cuisine is the cuisine of Greece or perhaps of the Greeks. Given the
geography and history of Greece, this style of cookery is typical of Middle Eastern cuisine,
with strong influences from Italy and, to a lesser extent, from the Balkans. The
basic grain in Greece is wheat, though barley is also grown. Important vegetables
include tomato, eggplant, potato, green beans, okra, and onions. The terrain has
tended to favour the production of goats and sheep over cattle, and thus beef dishes tend to be a rarity by
comparison. Fish dishes
are also common, although today most of the fish is imported since the Mediterranean Sea is
quite overfished. Olive oil, produced from the
trees prominent throughout the region, adds to the distinctive taste of Greek
food. Some dishes use filo pastry. Too much refinement
is generally considered to be against the hearty spirit of the Greek cuisine.
Traditionally, Greek dishes are served warm rather than hot.
are served with loaf bread or pita bread -- a round flat wheat
bread made with yeast. In some regions, dried bread is softened in water.
- Tzatziki (yoghurt with cucumber and garlic puree, used as a dip)
(fish roe pureed with some boiled potatoes;
tarama = fish roe, salata = salad).
- Spanakopita (spinach pie
wrapped in filo pastry)
(cheese or feta pie wrapped in
- Saganaki (fried cheese)
(grapevine leaves stuffed
either with meat or rice and vegetables)
- Avgolemono soup (made with
so-called Greek Salad is known in
Greece as Village/Country
Salad (Horiatiki). In Greece, it consists of tomato, cucumber, onion, and sometimes green peppers garnished
with olives and
feta cheese, and dressed
with olive oil and oregano. Abroad,
it also sometimes includes lettuce (even iceberg lettuce!), which is completely
unknown to the Greek version, and foreign to its genius.
dishes served in Greek restaurants (especially outside Greece) are not Greek at
- Moussaka (eggplant casserole). There
are other variations besides eggplant, such as zucchini or rice, but the eggplant
version ("melitzanes moussaka") is most popular, so "moussaka" alone is assumed
to mean with eggplant.
lamb slow-baked on the bone, first marinaded in garlic and lemon
- Souvlaki (lamb and vegetables
(pork, yoghurt, tomato sandwich on pitta bread; this is a popular "fast food").
- Pastitsio (macaroni, meat,
and white sauce in the oven)
plate with pieces of different types of Baklava
(A popular sweet desert, layers of filo pastry with nuts, sugar, honey, cloves)
yoghurt with honey
(Custard like cream between layers of filo)
is the most common drink in Greece. Until the 1980's, most wine in Greece was
mediocre in quality at best, but more recently it has come up to international
is widely drunk.
(an 80-proof clear alcoholic beverage that is flavored
with anise; it turns milky white with
water or ice; the best said to be produced on the island of Lesbos). It is similar to the
or Tsipouro (Mostly
home-brewed, a clear drink similar to ouzo, often with higher alcohol content,
and usually not flavored with herbs.
(a brand of sweet brandy; 40% alcohol content)
(a white wine that has some pine tar added, originally as a preservative,
but nowadays for the flavor; this is an Athens region specialty. It should
not be aged.).
Sweet, liquor-style, red wine with higher alcohol percentage than normal.