In Greece, both the sun and sea work together to open your horizons to all kinds of experiences; especially when it comes to discovering new tastes, aroma, and food combinations. Featuring a unique ensemble of Mediterranean cuisine, local produce, and fine spirits, the Greek archipelago offers an enormous repertoire of flavourful dishes that have evolved.
From traditional or modern, regional or Panhellenic, to sophisticated or straightforward, here’s are some places where you can discover authentic Greek cuisine in all its manifestations.
Combining the Flavours of Sun and Sea – The Aegean
The Aegean is one of the world’s largest island groups, each one of which features a specific microclimate.
The microclimate, in turn, contributes to the creation of a unique culinary paradise, not to be found elsewhere. We have the cuisine of the Cyclades, which is primordial and has a deep cultural connect. Some of the famous recipes with a distinctive character and heady aromas are:
- Kassian pilaf
- Aegean ‘makarounes’ (or hand-made fresh pasta with caramelized onions)
- Sgardoumia (or offal soup from the island of Santorini)
- Marathotiganites (or fennel rissoles from Serifos)
- Dolmadakia made with herbs and vine leaves
- Melitera (or sweet cheese pies with vanilla from Anafi)
- Melopita (or the famous honey pie from the island of Sifnos)
A Taste of The Cosmopolitan – The Ionian Islands
The flavors at the Ionian Islands have distinctive characters and fascinating Italian origins. The trademark of the cuisine here is ‘savoro,’ which means sour and is a combination of rosemary and vinegar. Savoro is widely used to season and preserve both fish and vegetables.
Then we have the local favorite of ‘bourdetto,’ which is essentially the scorpion fish prepared in a red-hot spicy tomato sauce. When in the Ionian Islands, you can also explore other distinctively lip-smacking recipes including:
- Strapatsada (or scrambled eggs with feta cheese and tomato)
- Tsigareli (or cabbage/wild greens cooked in a spicy tomato sauce)
- Ppastitsio this nonas (or mince and baked pasta with béchamel sauce topping)
- Bakaliaros me agiada (essentially de-salted preserved codfish fillets prepared in a ‘skordalia’ garlic sauce)
The flavor of these recipes is increased tenfold with superb beverages such as kumquat liqueur and ginger beer. That said, don’t forget to finish off a delicious meal with mouth-watering Greek desserts such as ‘pantespani’ (syrup-soaked sponge cakes), ‘pasteli’ (sesame seed and honey bars) and ‘mandola’ nougat.
Experience the Elixir of Life – Crete
The island of Crete is a popular tourist destination in the Mediterranean, boasting of seductive natural landscapes and vibrant culture. That said, the island also features some of the most satisfying authentic Greek gastronomic experiences.
Therefore, when in Crete, be sure to discover the secrets of Cretan cuisine through a culinary tour of popular towns of Chania, Heraklion, Rethymno, Ierapetra, and Siteia.
Some of the most popular and authentic Greek recipes that you can relish in Crete include:
- Chania pilaf rice (traditionally prepared with rooster)
- Ofto (or roasted baby goat)
- Fresh Greek salads
- Dakos (or barley rusks cooked with soft white cheese, fresh tomato, and olive oil)
Enjoy the Magic of Cooking – The Dodecanese
At the heart of the Dodecanese islands, the culinary palette of Rhodes (the island of the Knights), Karpathos, Patmos, and Kastelorizo is a rich amalgamation of bold flavors and rustic origins. Over time, while the recipes have evolved to incorporate a variety of Eastern Mediterranean flavor profiles, they still have pretty straightforward preparations.
The real magic of authentic Dodecanese cuisine is best experienced through the following recipes:
- Boukounies (or pork prepared in various herbs)
- Xerotigana (or fried spiral pastries in honey or syrup)
- Pastelaries (or dried figs with sesame seeds and almonds)
The Flavours of the Mediterranean are Best Explored in Greece
When it comes to combining quality ingredients with centuries of culinary knowledge, there is no match to the Greek cuisine. In Greece, dining is not just about having a multi-course meal. Instead, it is about coming together and sharing a meal with family and friends, in a casual and pleasant affair.
While there is no lack of fancy restaurants or exquisite seaside settings in Greece, some of the most authentic and flavourful food can be enjoyed inside no-frills places and humble downtown taverns.
If you too wish to experience authentic Greek cuisines in their original setting, be sure to check out the archipelago of Greece in its entirety.
To maximize your trip experience, you can start with finalizing your itinerary and making a list of towns and cities you plan to visit during your trip. It is equally crucial to create a financial budget for the vacation and purchase an overseas travel insurance policy to extend an additional layer of financial protection against any contingency.
With the help of overseas travel insurance; therefore, you can not only tackle any unexpected medical treatment expenses but also avail benefits such as coverage of trip cancellations, the total loss of checked-in baggage and loss of passport.
Just like you have a delicious pie or refreshing ice-cream to finish off a satisfying meal, buying overseas travel insurance too serves as a fitting endpoint for your travel preparations.