Healthy Greek Diet
Greece is a southern country, this means that fruit, herbs and vegetables, full of vitamins and minerals are on every Greek table all year round.
The Greek cuisine is one of the authentic elements of the Greek culture. The history of Greek cuisine counts more than 4000 years. Epitomizing the healthy Mediterranean diet with fresh vegetables, cheeses, flavourings, olives and lots of olive oil, the Greek cuisine comprises real gastronomical delights: Greek salad, fasolada (bean soup), moussaka, stifado, dolmades and fresh seafood dishes with shrimps, squids, octopuses, crabs, mussels, oysters, lobsters, etc. Baked fish is traditionally served with an excellent sauce made with olive oil and lemon juice. In Greek taverns and ouzeries taste famous mezedes with various dips and sauces, served with ouzo.
The first cookbook in the world was written by a Sicilian Greek named Archestratus in 350 BC. It was called Hedypatheia (Pleasant Living). Eating culture for Greeks is more than just eating to satisfy the needs of the body, it’s a real enjoyment and an opportunity to communicate with their near and dear.
Cafes & Taverns
Wherever you go, in every street if you look around you will definitely see some tavern, café, coffee house or a bar.
Every guest gets an impression that tables are placed all over the Greece and hospitable owners of taverns and restaurants welcome their guests, eager to demonstrate their matchless skills.
The favorite pastime of the Greeks is eating in taverns on evenings and especially on weekends in the circle of friends and relatives. As a rule the atmosphere in taverns is positive and easy. Three most consumed beverages are beer, ouzo (Greek anise vodka) and of course retsina (young wine, flavored with pine resin) that many Greeks dilute with coca-cola.
Wholesome Greek Fare
According to Greek customs, the guest of a tavern or a restaurant has an opportunity and is welcome to enter the kitchen and choose fish or some other ingredient, which will be cooked for him according to his recommendations. Especially delicious fish and seafood are cooked in psarotavernas (fish restaurants), the majority of which lie by the sea. As for meat and vegetables, Greeks stew them adding different spices: onions, garlic, parsley, mint, pepper, vinegar and others.
One of the favorite meat dishes of the Greeks is souvlaki (lamb or pork kebab). Other meat delicacies are cooked over the spit or on charcoals.
The first course dishes in Greece (soups and broths) are not very popular. Apparently, the hot climate of the country has to do with it. However, you can find soups and broths on menus in Greek restaurants. The most popular soups are the traditional fasolada (bean soup) and fakes (lentil soup). Besides, the Greeks enjoy eating kotosoupa me avgolemono (rice soup, cooked in chicken broth with the beaten egg and lemon juice) and vrasto (beef soups).
Tee is a rare drink for the Greeks, they drink it only when they have a cold.
As for the hot drinks, Greeks prefer strong aromatic coffee “ellinikos”, cooked according to the traditional oriental recipe without any additions. It’s drunk slowly, taking small sips, prolonging the pleasure and drinking water after every sip. In every café you can order vari gliko (extra - strong sweet coffee), metrio (coffee with medium sweetness) and sketo (coffee without sugar).
Speaking about Greek cuisine, it’s significant to mention Greek pastries, which aromas fill the streets of Greek towns and cities.