High quality ingredients and delicious food
Local food is a reason for many to travel back to Greece time and time again. The appreciation of fresh, high-quality ingredients can be seen, felt and tasted at the local dining table, where quality is not compromised.
The delicious dishes are simple, and the food experience is an integral part of your Greek holiday.
Greek cuisine is typically rich in vegetables, fish or seafood, and meat, not to mention delicious cheeses. Vegetables play an important role, as they usually replace rice, pasta or potatoes. In particular, tomato, paprika, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant and onions are an essential part of Greek food.
Spices are used quite a bit because the taste is derived from fresh herbs and olive oil, which bring the taste almost to food rather than food. The most commonly used herbs are oregano, thyme, rosemary, mint and parsley.
At the dessert table, sweet honey and fresh fruit play a key role. Middle Eastern pastry recipes are also heavily used, and most pastries, both salty and sweet, are based on crispy filo pastry.
The locals are very careful about the quality of the food, not only in the home kitchen, but also in the restaurant, so you should not settle for a mediocre quality. Please feel free to mention if something is wrong with your dose.
Discover Greek cuisine and go on a tasting trip!
1. Breakfast in Greece
For many travelers, breakfast is the first meal enjoyed at the start of the holiday, and it's best to start locally. The exact content of a Greek breakfast varies widely depending on the region, but a few cornerstones remain the same almost everywhere.
Greek breakfast is a varied table setting with local delicacies. In the mornings, it is customary to eat bread or other bakery products, Greek yoghurt, cheeses and meat cuts.
Of course, there is also local olive oil and fresh olives, which you should not miss tasting. Eggs are also part of Greek breakfast, at least in some form.
If you are looking for something sweet at breakfast, Greek honey, fresh fruit and local marmalades will relieve your hunger.
2. Appetizers – test Greek meze
In a Greek restaurant, it's a good idea to eat a long formula and start with a delicious appetizer. Usually served for starters meze that is, a large number of small, usually plant-based snacks of local delicacies. It tells about the sociality of the dinner: the small mezes are meant for sharing, so they tend to be ordered in a variety of varieties.
tzatziki is a yoghurt based sauce that usually tastes Finnish too. The sauce, which works well, comes with cucumber, garlic, fresh mint and, of course, Greek olive oil. It tastes great with bread, for example, but is also good for many other things.
Greek vine rolls dolmat are a regular guest at the meze table. Tasty rolls are a simple delicacy, as the inside of the leaves soaked in oil usually reveals only herb-flavored rice. Juicy snacks taste more delicious than they sound, and are a great way to discover the herbal flavors of Greek cuisine.
Olives, which are an integral part of the Greek dining table, are also usually served on the Meze plate. High-quality olives are always fresh and local, which you will notice at first snack.
Local cheeses, especially savory feta cheese, taste simple with bread and olives as a starter. Although the meze pieces are mainly suitable for vegetarians, you may also find spiced lamb meat, deep-fried octopus or other shellfish on the plate.
At the starter table, you should not forget the traditional Greek salad. Depending on the restaurant, the portion of salad served as a starter can be up to the size of a main course, so it's easy to share with other diners.
Traditional Greek salad is very simple and consists of tomato, cucumber, onion, olives and feta cheese.
3. Main courses – traditional and newer flavors
The main course ordered in a Greek restaurant is usually rich in vegetables and meat, fish or seafood. Fish is often a light choice as meat dishes are slightly heavier. Meat and fish are usually grilled, while crustaceans are often prepared by deep-frying.
Moussaka is a traditional Greek eggplant dose known worldwide. In addition to eggplant, the main raw materials are typically lamb minced meat and cheese, which adds juiciness to the meal. Lasagne-like overlay baked in a baking pan tastes especially cool on the day, but this traditional Greek delicacy is also worth a try during the summer holidays.
Greek steak called souvlaki tastes great to many. It is served at its simplest with pita bread and zatsiki. The combination is effortless and functional, with delicious grilled chicken, lamb or pork combined with soft bread and herb yogurt sauce to taste delicious.
On the way, you may be prepared for the taste of the Greeks that might strike at home keftédes-lihapullia. Herbal meatballs are usually made from mutton or lamb and are very popular. You will find them on the menu of almost every Greek restaurant.
Of course, especially in island destinations, you should of course try fish and other seafood. For example, fish like swordfish and sole are delicious, but the restaurant's choice is to eat a daily portion of fish made with fresh, at best, fish caught a moment earlier.
Fish meals are light, as the fish is often cooked on the grill and seasoned with lemon. The octopus and mussels are also part of the Greek cuisine.
4. Desserts crown the meal
It is definitely worth leaving space for dessert at the Greek restaurant. Like other Greek food, desserts are made from fresh, high-quality ingredients. The delicacies are very simple and the flavor gives way to very high quality ingredients.
Honey is a common sweetener in Greek cuisine and is often found in dessert tables and pastries. Honey pies and sesame honey bars are popular desserts, but in their simplest form, the dessert contains Greek yogurt, nuts and, of course, local honey.
Borrowed from the Middle East baklava is also a very popular delicacy at the Greek dessert table. The sweet hazelnut cake baked in filo dough may taste a little too sweet at first, but the crunchy dough, delicious nuts and sweet taste will quickly crave. Of course, at its best, baklava is fresh.
In addition to baklava, many other pastries, including the popular spinach-feta pie that also serves on the coffee table, are made from filo pastry in Greece.
Fresh fruits are a popular dessert and they also taste great on their own. It is common in Greece to provide fruit with sugar, so make sure you get exactly the portion you want before ordering.
Sesame seeds are used in many forms in Greece. For example, sesame paste made from milling seeds tahine tastes like a yogurt buddy. Tahin is also made sweet halvaa.
5. Drinks – Try at least these
The Greeks meet for a long dinner with Greek anise wine ouzollathat will easily become familiar to the traveler as well. Traditionally, ouzo is enjoyed with mezes, or at the start of the meal, as it stimulates the appetite. The drink is served in tall, narrow glasses, where you can add water if you want to dilute the taste of aniseed.
Greek coffee is different from traditional Finnish coffee and is practically the same as Turkish coffee. The strong coffee served in a small cup consists of three parts: the creamy foam on top, the actual coffee and the coffee grounds pressed into the bottom of the cup.
Coffee is a social drink, and it is customary to drink it in peace, so that the chews of coffee can settle to the bottom of the cup as they are not intended to be drunk. Coffee is usually served with a glass of water.
Greece is one of the oldest wine producing countries in Europe and many Greek winemakers continue to rely on traditional methods, ie strong wine fermentation.
The taste world is quite unfamiliar to the Finns, but more and more Greek wine producers are already adopting modern methods. Greek red wines are usually dark and tannic wines, while white wines are dry and mineral.
Greek beer will be familiar to many tourists during their stay, and no wonder, because the low price and the surprisingly varied selection of local beers attract new brands.
The most traditional and well-known is probably Mythos beer, which for most people is a tasty light lager. Other beers worth tasting include the 2013 international beer award winner Volkan, the first ever Greek beer FIX, and Kaiser, Septem and Pils Hellas, among others.
>> Read more tips on Greece's Beach Ball Destination Guide!
Text and photos: Inka Khanji