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Food and Drink

Greece - Food and Drink

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Greek foods make up some of the finest dishes in the world.

Located along the Mediterranean Sea, Greece is home to world-renowned foods.

Beautiful blue waters and beaches and a lot of flavor-packed fare has made Greece a favorite destination for foodies.

Tourists are encouraged to enjoy all the country has to offer including its delicious dishes, some of which are listed below.

Classic dips like tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic), melitzanosalata (aubergine), fava (creamy split pea puree), and fish roe dip are the main national Greek meal. A drizzle of virgin olive oil or a squeeze of lemon is best served with a creamy blend of pink or white fish roe with potato or bread base.

Olives & olive oil
Most Greek dishes are drizzled with olive oil with many taverns using their own oil. For centuries, Greeks have been cultivating olives and using it in most of their meals, some by flavoring their own olives, some cured in hearty sea salt brine, and others eaten uncured from the tree.

These are mostly eaten as a finger food. This dish refers to minced meat and long grain rice wrapped in vine leaves.

The iconic moussaka is based on layering of vegetables including garlic, tomato, and aubergine combined with minced meat, cheese, and béchamel sauce. However, there are many versions of this dish with families, restaurants, and hotels having their own versions of moussaka.

Grilled meat
Souvlaki is still Greece’s favorite fast food, with meat wrapped in pitta bread, tomato, onions, and tzatziki. Greeks are masters of charcoal-grilled and roasted meats.

Fresh fish
Settle down at a seaside tavern and eat as locals have since ancient times. Fresh fish and calamari from the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas are unbelievably tasty and cooked with minimum simplicity. The most popular cooking method for seafood in Greece is grilling. In addition, foods are often prepared with lemon and oil dressing. Delicious smaller fish such as barbounia (red mullet) and maridha (whitebait) are best prepared by shallow frying.

Courgette balls (kolokythokeftedes)
Whether in patty form or lightly fried, try out these starters whenever you get the opportunity. This dish consists of vegetables, spices, and meat. Courgette balls are often paired with tzatziki for its cooling freshness.

Octopi are often seen hanging out along the harbors to dry, making them one of the most well-known images of Greece. They make a fine appetizer whether grilled or marinated. They can be used as an entrée for wine sauce and served with pasta.

Greece is well known for having many types of cheese. Creamy and delicious feta is usually kept in big barrels and sold behind market counters in plastic tubs. Tyropita (cheese pie) can be found in bakeries, while salad like Cretan dakos with a crumbling of mizithra toppings can be found in taverns.

Greek Drinks

Common beer brands in Greece include Vergina, Heineken, Amstel, Zeos, Mythos, Alfa Hellenic Lager, Fix, Henninger, and Kaiser.

Greek frappé coffee
This is a popular foam covered drink made from spray-dried instant coffee.

This drink was originally made in the city of Patras. It is red wine with a high alcohol content.

This drink is seasoned with mastic, a resin of a small evergreen tree commonly found in the island of Chios.

This is a type of sweet brandy with high alcohol content.

This anise-flavored alcoholic drink turns white when mixed with water or served on ice.

This alcoholic drink should preferably be drunk when still young. It consists of white wine with resin and originates from the Northern region of Greece.

This is a popular cinnamon flavored drink that originates from Patras.

Usually home brewed and is produced from pomace. This drink is clear in color with high alcohol content but without herbal flavors. Volos in Greece is widely known for its Tsipouradika. Tsipouro is mostly flavored with anise in areas like Thessaly. Its Cypriot version is known as Zivania and is often made with pomace obtained from Xynisteri and Mavro grapes. Cinnamon is often used to add flavor to the drink.

This is the most common drink in Greece. Most of the wine in the country comes from the Icaria region.

This is a fortified type of wine made in Cyprus. It is commonly used in Holy Communion ceremonies.

Greeks take three meals a day, with lunch being the most important. However, this is slowly changing as more people in Greece align their eating habits with those of the West.

Proino - Breakfast
This is not a popular meal as Greeks take small and simple breakfasts. Many Greek families are increasingly taking western-style breakfasts with cereal, milk, bread with jam or yoghurt with honey. A good number of people take coffee and a snack while going to work or school.

Kolatsio - Mid morning snack
Greeks usually take a snack or pie at around 11am to cool the hunger pangs associated with not having a heavy breakfast.

Mesimeriano - Lunch
Before the 9am to 5pm work schedule, Greek families took their lunch at home between 1.30pm and 2.30pm. However, this has changed over the years partly due to busy schedules, with many people taking lunch at work while kids eat at home.

Popular local dishes

The traditional fast foods are gyros (γύρος, "GHEER-ohs", not "JIE-rohs" as in "gyroscope"), roast pork or chicken (and rarely beef) and fixings wrapped in a fried pita; souvlaki (σουβλάκι, "soov-LAH-kee"), grilled meat on a skewer; Greek dips such as tzatziki (τζατζίκι), made of strained yoghurt, olive oil, garlic and finely chopped cucumbers and dill; and skordhalia (σκορδαλιά), a garlic mashed potato dip which is usually served with deep fried salted cod.

Lunch traditionally included vegetable stew or casserole with cheese, bread, salad and a glass of wine and sometimes meat for the more affluent. Farmers usually took bread or paximadi with cheese, olives or tomatoes or fruit, depending on what they carried. Today, many Greek adults still take vegetable casserole for lunch with pasta, grilled meat, and sandwiches.

Afternoon coffee
Traditionally, Greeks took coffee with snacks after a nap at around 5pm. Today, coffee is still a popular afternoon drink, although most people no longer have the time to nap in the afternoons.

Vradino - Dinner
Greeks have their dinner quite late, usually between 9pm to 10pm. If they take a heavy meal for lunch, dinner usually comprises fruits mixed with yoghurt, a sandwich, salad or small portions of lunch leftovers. If not, they take a full course meal or go for pizza, souvlaki, hamburgers, or Chinese food. This is also the time that the younger ones take their main meals and may choose to go out with friends.

Read more about this country

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