Everyone on the planet knows that Greece means culture and amazing scenery. History and beauty blend together to form a marvelous, memorable experience. Greek cuisine is equally famous. Walking around a Greek city, you are sure to find great food with a huge variety of plates from breakfast to dinner. Nevertheless, one thing that a lot of people don’t realize is how sweet Greece really is.
The beauty of Greece is not only confined in itshistory, but also in its food. Living in an ancient, small country, natives carry and impart their heritage from generation to generation. A big part of this knowledge is old recipes regarding cakes, cookies, spoon sweets and other wonderful desserts.
Cake is a common dessert, breakfast, and, sometimes, dinner for people all over the world. What makes Greek cakes stand out are their unique recipes that make the most of Greece’s produce. Locals in every city, town, and village bake the most delicious cakes, using nuts and fruits, and, in this way, creating incredible and healthy delicacies.
Greek sweet ravani cake - credits: Alexander Narraina/Shutterstock.com
One of the greatest foods that you can ever taste is the flavorful cake with syrup, called “Greek ravani.” It is made from semolina and orange syrup and it is perfectly combined with ice cream. For the jam lovers, the Greek jam tart is a must. From the first bite, you can taste the freshness of organic, hand-picked fruits that are used to create this fascinating dessert.
Traditional Greek new year’s cake known as vasilopita with a lucky coin inside - credits: Athina Psoma/Shutterstock
Last but not least, if you find yourself in Greece during the holiday season and specifically Christmas, you are lucky! The Greek New Year’s cake called “Vasilopita,” is a seasonal treat that everyone has to savor. This cake is an old, religious tradition. Greek families gather together on New Year’s Eve to celebrate. Then, they cut the cake in pieces. Each family member gets one. The cake, though, contains a coin. Whoever finds the coin in his piece is considered the lucky one all year long.
Greek Spoon Sweets
Greek cherry spoon sweet - credits: Marie C Fields/Shutterstock.com
A single visit to a Greek house will probably lead to someone offering you a small, decorated, glass plate with syrup on it. The treat is considered too sugary, so it is served by the spoonful. Spoon sweets are simple to make and wonderful to taste. The ingredients, usually, are water, seasonal fruits, and, of course, sugar. By combining these simple components, Greek people create a flavor like no other. The variety of Greek produce allows the creation of numerous, different spoon sweets. The versatility of Greek cuisine doesn’t stop there. Spoon sweets can also be used as a topping for yogurt or cakes.
Traditional Christmas kourabiedes and melomakarona - credits: stella/Shutterstock.com
Christmas is a great time to visit Greece. Strolling around the buzzing streets, admiring the ornaments of Christmas trees, and experiencing the holiday season, you are sure to detect the aroma of the Greek Christmas butter cookies. Butter cookies, otherwise called “kourambiedes,” are covered in confectioner’s sugar, which gives them an unparalleled flavor. The Greek Christmas honey cookies called “melomakarona,” are usually made from semolina, scented with cinnamon and orange juice and drizzled with lots of honey. The mix of these local flavors can carry you away on a quick tour of Greek tastes.
Greek Local sweets
Greekbougatsa - credits: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.com
Thessaloniki is the second biggest city in Greece. It is a cultural and culinary capital of Europe. If you happen to be in Thessaloniki, you have to taste the “bougatsa.” A custard pie with phyllo is an amazing breakfast and a locals’ favorite. In the Greek pastries of Thessaloniki, you can also taste a Greek rice pudding called “rizogalo.” These extraordinary sweets are the best way to start your day.
Tip: Bougatsa or rizogalo are two of the 15 different tastings of Greek food that you can enjoy during our Athens Food Tour.
Traditional Greek pastries
The traditional dessert of loukoumades - credits: foodlove/Shutterstock.com
Of course, you cannot visit a Greek city, village or island and leave without eating some of the most well-known Greek desserts. These Greek honey puffs (loukoumades) are small, deep fried balls of dough with honey on top. If done right, the honey puffs are crispy, golden, and sweeter than Greece’s sunset.
Greek baklava - credits: Alp Aksoy/Shutterstock.com
Greek halva is a semolina pudding with raisins which takes you to an absolute trip of flavors. Depending on the place, Greek halva can also be flour-based or sesame-based. Either way, it is a healthy treat that you are going to love. Traditional baklava is one of the sweetest remnants of the Ottoman Empire. A sweet pastry made of very thin layers of phyllo, filled with nuts and covered with syrup is, maybe, the most famous Greek dessert in the world, and for a good reason. You can almost taste heaven in one single bite of this pastry.
The history, tradition, and beauty of Greece cannot only be contained in museums. It can be found everywhere around the country and especially in food. Greek pastries and sweets smell and taste like Greece. Exploring the country, without tasting its reach culinary tradition is a job half-done. The sweetness gushes out of every local treat and traditional dessert. Greece’s flavors will present to you a whole new sweet world!