As a positive effect on people’s health, the Mediterranean diet is renowned for extending longevity, beauty such as clearer skin and its lack of cholesterol naturally means the diet is easier on the heart. Those familiar with Greece know that Greek cuisine goes far beyond Greek salad with feta cheese, moussaka, meatballs and pork or chicken souvlaki.

The key is in its simplicity and the fact that fresh, quality ingredients are used in its cooking; olive oil—where olive groves are in abundance around the country and oil produced each season, fresh herbs—often grown locally, fresh fruits and vegetables can be purchased directly from the weekly farmers’ markets and cultivated in ways that ensure their natural flavours and aromas are maintained, through to the catch of the day; served up in beachside tavernas and often not found on the menu.

But it’s not just about the actual food and wine that’s consumed in Greece. Greeks look upon mealtimes as a lifestyle habit, not just an opportunity to grab something quick in order to fill their stomachs. This healthy attitude to mealtimes also contributes to the fact that the gastronomy of the country goes a long way to nurturing the health benefits listed earlier.

When eating out, Greeks tend to share their food as a mezzé—a selection of smaller dishes that everyone can enjoy together. Remember, mealtimes are a time for people to come together and rejoice, and what better way than to share with others?

Souvlaki Souvlaki

A sample of top Greek dishes

It’s hard not to find Dolmadakia on any taverna menu; rice with herbs such as dill, fennel, spearmint and spring onion, chopped and wrapped in vine leaves. Sometimes a thick egg and lemon sauce will be drizzled over them, making them a great dish either on their own, or as an accompaniment with other mezzé dishes.

Another favourite across the country is the assortment of Greek pies, reminiscent of traditional Greek villages, originally made in hot stone ovens and often made from recipes not written down, but handed down through the generations. They include spanakopita made with fresh spinach and feta cheese, onions, scallions and bound together with egg, enveloped in crisp filo pastry. Tiropita is a simple, yet delicious feta cheese pie, again encompassed in filo pastry. Both pies make a great accompaniment to any mezzé and washed down with a good red wine or ouzo, it goes down very nicely.

Dessert pies such as galaktoboureko; semolina custard in – you’ve guessed it – filo pastry and drizzled with honey on top are a firm favourite and visit any bakery or coffee shop for a slice with your frappè – cold Nescafè coffee frothed into what can only be described as a delicious coffee milkshake – you’ll find yourself embracing the Greek everyday pastime of a leisurely snack.

Al Fresco dining Al Fresco dining

Greek wines

Since ancient times, Greeks have loved their wines and even better, Greece is a country that drinks it responsibly and appreciates their wines with their food. Both ‘labourer and Lord’ respect this drink, they even had a Greek god attributed to wine; Dionysos.

Vineyards adorn the Greek countryside, both in the mainland and islands – with September being the best time to visit as this is when the grapes are harvested. Crete offers wines such as Vithiano, Vilana and Moschato Spinas whereas in Santorini you can appreciate wine harvested from grapes grown amongst volcanic soil. The Peloponnese region of Greece offers fruity wines from Nemea, and don’t forget the traditional Greek wine Retsina, traditionally hailing from the outskirts of Athens and the largest island in Greece – Evia.

Whatever your preferred palate, there really is something for everyone.

Greek vineyard Greek vineyard

Greek gastronomy interweaved with culture

As mentioned previously, mealtimes in Greece mean more than just filling your stomach on the run. The Greeks can teach us a thing or two about slowing down and learning to appreciate good food and company. It’s recognised that food and culture go hand in hand, whether that’s taking your time over a coffee and sweet pastry with friends or eating with your family, the Greeks don’t like to rush such, actions, meaning mealtimes are an event and life becomes unhurried.

Experience this for yourself on your next Greek holiday. Whether to an island or the mainland, be sure to sample the local cuisine and enjoy the fresh ingredients on offer, revel in the notion that you could be surprised by the catch of the day and embrace the culture of sitting with family and friends and sharing mezzé. You are sure to come away with fond memories, lasting friendships and a want to try to re-create the Greek dishes at home.

Taverna, Crete Taverna, Crete
The Sunvil Family

By The Sunvil Family

4th May 2018



The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

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