With Greece’s beautiful blue waters and plenty of delicious food cooked only with the best and freshest ingredients grown locally, it is no surprise that this place has become a family holiday favorite. Do make sure you get to try all that the country has to offer, starting with our picks of their traditional dishes that will surely top your best gastronomic investments.
Every Greek meal must have a classic dip to serve with such as tzatziki, which is basically garlic, cucumber yogurt, and melitzanosalata, which is aubergine and fava — a creamy split pea purée. But the appetizing taramasalata or fish roe dip is a must-try. This is a creamy blend of pink or white fish roe, drizzled with virgin olive oil or a squeeze of lemon, and a base of either a potato or bread.
2. Olives and Olive Oil
The Greeks are known for their olive plantations for millennia, and it has been an old tale that it was Athena herself who gave Athens its first olive tree, thus winning its favor. I guess for all the scrumptious Greek dishes there is, the olives should get credit as it is always one of their prominent ingredients in along with cured hearty sea salt brine. However, others like their olives with throubes and eaten uncured from the tree. Now, the Olive oil, which is used liberally in all their dishes, has been coined as the elixir of Greece. Many tavernas make and use their own.
Each household in Greece has its variation of dolmades, and it’s either their choice of the classic vine leaf parcel, or hollowed out vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and courgettes, stuffed and baked in the oven. One doesn’t need online classes to learn these meals, as hollowed vegetables usually have just the stuffing of minced meat with long-grain rice. Vegetarian versions boast rice flavored and drizzled with choice herbs of thyme, dill, fennel, and oregano. Pine nuts can also be used.
There are different versions of Moussaka throughout the Mediterranean and the Balkans, but this iconic Greek oven-bake is no mystery! It is a layer and layer of sautéed aubergine, minced lamb, fried puréed tomato, onion, garlic, and spices of cinnamon. Well, maybe a bit of potato, then a final fluffy topping of béchamel sauce and cheese. Don’t worry, these dishes won’t cause gas in our stomach!
5. Grilled Meat
The Greeks are also known as charcoal-grilled and spit-roasted meats masters. Souvlaki, which is chunks of skewered pork, is considered as Greece’s go-to fast food, served with chopped tomatoes and onions to be eaten with pitta bread and some dip of tzatziki. Gyros, too, is popular and served in the same way. At the taverna, what usually dominates is the local free-range lamb and pork, though kid goat is also a favorite. Raising these meats should be a good investment!
6. Fresh Fish
Seaside tavernas have long been set-up since ancient times. I wonder whether they had something like calamari back then. But modern-day Mediterranean Cuisine serves tasty fish and calamari fresh from the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, and cooked with minimum fuss – grilled whole and drizzled with a lemon and oil dressing. Flavorsome smaller fish such as the red mullet and whitebait are ideally lightly fried. Again, we got to give the olives credit for the culinary wonder that it is.
7. Courgette Balls (kolokythokeftedes)
As a starter, you can have this sometimes as a patty and sometimes as a lightly fried ball. Anyhow, be sure to try these any chance you get. The fritter is made from grated or puréed courgette blended with dill, mint, or other top-secret spice combinations. For cooling freshness, you won’t go wrong with pairing it with tzatziki.
So these are the must-try Greek meal list for your foodie trip to Greece. Enjoy!
Based on Materials from BBC Good Food
Photo Sources: Daria Shevtsova, KaboomPics, Pixabay