Greece is high on many peoples bucket list for so many reasons, the sunshine, the white sandy beaches, the white washed villages but the food is also a huge draw. We loved our recent family holiday to Halkidiki and came back heavier but a lot happier! I’m no food blogger but the amazing meals we enjoyed as a family are well worth a dedicated post! This is our run down of the Top 10 Traditional Greek Foods and drink you must try when visiting this Mediterranean paradise.
Coming in first on our top ten traditional foods to try in Greece is Souvlaki, basically meat on a skewer traditionally made with chicken or pork. Well cooked and tasty but not spicy, making it perfect for little ones.
Make sure you try the fries, flavoured with dried herbs, salt and vinegar, perhaps the tastiest I’ve tried anywhere on my travels!
2. Doner kebab or Gyros
A gyro is basically meat roasted vertically on a spit. This is served in a pitta, with tzatziki, onions, tomatoes and salad leaves. Perfect for kids and will make the Friday take away when you get home even less appealing.
My idea of a stodgy dinner heaven, layers of fried aubergine, minced meat and potatoes all topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and cheese, then baked until crispy round the edges. Basically a greek version of lasagna only without the pasta and one I plan to replicate at home. You could try this Moussaka recipe to recreate the dish when you return home and keep the holiday memories alive.
4. Baked sweet treats – Baklava
Nuts, sweet syrup and layers of crispy filo pastry baked to perfection so it manages to be gooey and crispy at once. These are very sweet – one small piece should satisfy your sweet fix.
5. Greek honey
These colourful hives can be seen all over Greece in fact Greece has more hives per acre than most other European countries. Aristotle and Hippocrates both wrote about the benefits of honey meaning it’s been harvested in the country for thousands of years. Greece offers many variations of honey, from Pine honeydew (the most popular) to Thyme honey, all delicious and if you have space in your case it’s well worth taking a jar or two home for gifts.
6. Spinach pie or Spanakopita
Flaky pastry pie filled with gooey Feta and spinach, salty, comforting and what I ate most days for breakfast. Being a bit of a cheese addict, this was definitely one of my favourite foods to try in Greece.
7. Fresh fish (cooked whole)
As fresh as fresh can be, straight from the sea and onto your plate. The variety available is mind boggling, feel free to go off menu here, ask your waiter what the freshest catch is and go with that! Fair warning, your fish will normally be served whole, head, tail and all, exactly how we like it but you could always ask for it to be filleted.
8. Greek salad
A mix of cucumber, olives, red onions and tomatoes, served with a huge chunk of Feta cheese, delicious and refreshing just as it is but sometimes served with olive oil, vinegar, oregano and lemon juice. This make a fabulous light lunch and I think I enjoyed feta cheese with pretty much everything on our recent vist!
9. Sea Food Risotto
Continuing the Greek love affair with seafood, we saw this fishy risotto on most menus. It’s always jam packed with seafood like squid, shellfish and octopus – unlike many in the UK.
10. Greek coffee or Ellinikos
Served in a traditionally styled, long handled copper coffee pot. Even the sweet version is pretty bitter – maybe just try it once!
And one extra for good luck!
Ouzo is usually served as an aperitif in Greek Tavernas. This aniseed flavoured liquor is both a delight to drink and painful the next day. Go slow, it’s strong, one shot will be enough to give you the idea!
Have you been to Greece? What is your favourite Top 10 Traditional Greek Foods, have I missed it off our list?