Greek food and cuisine of Greece

Greek cuisine holds significant cultural, historical, and culinary importance. Here are some key aspects of the significance of Greek cuisine

Historical and Cultural Heritage

Greek cuisine has deep roots in ancient Greek civilization, which greatly influenced Western culture. Many culinary traditions and ingredients have been passed down through generations, preserving the heritage of ancient Greece.

  1. Mediterranean Diet

    Greek cuisine is renowned for its adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients. The Mediterranean diet has been recognized as one of the healthiest in the world, contributing to the longevity and well-being of Greeks.

  2. Connection to Nature

    Greek cuisine celebrates the abundance of natural ingredients available in the region. The use of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, olive oil, and seafood reflects the connection between the Greek people and their land and sea.

  3. Olives and Olive Oil

    Greece is one of the largest producers of olives and olive oil in the world. Olives are an essential ingredient in Greek cuisine and are used in various forms, such as whole, pitted, or pressed into oil. Olive oil is not only a staple cooking ingredient but also a symbol of Greek hospitality and tradition.

  4. Traditional Recipes and Techniques

    Greek cuisine encompasses a rich tapestry of traditional recipes and cooking techniques. From moussaka and souvlaki to spanakopita and tzatziki, these dishes are beloved both within Greece and around the world. The methods of preparing and serving these dishes have been passed down for generations, creating a strong sense of cultural identity.

  5. Social and Culinary Traditions

    Greek cuisine is deeply intertwined with social and culinary traditions. Mealtimes are often communal events, bringing families and friends together to share food, conversation, and laughter. Traditional Greek hospitality ensures that guests are always well-fed and treated with warmth and generosity.

  6. Culinary Influences

    Greek cuisine has been influenced by various civilizations throughout history, including the Byzantines, Ottomans, and Venetians. These influences have contributed to the diverse range of flavors, spices, and cooking techniques found in Greek dishes.

  7. Festivals and Celebrations

    Greek cuisine plays a vital role in religious and cultural festivals. Special dishes are prepared during occasions like Easter, Christmas, weddings, and other significant events. These culinary traditions reinforce cultural ties and provide a sense of continuity and celebration.

  8. Global Influence

    Greek cuisine has gained popularity worldwide, with Greek restaurants and food establishments found in many countries. The use of Greek ingredients, flavors, and cooking techniques has been embraced by chefs and home cooks alike, contributing to the global culinary landscape.

Overall, Greek cuisine’s significance lies in its historical and cultural heritage, its emphasis on fresh and healthy ingredients, its connection to nature, and its role in social and culinary traditions. It continues to captivate people with its flavors, authenticity, and the sense of community it fosters.

The Greek food throughout its history and continuing today is for the Greeks a philosophy, they know that what makes a perfect feast is not just the food but also the good company. Food is nearly always prepared with the tastes of the guests in mind, should the dishes be roasted or fried, light or heavy? and the wine carefully chosen. Much of the conversation at the dinner table centres amicably around the food.

The freshness of the fish , having just leapt from the sea; the vegetables newly dug from the ground or picked from the vines of the local farmers. The host will want to proudly point out how they have attempted to provide the best and freshest produce for you to enjoy.

The traditional day in Greece begins early with a quick breakfast of coffee, milk or tea with dried rusks or toast, followed by a substantial lunch around 14.00-15.00 pm. Dinner served around 8-10 pm with mainly Greek dishes.

During the evenings, not only in weekends but also during week days the Greeks love to eat out mainly in a small local tavern or a grill house, with the family or with friends. Strong distinctive tastes are the hallmark of this culinary rhythm. Herbs like rigani (oregano), thyme, rosemary, parsley, coriander, dill, fennel and sage; spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla and mastic are all crucial.

Historical and Cultural Heritage of Greek cuisine

Greek cuisine is known for its rich historical and cultural heritage, dating back thousands of years. It has been shaped by various civilizations, including the ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, resulting in a diverse culinary tradition. Here are some key aspects of the historical and cultural heritage of Greek cuisine:

Ancient Greek Influence: Ancient Greek cuisine heavily influenced the foundations of Greek cooking. Ingredients such as olive oil, wine, bread, honey, and various herbs and spices were integral to their diet. The concept of the Mediterranean diet, emphasizing fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains, originated in ancient Greece.

Greek Orthodox Tradition: Greek cuisine is closely intertwined with Greek Orthodox traditions and religious festivals. Special dishes are prepared during religious holidays, such as the Easter lamb and the New Year’s cake (Vasilopita). Fasting periods, like Lent, also play a significant role in shaping the cuisine, with vegan and vegetarian dishes becoming prevalent during those times.

Regional Variations: Greece’s diverse landscape and geographical location have contributed to a wide range of regional variations in its cuisine. Each region has its specialties and local ingredients. For example, the island of Crete is known for its healthy and simple dishes using ingredients like olive oil, wild herbs, and local cheeses, while the northern region of Macedonia is famous for its meat-based dishes and pastries.

Mediterranean Ingredients: Greek cuisine showcases an abundance of fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Olives, olive oil, feta cheese, yogurt, honey, vegetables, herbs (such as oregano, thyme, and rosemary), and seafood are central to Greek dishes. These ingredients reflect the Mediterranean climate and the emphasis on simplicity, quality, and seasonality.

Meze Culture: Meze refers to a variety of small dishes served as appetizers or shared plates. Meze culture is an integral part of Greek dining, encouraging a convivial and social atmosphere. Popular meze dishes include tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber dip), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), fava (yellow split pea dip), and various grilled or marinated vegetables.

Traditional Greek Dishes: Greek cuisine boasts several iconic dishes that have stood the test of time. Moussaka, a layered dish of eggplant, ground meat, and béchamel sauce, is a classic example. Other notable dishes include souvlaki (grilled skewered meat), spanakopita (spinach and feta pie), pastitsio (baked pasta with meat sauce), and baklava (sweet pastry with nuts and honey syrup).

Culinary Influences: Greek cuisine has been influenced by various cultures throughout history. The Byzantine and Ottoman empires brought new spices, flavors, and cooking techniques to Greece. Middle Eastern influences can be seen in dishes like tzatziki and baklava, while Italian influences are evident in dishes like pastitsio and Greek pasta varieties.

Greek cuisine’s historical and cultural heritage is a testament to the country’s rich culinary traditions, reflecting the influences of ancient civilizations, religious customs, regional diversity, and a focus on fresh and flavorful ingredients. It continues to evolve while maintaining its deep roots in the past.

Popular dishes of Greek Cuisine

Greek cuisine is known for its rich flavors, fresh ingredients, and Mediterranean influences. It has a long history and is characterized by the use of olive oil, herbs, vegetables, and seafood. Here are some popular dishes and ingredients in Greek cuisine:

  1. Moussaka

    A layered dish made with eggplant, ground meat (often lamb), tomatoes, onions, and a creamy béchamel sauce.

  2. Souvlaki

    Skewered and grilled meat, usually pork or chicken, served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and garnished with onions and tomatoes.

  3. Dolmades

    Grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, herbs, and sometimes ground meat. They are often served as an appetizer or part of a meze platter.

  4. Spanakopita

    A savory pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs, baked until golden and crispy.

  5. Tzatziki

    A refreshing sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill. It is commonly served with grilled meats or as a dip for bread and vegetables.

  6. Greek Salad

    A classic salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, and feta cheese. It is dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs like oregano.

  7. Giouvetsi

    Greek Giouvetsi is a variation of Italian Υuvetsi that has been adapted to Greek cuisine. It usually includes rice, but can also include traditional Greek vegetables and aromatics, such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, celery, carrots, and nutmeg..

  8. Baklava

    A popular dessert made with layers of filo pastry, nuts (often walnuts or pistachios), honey, and spices. It is sweet, sticky, and often enjoyed with a cup of Greek coffee.

  9. Feta cheese

    A brined cheese made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It has a tangy flavor and crumbly texture, and is used in many Greek dishes.

  10. Greek yogurt

    Thick and creamy yogurt made from strained cow’s milk. It is often served with honey and fruits for breakfast or used in sauces and dips.

These are just a few examples of the many delicious dishes and ingredients in Greek cuisine. Greek food emphasizes simple yet flavorful combinations, making it a popular and healthy choice for many people.

Greek Olive oil

greek olive oilGreek olive oil enriches and flavours and the traditional cooking methods of grilling, long slow baking all enhance and mellow the food. Eating and drinking out in Greece is still wonderfully enjoyable and very democratic, young and old, wealthy and not so wealthy, the ordinary citizen and the celebrity, all enjoy the same favourite neighbourhood tavern, restaurant or cafe. Today, in many areas of Greece, celebratory meals, special occasions and family get-together are all more likely to occur in local taverns or restaurants than in peoples homes which means that you, the visitor, can vicariously enjoy the event which may also include live, traditional music and spontaneous dancing and perhaps fireworks! It seems academic to point out that thousands of years ago, the Greeks created one of the most important civilisations ever to be seen but part of this civilisation was the idea of good living. Epicurus, for example, was one of the major philosophers in the Hellenistic period. One aspect of his teaching is that the point of all ones actions was to attain pleasure (conceived of as tranquillity) for oneself, and that this could be done by limiting ones desires and by banishing the fear of the gods.

Greece has the ideal landscape and climate for growing olives, and olives make up more than just part of the Greek diet. They have been integrated for thousands of years in the fabric of Greek society. Olive oil plays an important role in anything from cosmetics to religious and folk rituals, medicine, celebrating christenings and commemorating the dead. Most Greeks consumer 40 pounds of olive oil per person per year, and the country produces more than 430,000 tons annually. The famous Kalamata olive is native to Greece.

Traditional food in Greece

Traditional Greek food disches are still made from recipes handed down from generation to generation. One of the best known is moussaka, the classic dish of spiced lamb mine with layers of eggplant, potato and béchamel sauce. Souvlaki is the ubiquitous Greek fast food, with lamb or chicken cooked on a rotisserie, sliced and served in pita bread with salad and tzaziki (yogurt and cucumber dip). Spanokopita are available everywhere, and the filo pastry parcels filled with spinach and feta are a very tasty treat. The famous Greek version of chicken soup for the weary is avgolemono, made from chicken, rice and lemon. Greece’s favourite alcoholic drink is ouzo, a spirit not for the faint hearted. It’s made from a combination of pressed grape skins, herbs and berries. Usually served as an aperitif, it can also be the basis of a mixed drink or cocktail. It’s ideally drunk straight and sipped slowly, with friends, over plates of meze.


Moussaka is a delicious dish that originates from the Mediterranean region, particularly Greece. It is a layered casserole dish made with eggplant (aubergine), ground meat (usually lamb or beef), and a rich tomato sauce. It is often topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and baked to perfection.

The traditional preparation of moussaka involves several steps. First, the eggplants are sliced and either fried or grilled until they become soft and slightly browned. Meanwhile, the ground meat is cooked with onions, garlic, and spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and oregano. The tomato sauce is then added to the cooked meat mixture, creating a flavorful filling.

To assemble the moussaka, a layer of cooked eggplant slices is placed at the bottom of a baking dish. The meat mixture is spread over the eggplant, followed by another layer of eggplant slices. Finally, a creamy béchamel sauce is poured over the top, and the dish is baked in the oven until the sauce is golden and bubbly.

Moussaka is often served as a main course and is typically accompanied by a fresh salad and crusty bread. It is a hearty and comforting dish that combines the flavors of the Mediterranean with layers of textures and aromas. Variations of moussaka can be found in different countries, but the Greek version is the most well-known and beloved.

It’s worth noting that while the traditional moussaka recipe includes meat, there are also vegetarian or vegan variations available, where the meat is substituted with ingredients like lentils or mushrooms. These alternatives can be just as delicious and satisfying for those with dietary restrictions or personal preferences.


Greek Salad

Greek salad, also known as “Horiatiki” in Greek, is a popular and refreshing dish that originates from Greece. It is a simple yet flavorful salad made with fresh ingredients typically found in the Mediterranean region. The key components of a Greek salad include:

  1. Tomatoes: Ripe, juicy tomatoes are an essential ingredient in a Greek salad. They provide a sweet and tangy flavor.

  2. Cucumbers: Crisp cucumbers add a refreshing crunch to the salad. They are usually peeled and diced or sliced.

  3. Red onions: Sliced or diced red onions are added to provide a mild, slightly sweet onion flavor.

  4. Bell peppers: Green or red bell peppers are commonly used. They contribute a slightly tangy taste and vibrant color to the salad.

  5. Kalamata olives: These dark purple, briny olives are a staple in Greek cuisine and add a distinct flavor to the salad. They are usually pitted and sliced.

  6. Feta cheese: Greek salad is traditionally topped with crumbled feta cheese. It has a tangy and salty taste that pairs well with the other ingredients.

  7. Extra virgin olive oil: Greek cuisine heavily relies on olive oil, and it is a key dressing ingredient in a Greek salad. It enhances the flavors and adds richness.

  8. Red wine vinegar: A splash of red wine vinegar is used to dress the salad and add acidity. It balances the flavors and complements the vegetables.

  9. Fresh herbs: Common herbs used in Greek salad are fresh oregano and parsley. They add a fragrant and aromatic element to the dish.

To prepare a Greek salad, simply combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, bell peppers, and olives in a large bowl. Crumble the feta cheese on top. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to make the dressing. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve chilled.

Greek salad is often enjoyed as a light and refreshing meal on its own or as a side dish alongside grilled meats, pita bread, or other Mediterranean dishes. It’s a perfect choice for summer or when you’re craving a healthy and flavorful salad option.



Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish consisting of small pieces of meat, typically pork, skewered and grilled to perfection. The word “souvlaki” actually refers to the skewer itself, but it has come to represent the entire dish as well.

Traditionally, souvlaki is made by marinating the meat in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and various herbs and spices. The marinated meat is then threaded onto skewers and cooked on a charcoal grill or over an open flame, resulting in a deliciously smoky and flavorful dish.

Souvlaki is often served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce (a yogurt-based sauce with cucumber and garlic), and a variety of accompaniments such as tomatoes, onions, and sometimes fries. It’s a popular street food in Greece and is enjoyed as a quick and tasty meal.

While pork is the most common meat used in souvlaki, other meats like chicken, beef, and lamb can also be used. Additionally, there are variations of souvlaki found in different regions of Greece, each with its own unique twist on the marinade and serving style.

Overall, souvlaki is a beloved Greek dish known for its simplicity, bold flavors, and the delightful combination of grilled meat, fresh vegetables, and tangy sauce.



Spanakopita is a delicious Greek dish that consists of spinach and feta cheese filling wrapped in layers of crispy phyllo pastry. The word “spanakopita” comes from the Greek words “spanaki” (spinach) and “pita” (pie).

To make spanakopita, you’ll need the following ingredients:

1 pound (500 grams) fresh spinach, washed and chopped (you can also use frozen spinach, thawed and drained)
8 (230 grams) feta cheese, crumbled
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
9-10 sheets of phyllo pastry
Butter or olive oil for brushing the phyllo sheets
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make spanakopita:

Preheat your oven to 365°F (180°C).

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.

Add the chopped spinach to the skillet and cook until it wilts down and any excess moisture evaporates. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked spinach mixture, crumbled feta cheese, chopped dill (if using), salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly combined.

Take a sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it lightly with melted butter or olive oil. Place another sheet on top and repeat the process until you have a stack of 8-10 phyllo sheets.

Spoon the spinach and feta mixture onto one end of the phyllo stack, leaving a border around the edges. Carefully roll up the phyllo pastry, enclosing the filling, to form a log shape.

Place the spanakopita log onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with butter or olive oil to give it a golden and crispy texture.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the phyllo pastry turns golden brown and crispy.

Once baked, remove the spanakopita from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing it into individual servings.

Spanakopita can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, or even as a main course. It’s delicious both warm and at room temperature.



Dolmades, also known as dolmas, are a traditional Greek and Middle Eastern dish consisting of stuffed grape leaves. The word “dolma” comes from the Turkish word “dolmak,” which means “to stuff” or “to fill.” Dolmades are typically made by rolling a filling of rice, herbs, and sometimes meat or vegetables in grape leaves, creating small bite-sized rolls.

The filling for dolmades varies depending on regional and personal preferences. Traditional fillings often include rice, herbs like parsley and dill, onions, and sometimes ground meat such as lamb or beef. Vegetarian or vegan versions may exclude meat and incorporate ingredients like mushrooms, tomatoes, or other vegetables.

To make dolmades, grape leaves are blanched in boiling water to soften them before using. A spoonful of filling is placed in the center of each leaf, and then the leaf is folded and rolled tightly into a small cylindrical shape. The rolled dolmades are usually arranged in a pot or baking dish, then cooked by steaming or simmering in a flavorful liquid such as broth or lemon juice.

Dolmades can be served warm or at room temperature as an appetizer, side dish, or part of a mezze platter. They are often garnished with lemon wedges, drizzled with olive oil, and paired with yogurt or tzatziki sauce. Dolmades are popular not only in Greece and the Middle East but also in many other countries with Mediterranean and Balkan culinary influences.



Tzatziki is a popular Greek sauce or dip that is made from yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, and various herbs and spices. It is a versatile condiment that is often served with grilled meats, used as a dressing for salads, or as a dip for vegetables or pita bread.

Here’s a simple recipe for making tzatziki:


  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or mint)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the grated cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes to release any excess moisture. Then, squeeze out the liquid from the cucumber using your hands or a clean kitchen towel.

  2. In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped dill. Mix well.

  3. Add the squeezed cucumber to the yogurt mixture and stir until well combined.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

  5. Cover the tzatziki and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

Tzatziki can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It’s a refreshing and tangy sauce that adds a burst of flavor to many dishes. Enjoy!


Feta cheese

Feta cheese is a popular type of cheese that originates from Greece. It is traditionally made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, although nowadays, it can also be made with cow’s milk. Feta cheese has a crumbly texture and a tangy, salty flavor.

The production of feta cheese involves curdling milk with the addition of rennet, which helps separate the curds and whey. The curds are then cut into small pieces and allowed to drain, removing most of the whey. After draining, the curds are salted and placed in brine, which contributes to the distinctive flavor and preservation of the cheese.

Feta cheese is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine and is a key ingredient in dishes such as Greek salads, spanakopita (spinach pie), and pastries like tiropita. It can also be crumbled and sprinkled on top of various dishes as a flavorful topping.

When purchasing feta cheese, you can find it in blocks or already crumbled. It is important to note that authentic feta cheese is made in Greece and is protected by a European Union PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) designation, meaning that only cheese made in specific regions of Greece can be labeled as “feta.” However, similar cheeses made in other countries or using different methods may also be referred to as “feta-style” or “feta-like” cheese.

Feta cheese is a versatile ingredient that adds a unique flavor to a variety of dishes, and it can be enjoyed by itself or as part of a larger recipe.



Giouvetsi, is a Greek baked pasta dish made with orzo pasta, tender meat, and a flavorful tomato sauce. Here’s a recipe for making Giouvetsi:


500 grams (about 1 pound) beef or lamb, cut into small cubes
2 cups orzo pasta
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (400 grams/14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups beef or vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated cheese (such as kefalotyri or Parmesan) for serving
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).

Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until the onion becomes translucent and lightly golden.

Add the meat cubes to the pot and cook until browned on all sides. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and cinnamon. Stir well to coat the meat with the spices.

If using red wine, pour it into the pot and let it simmer for a couple of minutes to cook off the alcohol.

Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

Pour in the beef or vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Add the orzo pasta to the pot, stirring gently to distribute it evenly. Make sure the pasta is submerged in the liquid.

Cover the pot with a lid or aluminum foil and transfer it to the preheated oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the orzo is cooked and tender.

Remove the pot from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve the Giouvetsi hot, garnished with grated cheese and chopped fresh parsley.

Giouvetsi is a delicious and comforting dish that can be enjoyed on its own or accompanied by a Greek salad and crusty bread.


Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt, also known as strained yogurt, is a popular type of yogurt that has been strained to remove most of the whey, resulting in a thicker, creamier texture compared to regular yogurt. It is widely consumed and enjoyed for its rich and tangy flavor, as well as its versatility in various dishes.

Here are some key features and facts about Greek yogurt:

  1. Production: Greek yogurt is typically made from cow’s milk, although it can also be made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. The process involves straining regular yogurt to remove the whey, which contains water, lactose, and some minerals.

  2. Texture: Due to the straining process, Greek yogurt has a thicker and creamier consistency compared to regular yogurt. It is often described as being velvety or smooth, which makes it a popular choice for eating on its own or as an ingredient in recipes.

  3. Protein content: Greek yogurt is known for its high protein content. It generally contains more protein per serving compared to regular yogurt, making it a popular choice among those looking to increase their protein intake. The exact protein content can vary depending on the brand and type of Greek yogurt.

  4. Nutritional profile: Greek yogurt is a nutritious food that provides several essential nutrients. It is a good source of calcium, which is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can support gut health. Additionally, Greek yogurt is often lower in carbohydrates and lactose compared to regular yogurt.

  5. Culinary uses: Greek yogurt is a versatile ingredient and can be used in various ways. It can be enjoyed on its own, topped with fruits, nuts, or granola. It is commonly used in smoothies, parfaits, and breakfast bowls. Greek yogurt can also be used as a substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise in recipes, or as a base for dressings, dips, and marinades.

  6. Flavor variations: Greek yogurt is available in different flavors, ranging from plain and unsweetened to various fruit flavors such as strawberry, blueberry, or peach. There are also options with added sweeteners or additional mix-ins like honey, granola, or chocolate.

When purchasing Greek yogurt, it is essential to check the label and ingredients to ensure that you are getting a product that aligns with your dietary preferences and needs. Some varieties may have added sugars or other ingredients that you may want to avoid.

Overall, Greek yogurt is a popular and versatile dairy product that offers a creamy texture, high protein content, and numerous culinary possibilities.



Baklava is a sweet pastry that is popular in various Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Balkan cuisines. It is made by layering thin sheets of phyllo dough with a mixture of finely chopped nuts (typically walnuts, pistachios, or almonds), sugar, and spices, such as cinnamon or cardamom. The layers are then baked until golden and crispy.

After baking, a sweet syrup made from sugar, water, and lemon juice or rose water is poured over the hot baklava, allowing it to soak and infuse with flavor. The syrup adds moisture and sweetness to the pastry, making it irresistibly delicious.

Baklava is known for its distinctive diamond or triangle shape, which is achieved by cutting the baked pastry into individual pieces before serving. It is often garnished with additional chopped nuts or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

This delightful dessert has a rich history dating back centuries and is enjoyed as a special treat during holidays, celebrations, and other festive occasions. Its unique combination of flaky pastry, crunchy nuts, and sweet syrup makes it a beloved dessert in many cultures around the world.


Mediterranean health food in Greece

Pleasure, simplicity and good friends you can trust were central to his theory of life. The Romans during the period of the Roman Empire continued this tradition, but to enormous excess. Evidence of this are seen in the many famous feasts held during this time. This element of excess was and still is at odds with the Greek temperament, and was eliminated by the later Byzantines, thus preserving the authenticity of Greek cuisine for over a thousand years. Basically the traditional diet and method of cooking food in Greece has not changed since the ancient times, the original flavours and ingredients are still used along with the crucial basic ingredient of all – Greek olive oil.
greek foodThis is particularly so in somewhere like Crete, where the traditional diet is the same – simple and basic without the over spicing of much modern food. It is argued that the Cretan diet hasn’t really changed since Minoan times – using olive oil, cereals, wine and fish. Such a diet has created the worlds most healthy and long-lived people and is the basis of the famous Mediterranean Diet. Indeed, research carried out in 1950 by the International Scientific Community discovered that the inhabitants of Crete were so healthy due to their diet. Still today, it is generally agreed that following the traditional Cretan way of eating leads to less chance of suffering from heart disease compared to other Mediterranean countries. The main reason seems to be due to the fact that Cretans eat twice as much fruit, a quarter less meat and more pulses than other Europeans. But one could also argue that this is the traditional diet of much of Greece. In the summer of 2005, the margarine producer Flora ran a campaign to raise awareness about heart disease and cholesterol in women.

Cholesterol is largely found in animal fats and people with high levels are more prone to suffer from heart disease than those with lower levels. Greek cuisine is largely free from animal fats which is why it is so good for us. This, together with fresh, organic foodstuff, large helpings of fish, fruit and vegetables with very little opportunity for fast food binges and no real tradition of making do with pre-cooked TV dinners leads us to conclude that it is not really surprising that as well as being the cradle of civilization it was also the birthplace of the Mediterranean Diet. Today, with the introduction of nouveau cuisine in much of Western Europe – with its strange mix of ingredients and flavours, or the cuisine of some European cities with its pretentiousness, complicated etiquette procedures and formalities it seems that all gastronomical pleasure has been lost. In Greek cuisine you can rediscover the original feeling of taste. The Greek food is beautiful! And when I say Greek food I don’t mean souvlaki and moussaka, but the hundreds and hundreds of wonderful dishes that Greek women have invented through time.

greek fish foodIf you want to try the typically traditional food of Greece, the first thing you have to do is to find a traditional Greek tavern. The first sign you should look for is the customers: if the majority is Greek then you are on the right track. Also have a look at the tavern, if it doesn’t have huge signs in 50 languages shouting out that they have the Greece food dishes of Moussaka for only 4-5 euro, then you have found something. If you are really lucky, they don’t even have menus, at least not in English.
Step two is to eat the way the Greeks do. You start by ordering in mezes, or mezedakia. These are the small dishes with various delicacies that you eat as appetisers or on the side. You can even remain there and not order a main course at all. Order whatever comes to mind, or ask the waiter to bring in whatever is good. With this you should drink wine, but beer or a soft drink is OK too. Dig in, and enjoy. Take your time…the Greeks do not just eat out for the food, but for the company and the fun of it. Worth to try are the Greek desserts and the famous Greek salads like, Horiatiki the well known Greek salad ,Melitzanosalata, Angourontomata, Maroulosalata, taramosalata and many others.

What to order in a Greek Restaurant

greek apetizersOpening a menu in a Greek Restaurant or Tavern the first part are the appetisers, I am not going to list all the Greek appetisers here but the most common that the Greeks will order. One of the most popular starters is the Tsatsiki the famous appetiser made out of Yogurt, garlic and cucumbers.

Taramosalata, the Greek red caviar and then usually fried aubergines, zucchinis or fried green paprika followed by Tyropitakia (small cheese pies) and various croquettes from cheese (Tyrokroketes), zucchini balls flavoured with fresh mind (kolokythokeftedes), dolmadakia gialantzi (stuffed wine leaves) and of course Chorta ( boiled Greek dandelions or radishes).

Lobster with SpaghettiAmong the main dishes you will find the usual MoussakaStuffed tomatoes, aubergines or paprika, Giouvarlakia ( meatballs with rice in white egg and lemon sauce), Dolmades (stuffed cabbage leaves), Soutzoukakia (meatballs in red sauce), spaghetti Bolognese, and many meat dishes from chicken (kotopoulo) veal (moshari) and lamb (arni)..etc. But in the last 20 yeats the Greek cuisine has evolved with a new look of “Haut Cuisine” spelialities like Lobster with Spaghetti is one of the most beloved dishes in almost every island restaurant as well as a mixture of French and Italian recipies with a Greek tuch. Of course the lobsters, shrimps and red mullets (Barbounia) are the most expensive and most popular, but there are many other kind of fishes that you have to should try like Tsipoura (sea bream), Lithrinia (red sea breams) Fagria, Melanouria, Sargoi and Synagrides all of those fishes belong to the breams and porgies family, very tasty grilled or fried. In the summer you will find in the Greek taverns many Mackerels (kolioi) But the special fish that the Greek love is marida or maridaki the Greek equivalent of the north Atlantic Whitebait, this is one of the most tasty fish dishes and the best companion for Retsina wine. Other common fish foods in Grece are the Kalamaris or Kalamarakia (squids) , Gopes (bogues) , Htapodi (octopus) grilled or boiled with vinegar, Gavros (a kind of anchovy) , Galeos (Smooth Hound) tasty fillets that served most with garlic salad (scordalia) and beetroots and finally Xifias (Sword fish) a very common fish in the Aegean. The Greek bouillabaisse (Psarosoupa) with first class fishes (usually Synagrida or Fagri ) most of the times especially in the summer has to be ordered a day before in many taverns and restaurants. The typical Greek fish soup contains except of the fish, onions, carrots, potatoes and celery, in an excellent combination with olive oil and lemon juice. Finally the desserts include Yogurt with honey, Crème caramel and Baklava.

Meat Dishes

pork chopsThe grilled meats include Britzoles (chops) from pork (britzoles hoirines), lamb ((britzoles arnisies) or veal (britzoles mosharisies), Paidakia (ribs) from lamb and other specialities on spit or skewer like Souvlaki and Exohiko (lamb grilled in foil). In many grill taverns mostly in the mainland of Greece you will find many specialities on spit like Kokoretsi, Gardoumpa and Splinantero all having as base lamb liver and kidneys.
The fish dishes are the best ones as Greece is a country surrounded by the sea and fishing is a main factor of the Greek agriculture. But fish dishes are the tricky ones for the foreigners and tourist because in many Greek taverns the fishes are spelled wrongly and many west and north European tourists doesn’t know so well the fishes of the Mediterranean.

Greek wines

Wine was for the Ancient Greek the drink of the Gods, still today the Greek wine is for the Greeks the most popular drink. Among the most popular wines in Greece is the Retsina a wine that for the foreigner is you love it or you hate it. Retsina is one of the most older wines in Greece and its name and taste comes from the resin that they put in. Its popularity comes from 2 reasons the good taste and the cheap price, Stil today in Athens you van find places and taverns that sale Greek wine from the Barrel. Other popular wines in Greece are Kokineli and Brusco, red dry house wines (the Greeks refer to brusco as dry red and not sparkling as the Italian Brusco) (sweet wines) Mavrodafni of Patras (the sweet Greek Dessert Port wine), Muscat of Samos or Samiotiko. There are many kinds and appellations of white and red wines in Greece among them are Agioritiko ,Macedonikos , Naoussa, Robola of Kefalonia, Zitsa ,Santorini , Rhodes Peza, Gumenissa and others.

Liquors and Aperitifs

Ouzo : Is the best Greek aperitif well known all over the world for its special flavor of anise, among the best ouzo are the ones from Samos and Lesvos island some of the ouzo you can ask in Greece is Mini, Giokarinis, Plomari and Ouzo 12. Ouzo its a drink that most Greeks will drink with meze ,if you are in an island try as meze grilled octopus or salted macerel, always something salty goes well with ouzo. You can drink Ouzo straight but the best way is to mix it with water. Metaxa a world famous Greek Brandy, it has a rather sweet taste and you can find it as 3, 5 or 7 stars.
Even though recreating foreign dishes at home is difficult, you can give the recipes here a go. They are not too hard, and if made right, will take you back to that lovely place by the sea.