An alternative Greek FOOD guide

So, here you are. You are all enthusiastic about coming to Greece, maybe you have travelled from far away. You are eager to see the picturesque and sunny beaches, dive into the cold refreshing waters and taste the most mouthwatering delicacies.

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Now pay attention.Greece is a taste paradise, but there are a few things you should be prepared about, in order to enjoy this paradise the most.

Follow these “rules” to have a tasty Greek holiday:

  • Make a small research before you visit each place. Search for local dishes, that cannot be found elsewhere, or dishes cooked a certain special way. “Whatever, I’m hungry” is not an option here!
  • Do not choose a touristic tavern to enjoy your meal, just because it is near to the sight you are visiting. Check by asking locals, where is the most authentic local food.
  • Do not choose taverns and restaurants, by looking to the number of the different dishes appearing on the menu. It’s easier to be homemade when there are 10 dishes on the menu, rather than 80.
  • Try to taste a variety of dishes, not the same every day “souvlaki” or “moussaka”. It’s boring and unhealthy. The Greek cuisine offers a huge variety of dishes, making it even difficult to pick from.
  • When picking a certain dish to enjoy, ask about its ingredients (frozen-fresh, type of oil used, freshly cooked etc.). The answer you will receive can show you a few things about what you are about to consume.
  • Try to avoid always ordering a main course. There are a lot of delicious authentic taste treasures hidden in “Appetizers”. Generally cheaper choices, can order more than 1, and try even more new tastes. Feel free to experiment, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Also try to avoid many fried foods in every meal. Greek cuisine offers a great variety of oily dishes, salads, roasted fish, pies, stews and oven baked dishes, that will help you keep a healthy and tasty diet during your holiday.

These “rules” certainly do not apply only on your Greek vacation. It is a list of basic instructions, so you can handle more what you are consuming. Being thoughtful and cautious doesn’t reduce any of the fun, it just helps you enjoy delicious healthy meals.

Have lots of summer fun!

Dip yourself in Greece

By all means, when you visit Greece, you must taste one of these. They are starring in menus in all Greek taverns and restaurants. They are camouflaged under a variety of names. They are called “Appetizers”, “Salads”, “Dips” and perhaps even more. Meet the 4 most known Greek dips!

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“Tzatziki”
Maybe the most famous Greek dip of all times. It is made with another five star Greek product, our yogurt. The best tzatziki is made with full fat strained Greek yogurt. It has garlic, so it’s a little spicy, but it also has cucumber and it’s refreshing at the same time. We consume tons of it every year, and so will you. It can be combined with all kinds of meat but also with French fries. Sometimes the most simple flavor combinations are the best of all.

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“Melitzanosalata” (Aubergine dip)
Velvet flavor of grill baked aubergines with onions, garlic extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. It is a special dip, when it’s handmade it is really delicious, when it’s not it’s just ok, so ask before you order. The grilled aubergines give the dip a smoked flavor and you can’t really stay with one bite. It is also combined with meat dishes, but you can easily vanish it with just some fresh bread. Whether you are an aubergine “friend” or not, you will absolutely love “melitzanosalata”.

taramosalata
“Taramosalata” (Fish roe salad)
Its basic ingredient is taramas, which is carp’s or other fish’ eggs. The preserved fish roe is mixed with olive oil, dry bread, onion and lemon juice until the result is creamy. The taste of this dip is irresistible. You have to try it at least once! It’s not typical in its ingredients, but the taste result will compensate you. Here in Greece, we consume it mostly in the feast of the orthodox Pascha.

Tirokafteri (Hot cheese dip)
“Tirokafteri” (Hot cheese dip)
Another famous dip of Greece, which you can’t surpass. It is made with hot pepper, grill or oven baked, and the other 5 star Greek product; Feta cheese. It has a rich taste and a saltiness that only makes you want more. It can also be found as a souvlaki ingredient, wrapped in bread pie. It is perfectly combined with potato chips and bread, but also oily and meat dishes. It has a mild hotness in taste, due to the pepper, but not something extraordinary.
As you have already read, it would be a mistake not to taste at least two of these dips. They smell Greece, they have no other choice but to be handmade, and they combine typical flavors of Greece, that you have to take with you as memories.

A typical Greek dinner starts with the appetizers, so will you!
Enjoy Greek Gastronomy 

Greek Olive : the mediterranean superfood

Olives are one of the most popular traditional products of our country. This seems rather fair, since they provide us with the precious Greek olive oil (See previous post: https://greekbrands.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/extra-virgin-olive-oil-but-why-greek/ ).KOLAZ ELIES

Whether green or black, olives are one of the major appetizers of the Greek table. The olives in Greek gastronomy accompany almost everything! Meat dishes with vegetables, fresh beans, artichokes, bulbs are an ideal olives combination. In a modern edition olives also accompany sandwiches, pasta recipes and other snacks like pizza etc. Nevertheless, Greeks also consume them raw, as a side dish or appetizer. Despite this, a few recipes with olives as main ingredient are very interesting. They are considered an ideal “partner” to balance the taste intensity of fatty meats (e.g. pork, wild boar, duck). Nutritional value

Olives are a natural source of fiber, minerals and monounsaturated fatty acids. The two most known Olive varieties of Greece are Kalamata Olives & Green Chalkidiki Olives.

Kalamata olives (Olea europaea var. Ceraticarpa):

It is one of the best table olives variety. It gives black olives, with firm flesh, bright color, features that increase the consumption of the fruit.

It is also one of the most famous Greek varieties. They are growing in Peloponnese, mainly in Messinia, Lakonia and Achaia. Trees are fairly high and produce large fruits. The tree’s main characteristics are firstly that the leaves are larger than all varieties of Greek olives and secondly that the kernel “separates” from the flesh very easily. It is one of the best varieties of table olives showing growing demand in foreign markets.

http://kalamataolivesgreek.com/kalamataolives.html

Chalkidiki green olives come exclusively from the varieties “Chondrolia Chalkidiki” and “Chalkidiki”.

Green Halkidiki olives are characterized by a robust and glossy skin with a light green color with rich, firm and juicy flesh, a delicate fruity aroma and slightly bitter and spicy taste. Characterized by large fruit size with a high proportion of flesh to stone, they are produced in a variety of ways, pitted, stuffed with almond, pepper or garlic and sliced.

The long period of relatively low temperatures during the harvest period, combined with cultivation techniques contribute to the large shape of the olives.

http://kalamataolivesgreek.com/greenolives.html

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. But why Greek?

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Greece is a land that is blessed with an amazingly fertile soil and ideal climate conditions. Many of the Greek food products are considered to be unique in terms of taste and nutritional characteristics. Greek Olive Oil is one of these products. All of us have at some point read about Olive Oils and how many benefits arise by their consumption.

Then what is it that makes Greek Olive Oil so special?

Greece’s long lasting tradition in olive tree cultivation and olive oil production has a history of more than 5 millennia.
In Greece there are perfect soil and weather conditions in order for the olive trees to grow and fructify at their maximum. That also appears in the numbers of the yearly olive oil production. Greece produces more than 430,000 tons of olive oil annually, a percent that places Greece in the 3rd position in the world classification of olive oil producer-countries.

While speaking of percentages, notice that more than 75%-80% of that is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is the best type of olive oil, due to its lowest acidity levels (< 0,8).

In fact about one third of the total olive oil production (Extra Virgin and Virgin) is exported. The remaining quantity gives Greece the first position in per capita consumption at world level, at approximately 26 liters per year.
Another unique characteristic of Greek Olive Oil, is that it comes from hand-picked olives. There is a majority of small producers that do not use machinery and special equipment to harvest their trees. So it is much more special to taste a juice of a fruit that it is carefully hand-picked from the tree.

The taste, aroma and color are also indications of the unique quality of the Greek extra virgin olive oil. It is an extra virgin olive oil with an extremely fine taste and comes from cold first pressings that meet the ultimate standards.

Greek extra virgin olive oil is the best nutritional gift we can offer to ourselves.