Greek Cuisine has a history of over 4,000 years and has refined its culinary art down the ages, to be among the most prominent cuisines around the world. Refined through the ages just like its philosophies, political thoughts, and classical art, Greek Cuisine formed the basis of Western Cuisine and spread to the length and breadth of Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor, thanks to the reach of the Roman Civilisation.
Greek Cuisine varies on locally available ingredients and produces, and geographical area. Considered as part of Mediterranean Cuisine, it has similar type of flavours, tastes and dishes that match the food from the Southern coast of Italy, Balkans, Andalusia, North Africa, Turkey and Asia Minor. It uses plenty of herbs, veggies, fruits, seafood, meat, poultry, olive oil, desserts, cheese, olives, honey and locally produced wines. Despite the recent economic slump, Greece continues to refine and experimenting with its cuisine.
So, in case you are heading to Greece for the sunshine, beaches and some quality time, do sample these 15 must-eat Greek foods to complete your Greece experience!
Moussaka – A dish comprising of eggplant, spiced meat, potatoes, and zucchini, peppered with spicy herbs and rich creamy béchamel sauce, and baked to perfection.
Pastitsio – One of the most popular Greek dishes, Pastitsio has three essential ingredients of pasta, meat filling and creamy béchamel sauce, with added herbs, and baked to a perfect golden-brown colour.
Tzatziki – No meal in Greece is complete without Tzatziki, a cool and creamy yogurt dip made of cucumber, and flavoured with garlic and herbs. The perfect condiment for grilled meat dishes.
Youvetsi – A traditional Greek stew dish made of either beef or lamb, cooked to perfection in rich tomato sauce and orzo pasta. Served with a spoon of Kefalotyri cheese.
Dolmathakia – Another popular and difficult Greek dish that traces its popularity way back to the times of Alexander the Great. Stuffed rice, pine nuts, fresh herbs wrapped with grapes leave and slowly boiled in water and olive oil.
Keftethes – Keftehes are the Greek version of Turkish meatballs made of fragrant spices, herbs, minced meat, egg, cheese, milk and finely chopped onions and garlic.
Yemista – A delightful dish that uses tomatoes, peppers or zucchini. Cooked to perfection by scooping out the interiors of the vegetable and stuffing it with flavoured rice and meat chunks garnished with spices, and baked slowly.
Avgolemono – One of the key specialities of Greek cuisine, it’s the good old Greek egg-lemon chicken soup served with herbs and garnished with mild spices.
Fassolatha – The essential recipe of every household in Greece, Fassolatha is a classic white bean soup simmered with diced onions, tomatoes, olives, celery and freshly grounded spices and herbs.
Spanakopita – Spinach and feta cheese are layered with diced onions, tomatoes, cottage cheese, butter, olive oil and eggs, and baked to perfection.
Baklava – The famed Turkish dessert is also an essential part of Greek dessert. Made of phyllo dough and topped with walnuts, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, butter, lemon juice, and cloves.
Galaktoboureko – A divine custard pie made of creamy custard and flaky phyllo dough and is baked to perfection to a golden brown colour and infused with lemon and orange syrup.
Kourabiethes – Delicious almond cookies are must have dessert for every Greek family celebration. These rich cookies are made of eggs, chopped almonds, butter, sugar and vanilla extracts, tends to melt in your mouth.
Melomakarona – Another tasty dessert, Melomakarona is made of honey, sugar and walnuts with flavour with orange and lemon juice and brandy.
Tsoureki – The traditional Greek Easter Bread is a rich bread baked with yeast, eggs, milk, sugar, butter and a special spice called Mahlab that is prepared from the pits of wild berries.