Greece may be best known for her caribbean-like beaches, ancient history and avid nightlife, which is all well deserved, but make up only some pieces of the beautiful Greek puzzle. An often underrated piece of Greece, which some may not be as familiar with, is her cuisine and the all round quality of food that the country has to offer.
A foodie’s paradise may 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 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!
Whoever said 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 is 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 freshness which represents their lifestyle. Crete itself has birthed world renown dishes such as fried snails, dakos salad and cheeses like mizithra, and is especially well-known for their green and black olives. Olive oil is Greece’s liquid gold and Crete has an abundance of the stuff; it is present in almost everything you will eat. Crete is also well-known for its wild greens that cannot be matched. Stamnagathi, for example, is one of Crete’s trademark leafy greens. With an impeccable aftertaste, nutritionally potent with iron, calcium, vitamins A and C, as well as Omega 3 fats, is said to be the secret to Cretans’ longevity of 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, 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 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 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 kilos and kilos of chylopites from flour eggs and milk that would be made into a dry pasta to keep until the next summer. This traditional pasta can be seen and bought from almost any local store all over the Peloponnese and, of course, restaurants incorporate them in traditional dishes. Another fundamental on a Greek dinner table is wine, and the fertile lands of the Peloponnese produce the most delicious grapes. The Nemea 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 this by visiting it in person on our multi-day tour of Greece for Foodies which we have devoted to finding 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 infusions in the Greek dishes originating from the Northern parts of the country, 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 mezedes with ouzo tradition, one that foodies from all over the world can appreciate. The mezedes custom is engrained in Greek cuisine all over the country and is basically the notion that a small bite to eat must be served with every alcoholic beverage. This also goes hand in hand with the other Greek custom of socialization, as mezedes are almost always shared with the company. That being said, mezedes were originally not meant to replace a full meal, but nowadays, if you go to the right places, 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 as you are often catered for and always pointed in the right direction; we focus on your interest in gastronomy by organizing cooking classes in different cities to explore different local dishes and 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 in Greece, and you can't go wrong with Greeking.me!