Top Greek Foods to Try While Traveling in Greece

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Everyone who loves Greek delicacies, from its greater than 30 Michelin starred eating places to farm-to-table cooking, is conscious of how scrumptious it’s. Did you realize, although, that it’s one of the vital wholesome cuisines on the planet?

As you cruise alongside Greece’s islands and mainland, the widespread contact in its culinary choices is how native and recent components are. Core to dishes are herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano and lavender and greens akin to olives, tomatoes, and aubergine. And Greece’s wine business, which lately goes manner past the retsina it’s lengthy been identified for, produces great varietals like Agiorgitiko, a lush pink and Assyrtiko, a bone-dry white with a contact of citrus. Its regionally produced roses are crisp and scrumptious.

And lastly, earlier than we launch into our fun-to-research listing of the very best dishes to strive in your subsequent journey, know this: Not all delicacies is identical. It varies from mainland to island and that’s, partially, as a result of there are three distinctive areas that affect tastes in Greece: The Aegean Islands, the Ionian Islands, and the peninsula on which Athens and different areas on the mainland exist.

Take a have a look at our listing – and please, if we missed certainly one of your favorites, jot it down within the feedback beneath.

1. Olives and Olive Oil

Best time to pattern Greece’s olives? With a meze and a glass of native wine

Olives have an extended historical past in Greece — many say they originated from the olive tree the Greek goddess Athena gifted to town of Athens. Olives have grown in Greece for hundreds of years, turning into a staple in Greek delicacies. Local olives, both uncured or soaked in sea salt brine, usually accompany Greek meals. More importantly, olive oil is so important to Greek meals that it’s utilized in most dishes. From topping salads, dips and essential dishes to cooking, olive oil is a continuing throughout the board. 

While you’ve possible already tried some model of olives or olive oil, remember to strive them once more in Greece. The Greeks have had hundreds of years to good their craft, and the recent, native merchandise listed here are extra genuine than in different areas. 

2. Taramasalata

A conventional Greek recipe most frequently served as a “meze,” or appetizer, taramasalata is a creamy dip usually eaten with pita. Taramasalata is product of fish roe, most frequently carp or cod, that’s been salted and cured. The roe is then blended with lemon juice, olive oil and both bread or potatoes. The mixture creates a clean, velvety texture. You’ll discover plain taramasalata most frequently, although garlic, onion or peppers are additionally usually added for extra taste. 

3. Courgette Balls

Courgette balls, also called kolokythokeftedes, are fried zucchini balls or patties. The dish consists of zucchini, feta cheese, mint and olive oil, mixed and shaped into balls or patties. The exterior of the courgette balls is crispy, whereas the within stays creamy. Courgette balls are served sizzling with chilly yogurt or tzatziki for dipping.

This appetizer is a well-liked alternative on Crete, one of many Greek islands. However, courgette balls are on the menu in most Greek eating places, even exterior of Crete.

4. Tomatokeftedes

Tomato fritters, or Tomatokeftedes, are a staple of Santorini

The island of Santorini is dwelling to the normal appetizer tomatokeftedes, or tomato fritters. Santorini’s soil is volcanic, giving the tomatoes a novel texture excellent for these fritters. They consist primarily of diced tomatoes, feta cheese, onions and mint, shaped into patties and fried till their edges are crispy. This dish is the right addition to a meze platter and a yogurt dip.

5. Dolmades

Dolmades are a well-liked appetizer, usually served alongside others on a meze platter. These stuffed grapevine leaves can range relying on who’s making them. Vegetarian dolmades are full of rice, spices and herbs and generally flavored with lemon. You might also discover dolmades full of rice and floor beef or lamb. Once the grapevine leaves are stuffed, they’re rolled up and secured, then boiled till tender.

Dolmades are a must-try as a result of there are such a lot of potential variations, from the seasonings and herbs to the meat inside. You might even come throughout dolmades that substitute the grapevine leaves with cabbage.

6. Tzatziki

Tzatziki is a traditional appetizer dip and sauce you could pair with many dishes. While most cooks put their very own twist on it, primary tzatziki recipes encompass yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill, olive oil and lemon juice. Because you may eat this dip with so many alternative dishes, it’s a staple on most restaurant menus. You’ll possible encounter it with out even needing to ask! 

7. Tiropita

This widespread Greek dish is a cheese pie most frequently loved for breakfast or as a snack all through the day. This tacky dish consists primarily of feta blended with different yellow cheeses for added taste. The cheese is wrapped in phyllo dough and coated in melted butter or olive oil to make sure a crisp, golden crust when baked. You might also discover tiropita with extra components, like rooster.

Tiropita can are available in a wide range of configurations and dimensions. The title of the dish might also range, relying on the form of the pie. A triangle, which is the form when the pie is known as tiropita, is commonest. 

8. Choriatiki

At its finest, a Greek Salad is a straightforward, recent facet dish or essential course

Also referred to as a Greek salad, choriatiki is accessible year-round in Greece. While you may take pleasure in it as the primary portion of a meal, Greek salad is most frequently served as a starter or facet to different dishes. 

Choriatiki consists of cucumber, tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, olives and a bit of feta cheese. Greek salad is served with dressing choices on the facet, so you may select the way you need it dressed. Your choices will possible embody olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

9. Pastitsio

If you’re on the lookout for conventional Greek consolation meals, strive pastitsio. Pastitsio is named a Greek lasagna as a result of it has an analogous style and layered components. Instead of the flat lasagna pasta it’s possible you’ll be used to, pastitsio layers tubular pasta in a pink beef sauce. This dish is topped with a thick, tacky béchamel sauce and baked till the highest is golden brown. 

This scrumptious dish is usually served with a refreshing salad to spherical out the meal.

10. Papoutsakia

Papoutsakia, which interprets to “little shoes,” is a stuffed eggplant dish. The eggplant is halved and baked to melt the vegetable. Each half is then full of a pink meat sauce and mashed potatoes, topped with béchamel and cheese and baked once more to achieve a golden shade. This juicy dish is just like one other widespread Greek meal, moussaka, which incorporates most of the identical components.

Simple, conventional Greek meals like papoutsakia are sometimes among the finest dishes to strive as a result of they’re full of taste.

11. Souvlaki

Souvlaki, that means “meat on a skewer,” is a well-liked kind of Greek avenue meals just like gyros, probably the greatest and most well-known Greek meals. Souvlaki is skewered meat wrapped in a pita, usually served with tomato, onion and tzatziki. The meat is most frequently rooster, lamb or pork, although many Greek individuals discuss with any pita-wrapped meat as souvlaki. 

Souvlaki is without doubt one of the first Greek meals many individuals consider and might range considerably from metropolis to metropolis and even vendor to vendor. Everyone has their very own recipes and preferences for the kind of meat and sauce they use. While it’s possible you’ll discover them in Greek meals vans at dwelling, there’s nothing just like the genuine souvlaki you’ll discover in Greece. 

12. Stifado

Stifado is a hearty stew — made wih beef, pork and even rabbit — that’s finest loved throughout cooler seasons/Shutterstock

Stifado, a hearty beef stew, is one other well-loved conventional Greek dish. The stew is cooked with onions or shallots, tomatoes, pink wine and a wide range of candy herbs and spices. Cooking the meat in pink wine helps tenderize the meat whereas including juicy taste. 

In some locations, stifado continues to be made with conventional rabbit meat, although beef has change into a broadly accepted substitute that provides a richer taste. It’s generally served with or over rice, pasta or potatoes. The heartiness of this meal makes it appropriate for winter, although it’s supplied and may be loved year-round.

13. Bougatsa

While savory dishes are widespread Greek meals favorites, bear in mind to strive the sweets and desserts too! Bougatsa is a semi-sweet breakfast dessert, just like a pastry. Since it’s not too sugary, you may take pleasure in it at any time of the day. 

This dish options cheese or semolina custard wrapped in skinny layers of phyllo dough. The pie is baked or fried to make the dough crispy and the custard heat and gooey. Powdered sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled excessive of the pastry to complete it off.

14. Spanakopita

Spanakopita is a conventional recipe for Greek spinach pie. You can eat this dish at any time of day, whilst an appetizer or snack. Spanakopita consists of spinach and crumbled feta cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry dough. Other widespread components embody onions, dill and eggs, which assist maintain the combination of components collectively. Once the filling has been wrapped in phyllo, olive oil is brushed excessive, so the pastry turns crispy and golden when baked.

15. Octopus and Other Seafood

Fresh seafood at Athens’ large fish market/Carolyn Spencer Brown

Seafood is sort of widespread in Greece, particularly recent fish and octopus. Harbor and seaside eating places serve an abundance of Mediterranean and Aegean seafood. Fish like pink mullet are grilled in lemon-oil dressings, and calamari and octopus could also be grilled or simmered in wine. 

Greek seafood dishes are at all times value attempting, whether or not they’re an appetizer or the primary course. If you’ve by no means eaten octopus earlier than, your journey to Greece is an ideal first time to strive it. Even for those who’ve eaten it elsewhere, you need to strive it once more — Greek octopus is a novel expertise. 

16. Kleftiko

Lamb is a Greek specialty, and the Greeks know the right way to prepare dinner it to perfection. This conventional recipe begins with marinating the lamb meat in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. 

The recipe originates from the Klephts, who secretly cooked lambs and goats in underground ovens. Today, the meat is slow-cooked to lock in flavors and juices. Kleftiko is usually cooked and served with greens like peppers, onions, potatoes and garlic so as to add taste and make this dish a filling meal. 

17. Briam

Whether you’re a vegetarian or just a veggie-lover, briam is a must-try meal. This all-vegetable dish consists of thinly sliced potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, garlic and onions baked in a casserole with tomato sauce. Olive oil and oregano high the dish, making this a easy but fulfilling meal. Briam is usually served with a facet of heat bread, although it’s additionally widespread to see it served over rice.

18. Feta Cheese and Honey

While cheese and honey might sound like an unlikely mixture, it’s essential when visiting Greece. Also referred to as “feta me meli,” this dish options feta cheese wrapped in phyllo dough with a honey drizzle and a sprinkle of sesame seeds excessive. When baked, the dough will get crispy, and the cheese will get heat and creamy. The sweetness of the honey balances the saltiness of the feta cheese to create the right taste mixture. 

19. Baklava

Baklava, made with native honey, phyllo dough and nuts, is an ideal ending to a Greek meal.

Sweets are widespread in Greece, so it’s no shock that baklava is without doubt one of the hottest Greek meals. Baklava is bound to impress, despite the fact that the dish consists of solely a handful of components. Chopped walnuts, sugar and butter are layered with phyllo pastry dough, baked till crispy and drizzled with honey syrup. The crisp phyllo soaks up the honey, making a scrumptious deal with you’ll perpetually affiliate along with your journey to Greece. 

Different areas use totally different nuts for this dessert. Baklava can also be widespread in Turkey and Turkish, and northern Greek baklava is made with pistachios, whereas central Greece primarily makes use of almonds. Try all of them to seek out your favourite!

20. Ellinikos

Craving your espresso repair? Ellinikos is without doubt one of the finest kinds of espresso in Greece. This model of espresso is served in a briki, the normal long-handled copper espresso pot. You can order ellinikos in three other ways, relying on how candy you want your espresso:

  • Vari glyko may be very candy, virtually like honey.
  • Metrios has a medium sweetness.
  • Sketos has no sugar.

Editor’s Note: Check out all of Windstar’s itineraries in Greece right here.

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