by Katrina Hatchett
When traveling, one of the things you are bound to look forward to the most is the food. There are so many different tastes and smells and spices around the world; life is certainly too short to eat the same food all the time.
This advice is perhaps especially most true in the nation of Greece, with its ancient foodways. Excite your taste buds and don’t hesitate to be a little adventurous when you visit this spectacular country. There’s an abundance of traditional foods in this country which will tempt you, and may even become your instant favorites. Here is a list of ten of our own favorites – enjoy!
By popular demand, Loukoumades are at the top of this list because they are a national comfort-food must. Greece is justifiably famous for these deep-fried dough balls, which are glazed with honey and then topped with cinnamon.
In a similar fashion to crepes, Loukoumades can also be covered with such toppings as Nutella and strawberry sauce to your culinary delight. They are found sold as street food all over Greece, where you will get them hot and fresh, the way they are meant to be.
Tiropita are essentially cheese-filled flaky pies, often eaten as snacks or even for breakfast all across the nation of Greece. However, you will spot some different versions of Tiropita, which mainly concern the shape of the pastry itself, including triangles and swirls.
The flakiness of the dough also varies with the local versions of this classic. Nonetheless, they are all equally delicious.
It is a Greek tradition to tenderize meat slowly until it is very well done, but still juicy. This would typically be done on a spit, over hot coals in the ground, but nowadays, this can also be accomplished in the oven, using low heat so that the meat is roasted slowly in its own juices.
Lemon potatoes make a brilliant accompaniment to slow-cooked lamb since they provide a citrusy contrast to the rich meat.
These long meatballs feature a unique mix of spices, including cinnamon, cumin and garlic, and a topping of a rich tomato sauce. Almost all travelers to Greece find these Greek meatballs scrumptious. They are usually paired with pasta or rice for the perfect balance of carbs and protein.
You will find many variations of the famous dolma. These range from zucchini to calamari, and from pasta to tomatoes. Whichever wrap is used, the most famous type of dolma by far is dolmades, which consist of grapevine leaves deliciously stuffed with meat and rice, spiced with dill and mint.
Honestly, fresh dolmades are nothing like the tinned ones found in your local home supermarket. These Greek staples are not to be missed and are best served with a side of yoghurt.
Greek yoghurt and honey
Traditional Greek yoghurt is tart, sharp and unsweetened. But this gives you the freedom to use it as a base to then experiment with fresh fruit and local honey. Granola pairings make a hearty breakfast for a real Greek experience.
Traditional Greek coffee
If roasted and ground locally, this coffee will have a powdery texture and will be brewed in a device called a briki. Served piping hot, the experience of sipping a Greek coffee is not to be missed on your trip — especially in the morning.
But what about those sweltering Greek summer afternoons? According to Vera Ostler, a lifestyle blogger at Brit Student and Australia 2 Write, says that the very word “frappe,” a word describing a cold, frothy coffee served all over Greece in the summer, was coined in the Northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. You simply cannot avoid the frappe if you travel to this Mediterranean nation during the summer — but why would you even want to? A cool jolt of java in the hot, late afternoon in Greece is a great way to refresh your senses.
This iconic Greek casserole, loaded with meat, cheese and vegetables, features eggplant and mashed potato as well. This ubiquitous dish, which you will come across everywhere in the country, has herby variants as well. It is best served piping hot, so that the cheese melts in your mouth.
Interestingly, Tara Randall, travel blogger from Write Myx and Next Course Work, points out that “There are many vegetarian variations to moussaka, simply omitting the meat without compromising on the taste.” You owe it to yourself to partake in whatever version of moussaka suits your taste while in Greece.
Usually served as a starter to a larger meal, Saganaki in itself is very filling, so watch out. This dish consists of delicious cheese, which is deep fried and seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The cheeses used are typically graviera, halloumi, sheep’s milk feta, kefalotyri, kasseri or kefalograviera.
Souvlaki and gyros
Souvlaki actually means “a tender, grilled meat that melts in your mouth.” The meat of choice is more often than not beef, although lamb, chicken and even swordfish are other choices that people sometimes prefer as well.
A gyro is a hearty wrap filled with any of these meats mentioned above, or even pork, along with grilled vegetables and French fries. Any respectable gyro served anywhere in Greece will satisfy your every lunchtime craving and fortify you for the rest of your afternoon. For an even larger meal, triple the souvlaki and gyro with a simple, traditional Greek salad.
Katrina Hatchett blogs about health and lifestyle for “Academic Brits.” She is a content and creative writer at Essay Help and also helps with their business strategies. She develops communication skills within her team and uses her blog at “PhD Kingdom” to promote self-development within business.