Greece foods

With a culinary tradition that spans several millennia, Greece has forever changed cooking as we know it. Uniquely situated, it has long been a melting spot of Western and Eastern influences, and food is no exception.

Greek cuisine places a lot of importance on olives – both in their raw form, but especially in olive oil – meats, cheese, yogurt, and various spices. It is the birthplace of several dishes that are now commonly served worldwide.

Here are some of these unforgettable culinary treats.

  1. Gyros

At first glance, the gyros are very similar to kebabs and shawarma – all three involve meat that is shaved from a vertical rotisserie, wrapped in pita bread, and topped with desired vegetables, sauces, and spices. All three are considered fast/street food.

But the similarities end there – all of them use different meats, toppings, and sauces. The Greek gyros (named after the Greek word “turn”) is made from a combination of lamb and beef, which have been seasoned with various Mediterranean herbs and spices, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram, and is almost always (unless otherwise specified) topped off with Tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is a cold, refreshing sauce made from yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, pepper, and salt.

  1. Moussaka

Popular not just in Greece, but all over the Balkan Peninsula as well, there are many popular varieties of moussaka. The most popular one is the traditional Greek version – sorted layers of sautéed eggplant, minced lamb meat, puréed tomato, onion, garlic, potatoes, spices, topped off with cheese and oven-baked.

As one of the most iconic national dishes of Greece, most restaurants (and homes) regularly make and serve it.

  1. Feta Cheese

The most famous Greek cheese, feta is made from sheep’s milk and is commonly used in salads of all kinds – especially Greek salad, which is served as a side dish all across the Balkans.

But feta is so ubiquitous in Greek cooking that it is an integral part of many dishes – spanakopita (spinach pie), in egg dishes such as omelettes, sandwiches, and grilled dishes.

Historical sources indicate that proto-feta was made by the Ancient Greeks as far back as the 8th century BC, as described in Homer’s Odyssey.

  1. Dolmadakia

Very similar to the sarma dish that is served in countries that used to make up Yugoslavia, the dolmadakia is made from grape leaves (sarma is made with cabbage leaves) that are stuffed with a combination of minced lamb and rice, which is then cooked for several hours. The dolmadakia is also usually smaller in size than sarma and is often served as an appetizer, instead of the main course.

  1. Ellinikos

Also known as Greek coffee, Elliniko is traditionally served from copper coffee pots that are called briki. Three standard levels of sweetness exist for this type of coffee: Vari Glyko – which is very strong and very sweet, Metrios – a sort of medium sweetness, and Sketos – without any sugar.

This coffee plays a vital role in Greek culture, so expect to be offered ellinikos often, especially when you come into someone’s home for the first time.

Related: Have You Ever Thought About What it is Like to be Like the Brits? – Well, Try the 5 Iconic British Foods