The influence of Greeks on the European culture and art is impossible to dismiss. Equally rich is the cuisine of the country from the south of the Balkan Peninsula. It captivates with the simplicity of Greek salad, the unique sweetness of baklava and the variety which can be first and foremost experienced in Thessaloniki.
The basic ingredient of Greek cooking is olive oil. Since the ancient times, it has been an integral ingredient of many dishes, while the winners of the Olympic Games were rewarded with an olive branch and a cup filled with this golden liquid. Today, every Greek house has at least one olive oil gallon, which tastes best when it is freshly pressed – it is distinguished by a quite strong green colour and dry taste. Olive oil in the south of the Balkan Peninsula is added almost to everything – meat, fish and seafood, vegetables, paste, cheese and even poured on bread. ATHENS #flyKRK THESSALONIKI#flyKRK CHANIA#flyKRK
GREEK SALAD AND MORE
Although almost everyone has heard about this dish, its true taste that captivates with simplicity and freshness can only be truly discovered in Greece. Choriatiki salata, i.e. a village salad, must include thickly cut tomatoes and cucumbers, red onion and slices of green peppers, as well as olives and feta cheese definitely thickly sliced. The whole is complemented by irreplaceable olive oil and oregano – the health-promoting properties of this herb were used by Hippocrates himself. Characteristic dish of Greek cuisine, especially the Attica region with the capital in Athens, are dolmades – cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and other additives, such as lamb or being wrapped in grape leaves. Another popular meal is tiropita, a filo dough filled with feta cheese, served hot or cold. In a traditional Greek house, you will find the famous moussaka, i.e. a casserole with béchamel sauce, eggplants, potatoes and minced meat.
THESSALONIKI – THE PLACE WHERE FLAVOURS MEET
The city on the Gulf of Salonika is considered the culinary capital of Greece. The richness of this cuisine results from the multitude of interpenetrating flavours – Greek, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Jewish and Turkish. Central Macedonia region is famous primarily for fish and seafood, especially sardines, squid, mussels, shrimps and octopuses. In turn, in the vicinity of the Kapani market there are numerous ouzeri – taverns serving ouzo, or vodka with an intense anise flavour, which after mixing with water changes colour to milky. It is said that you can either love or hate this drink. This strong alcohol goes well with chtapodi psito – a grilled octopus.
CINNAMON, ANCHOVIES AND A PARADISE FOR VEGETARIANS
This spice reigns in the Ionian Islands region. It gives a characteristic flavour to stifado goulash and Kefalonian meat tart. The archipelago in the Ionian Sea is the perfect place to try gavros tiganites, i.e. fried anchovies sprinkled with lemon or lime juice – the dish is simple, and in combination with dry white wine creates an extraordinary duet. The Greek culinary art, especially Cretan, will also delight vegetarians. Sheep cheese (anthotyro, myzithra and graviera), okra with tomato sauce, filling bean paste (fava), olives, stuffed zucchini flowers, fried dumplings (kalitsounia) – these are meatless dishes and snacks which create a diverse picture of the cuisine of the largest Greek island.
THE SWEETNESS OF HELLAS
Greeks love sweet flavour. They put honey and sweetmeats on thick, well chilled natural yoghurt. They also add this golden liquid into baklava – the most famous Greek filo pastry. A few bites of this dessert, as well as the taste of ravani cacke with semolina (i.e. durum wheat flour or groats) soaked in syrup will satisfy even the greatest lovers of sweets. Apart from the sweetness of sugar and honey, you can also taste strong spices, mainly anise, cloves and cinnamon, and citrus. You can find these aromas, among others, in two cakes: nutty (karydopita) and orange (portokalopita). Fortunately, this characteristic sweetness is balanced by Turkish coffee, which in Greece is called… Greek!