Although a popular destination for tourists in the summer especially, Greece’s cuisine is not all seafood, salads and kebabs. Some of the most delicious traditional Greek foods are feel good meals; beautifully marinated with traditional herbs that can be eaten all year round. Here’s my tried and tested list of top five Greek dishes that you just have to try!
1. Lamb Kleftiko – Lamb kleftiko is a hearty traditional Greek dish which consists of slow cooked meat on the bone, potatoes, vegetables and sometimes feta cheese marinated in garlic, lemon juice and Greek herbs sealed in parchment paper or tin foil and baked in the oven. Literally deriving from the word ‘Klepht’ which means ‘thief’ it is said that the Klephts of the countryside stole flocks of sheep or goats and cooked the meat in a deep pit oven in the ground so that the smoke could not be seen and they would not get caught.
2. Stifado – Traditionally made with rabbit due to the wide availability and cheaper price, Stifado is a stew-like dish that is now popularly eaten with beef, served with shallot onions and tomatoes, and cooked in red wine, vinegar and cinnamon. The perfect winter warmer comfort food for when the hot Mediterranean temperatures start to cool down.
3. Moussaka – Perhaps one of the most well-known and iconic of the Greek foods is of course moussaka! A Greek take on the Italian lasagne dish which is made by layering minced meat, pasta sheets and aubergine with a thick béchamel sauce and baked in the oven. Incredibly filling but very tasty.
4. Souvlaki/Gyros – The list would not be complete without some kind of kebab to end those long summer days lounging on the beach. Souvlaki and gyros are both popularly served as a chicken, lamb or pork kebab with pitta, salad and the traditional light and refreshing Greek dip, tzatziki; made from yoghurt, lemon, cucumber and garlic.
- Baklava – And finally for those who have a (very) sweet tooth, dessert has been covered with the heavenly baklava. A layered filo pastry pie full of nuts and completely saturated in honey… food of the Gods!
I hope this has whet your appetite for your future Mediterranean travels, and inspired you to try the local cuisine next time you find yourself in Greece… Καλή όρεξη! (Enjoy your meal!)