Food Culture in Greece
Greek food and wine is an important aspect of the culture of Greece. The Greek food and wines are famous for their good quality and amazing taste. Some dishes are common all around the country, whereas some others are local culinary specialties and can be found only in a specific region or Greek island. While you holiday, do not miss the chance to try the local Greek dishes in the many restaurants of Greece and the Greek islands. There are such traditional taverns in almost every corner of the country. If you want to prepare some Greek dishes at home, you can also check our section about .
Traditional food specialties and wines
Information about the greek food and gastronomical specialties (mezedes, salades, main dishes, soups), herbs and spice and wines and alcohol beverages.
The mezedes (single: mezes) are appetizers, served before or with the main dishes, usually accompanied with ouzo or tsipouro. They come in small plates. It is one of the basic elements of the Greek culture to share food and wine with friends, in a joyful and unhurried environment.
Greek yogurt with finely chopped cucumber, garlic and olive oil. Ideal to eat with fresh Greek bread, fried potatoes or fried meatballs.
Fried cheese. Different sorts of cheese can be found in saganaki. Excellent with a zest of lemon.
Fried meatballs of beef, garlic and bread. Excellent dish.
Small spinach pies with crushed feta cheese.
Small cheese pies, usually made of feta or kasseri cheese.
Boiled wild greens with olive oil, salt and lemon.
Mix of roast potatoes, eggplants, onions, garlic, tomato sauce and olive oil.
Grape leaves filled with rice and onions and sometimes minced beef.
Small pieces of fried squid with lemon juice.
Small pieces of octopus served either fried with lemon juice or boiled, with olive oil, vinegar and oregano.
The famous Greek cheese can also be eaten alone, as a meze, with olive oil and oregano.
Of course, the most famous is the Greek salad, or else Horiatiki (Village Salad), but there are also many other types of salads and dip sauces.
Horiatiki Salata or Greek salad
Also know as "Greek salad", the horiatiki is a mix of fresh tomatoes, olives, cucumber, onions, green pepper, feta cheese, olive oil and oregano.
An eggplant puree with finely chopped garlic and olive oil. It is succulent with fresh bread.
Crushed fish eggs.
Greeks have a lot of excellent main dishes and meat is their favourite ingredient.
This famous Greek dish has a base made of potatoes topped with eggplants onions, minced beef and bechamel creme.
This is another well-known Greek dish reminding of the Italian Lasagnas. It consists of spaggeti No 2 topped with minced beef, onions, tomato sauce and bechamel sauce.
Grilled lamb's ribs served with lemon.
This is one of the favorite dishes of Greeks. They mostly eat it during Easter. It consists of wrapped and roasted entrails of lamb, served with lemon.
Greek soups are succulent and Greeks usually have soups in winter.
Chicken soup usually with avgolemono (sauce made with eggs and lemon).
Fish soup with parsley, potatoes and carrots.
White bean soup with parsley and, sometimes, tomato sauce.
Lentil soup with tomato sauce.
Easter soup made of the inside of lamb, dill and the avgolemono sauce (egg and lemon).
Tripe soup, considered by Greeks as a very good remedy to hangovers.
Herbs and spices
Greece is famous for its unique herbs and spices which they use in every Greek dish to add an extra taste and delight the senses. The excellent quality of spices and herbs is due to the long sunshine periods, making the Greek flora particularly rich, producing an incredible variety of the best herbs and spices in the world.
Famous herbs of great quality and easy to find in Greece are the chamomile, the mountain tea, sage, basil, mint, parsley, tilio (lime leaves used as an infusion) and much more. Supreme Greek spices are the sesame (white sesame also), the cumin, the machlepi and the valuable red saffron.
Tsipouro / Raki
This really strong alcohol looks a bit like ouzo but with a stronger taste of anis. Greeks drink it with ice and sometimes add a bit of water. It is always accompanied with mezedes and good friends. In different parts of Greece, such as Crete, some islands and the northern Greece, people make their own home made Tsipouro, also called Raki (depending of the region) which is really strong.
This is the most famous Greek alcohol beverage, the trade mark of the country. It is a strong alcohol, drinkable straight with ice or with a bit of water. It is ideal to drink with all kinds of mezedes. The best ouzo is made in Lesvos and the most famous trades are Ouzo Plomariou and Barbayanni.
This sweet wine is made in Patras Peloponnese. It is really thick and dark (almost black) and can be compared to the Portuguese Porto. This strong wine is used for the Holy Communion in the Greek Orthodox Church.
The famous Retsina is a Greek white wine with a particular resin taste. This taste is due to the way of production of this wine: they put the grapes in new cask which have still the wood resin on, giving to the whine that special taste.
There is a huge diversity of Greek wines: red, white and rose, sweet or dry.