Greece may be best known for its Caribbean-like beaches, ancient history, and avid nightlife, which are all true, but make up only some pieces of the beautiful Greek puzzle. An often underrated side of Greece, which some may not be as familiar with, is its cuisine and the high-quality of food that the country has to offer... Psych! Everyone knows Greece's food is the cat's meow, and here we'll explain why!
A foodie’s paradise can be defined as a place where one has too many high-quality food options to choose from. In terms of quality, Greece’s Mediterranean cuisine is world-renowned for its fundamental superfood ingredients such as olive oil, fish, vegetables, and fruits.
Furthermore, according to the latest statistics from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Food Security Index, Greece ranks at number 5 in the world for 'Food Quality and Safety'! Indeed, Greece actually scores 20% higher than the world-average in nutritional standards, and 35% higher than the world average in protein quality (the essential amino acids in the average national diet)! So, to all the foodies who search far and wide for top quality food products, it is safe to say that Greece is the place to be!
Who came up with the phrase 'quality over quantity'? Why can’t we have both? In Greece, you can! The Mediterranean cuisine is an umbrella term under which countless subcategories of Greek cuisines exist. Greece has many distinguished regions within the country in which many different delicious dishes were born.
Traditional Cretan Dorada fish with Greek salad, Kissamos, Crete - credits: Toms Auzins/Shutterstock.com
The largest island in Greece, Crete, may be vast, but the Cretan people are united in their love for tasty and healthy food. The recipes are centuries old and embody a whole philosophy of minimalism which represents their lifestyle. Crete itself has birthed world-renown dishes such as fried snails, dakos salad and cheeses like mizithra, and is especially famous for its green and black olives. Additionally, olive oil is Greece’s liquid gold and Crete has an abundance of it; it's on almost everything you will eat on the island. Furthermore, the wild greens of Crete cannot be matched. Stamnagathi, for example, is one of Crete’s trademark leafy greens with an impeccable -and distinctive- aftertaste, while it is also nutritionally potent with iron, calcium, vitamins A and C, as well as Omega 3 fats; it is said to be the secret to Cretans’ longevity in life.
A man harvesting black grapes in a vineyard in Nemea, Peloponnese - credits: Andronos Haris/Shutterstock.com
The Peloponnese is home to a cornucopia of glorious garden vegetables and herbs such as artichokes, aubergines, cinnamon, and rosemary, which are staples in every local’s kitchen. The peninsula is not only a foodie’s paradise but also a nature lover’s haven. The geological diversity of the region that includes mountainous terrain to deep valleys to miles and miles of coastal lands, allows for a multitude of unique animal products as well as a plethora of other produce. As if this is not enough, the Peloponnese is also well known for the homemade fresh pasta that, up until the 1960s, all village women would prepare. During the summer harvest, they would make huge amounts of chylopites, the local pasta variety that is made with flour, eggs, and milk. This traditional pasta can be found and bought in almost any local store all over the Peloponnese and, while restaurants incorporate them in their traditional dishes.
Another fundamental on a Greek dinner table is wine, and the fertile lands of the Peloponnese produce the most delicious grapes. The Nemean wine appellation is perhaps Greece’s most important red wine region, located in the north of the Peloponnese. The Agiorgitiko grape has been the source of hundreds of years of wine production as it is native to the area, which is a truly captivating place to visit. You can learn all about the wine-production of Greece by visiting Nemea or by joining our multi-day tour of Greece for Foodies, where we take you around the gastronomical treasures of our country.
Friends drinking ouzo and eating Greek meze - credits: Nadir Keklik/Shutterstock.com
In the North of Greece, you will notice the influence of the Asia Minor war that resulted in immigrants from the East moving back to Greece. You will be able to smell and taste Turkish and Middle Eastern fusions incorporated in the Greek dishes originating from the Northern parts of the country and creating a real melting pot of flavors:\. The food tends to be spicier, as coriander, pepper, and cumin prevail in most dishes. Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, is famous for its meze dishes that are served complimentary to the traditional spirit of ouzo, a culinary tradition that foodies from all over the world can appreciate.
The mezes custom is engrained in Greek cuisine and is basically the notion that a small bite to eat must be served along with every alcoholic beverage. This also goes hand in hand with the Greek way of socializing, as mezedes are almost always shared with your friends and family. That being said, mezedes were originally not meant to replace a full meal, but nowadays, if you go to the right place, they most definitely can! Examples of a mezedes can vary from deep-fried cheese balls to crab salad to grilled octopus, and are sometimes provided free with every alcoholic beverage you purchase! This will give a foodie the chance to try all sorts of delicious local dishes in one sitting, at a low cost; could it get any better?
Being forced to eat bad quality food and getting caught in tourist traps is often a travel hazard, especially when travelers are unprepared. The team at Greeking.me understand this struggle all too well, as we ourselves are travelers. This led us to develop our Greece for Foodies multi-day package tour that is specially designed to cater for all of the food enthusiasts.
On this 10 -15 day tour, we take you to the highlights of our beautiful country with our expert archeologist tour guides; we ensure that you never get caught up in tourist traps and point you to the right direction; we focus on your interest in gastronomy by organizing cooking classes in different cities to explore different local dishes, as well as guided tours of wineries, olive oil, and cheese farms: the foundation of this country’s cuisine.
To all the foodies out there looking for a vacation that will satisfy their hunger for quality and value, you can’t go wrong with Greece, and you can't go wrong with Greeking.me!