizers and Side Dishes
Greek Salad – Referred to as a village or country salad (horiatiki) in Greece, this is a simple, healthy yet satisfying classic made up of tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese and red onions dressed in olive oil.
Taramasalata – Traditionally made from the salted and cured roe of cod or carp and mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and either breadcrumbs or mashed potato, taramasalata is eaten as a dip with bread or vegetables.
Tzatziki – Eaten alongside grilled meats, tzatziki is a sauce made from strained yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt and olive oil. Always served cold, it can also contain herbs such as dill, mint or parsley.
Moussaka – An ever-present Greek dish, Moussaka is an over-baked casserole featuring layers of aubergine and spiced ground meat, usually lamb. It is topped with a creamy sauce and served with salad. Vegetarian alternatives, featuring ingredients like courgettes or rice, are also popular.
Souvlaki – Literally meaning skewer, souvlaki are marinated and grilled small pieces of meat, typically pork but sometimes chicken or lamb. These are eaten straight off the skewer, as a pitta bread sandwich or served together with tomatoes, onions and tzatziki.
Pastitsio – This baked pasta dish is a hearty and nourishing meal that is popular in several surrounding Mediterranean countries. The Greek version usually features ground beef or veal with béchamel sauce.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Baklava by seelensturm
Baklava – This sweet pudding is made of layers of filo pastry and stuffed with cinnamon-spiced chopped nuts. This sugary treat is then covered with syrup or honey.
Galaktobureko – Although you may struggle to pronounce its name in a restaurant, ordering galaktobureko is well worth it. This custard filled filo pie, often flavoured with lemon, orange or rose, is baked in the oven and soaked in honey or syrup.
Melomakarono – Generally prepared and served over the Christmas period, these cinnamon, orange and cognac flavoured cookies are topped with ground walnuts and immersed in hot syrup before eating.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post.