Greece is famous for its cuisine and wines. Some dishes are the same all over the country –mainland and islands- and some a locally culinary specialties. The cuisine is generally Mediterranean and uses a lot of olive oil. Lamb is another Greek favorite, mostly during Easter.
The appetizers, served before or with the main dishes are called mezedes. Mezedes are usually accompanied by ouzo or tsipouro. The appetizers are one of the main elements of the Mediterranean cuisine and culture and are served in small plates. Some of the traditional mezedes include: Horiatiki Salata, Tzatziki, Melitzanosalata, Keftedakia, Spanakopitakia, Tiropitakia, Dolmadakia, Kalamarakia and Feta cheese.
- The Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata) is a mix of fresh tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onions, green pepper, olive oil, oregano and feta cheese.
- Tzatziki is made from yogurt mixed with finely chopped (or grated) cucumber, garlic and olive oil.
- Melitzanosalata is a puree made of eggplant, garlic and olive oil.
- Keftedakia are fried meatballs made from beef mixed with garlic and bread.
- Spanakopitakia are small spinach pies with feta cheese, while Tiropitakia are small cheese pies.
- Dolmadakia/Dolmades is a dish made from grape leaves filled with a mixture of rice, onions and minced beef.
- Kalamarakia is fried squid served with lemon, while Htapodi is fried octopus served with lemon juice, olive oil and oregano.
- Feta cheese is the traditional Greek cheese. It can be eaten as a meze with oregano and olive oil.
Almost all of the Greek main dishes contain meat. Some of the traditional main dishes are: Moussaka, Pastitsio, Paidakia and Kokoretsi.
- Moussaka is one of the most famous Greek dishes and has a base made of eggplants, topped with minced beef, tomatoes, onions and béchamel.
- Pastitsio is similar to Italian Lasagna. The dish is made from noodles topped with minced beef, onions, tomato sauce and béchamel.
- Paidakia is a dish made of grilled lamb’s ribs and is served with lemons.
- Kokoretsi is very popular dish and is served mainly during Easter and consists of wrapped and roasted entrails of lamb, served with a lot of lemon.
The soups are Greek’s favorite during winter. Some of the traditional ones include: Kotossoupa –chicken soup-, Psarossoupa and Kakavia –fish soups-, Fassolatha (Fassolada)– white beans soup-, Fakies –lentil soup-, Magiritsa-lamb soup served after Resurrection – and Patsa-tripe soup, the Greek’s remedy for hangover.
Wines and Alcoholic Drinks
Greece is famous of its wines and strong drinks. There is a huge variety of Greek wines, each region being famous for their own variety of grapes. The Wines of Santorini are unique in Greece as the grapes grown on the volcanic soil, which gives the wine an interesting mineral aftertaste.
- Ouzo is the most famous Greek alcoholic drink. Everyone heard of the Greek ouzo. It’s a strong alcohol. Greeks drink it straight with ice or a bit of water. It’s served with mezedes. The best Greek ouzo is made in Lesvo.
>>more information on Ouzo Cocktails
- Tsipouro looks like ouzo but has a stronger taste of anis. It’s strong and, just like ouzo, is drinkable straight with ice or with some water. It’s always served with mezedes. In Crete it’s called Raki.
- Mavrodafni is a sweet wine made in Patras. It’s dark and is usually served as a digestive or a late night drink.
- Retsina is a famous Greek white wine with a particular resin taste which is obtained during production.
Although not as famous as the wine or ouzo, the Greek beer is a good option for any traveler, especially during the summer heat.