GASTRONOMY_4Famous all over the world,feta cheese is certified as anexclusively Greek productworldwide and it is the mainingredient of most Greek pies.Soft or hard, salty or piquant, feta has a distinct place not onlyon the everyday Greek table but also in the menus of the bestgourmet restaurants in the world. Cheesemaking, though,does not end with feta production. Other tantalizing varietiesare the fresh anthotyro, galotyri, piquant Cretan, Tinos or Naxosgruyere, kasseri from Lesvos or Xanthi, “kalathaki” from Lim-nos, katiki from Domokos, kefalotyri or kefalograviera, thefamous kopanisti of Cyclades, manouri, and metsovone andancient myzithra. Greek stock farmers and cheese makerscollect ewe’s, goat’s and cow’s milk and convert it into excel-lent cheese applying their own traditional techniques. Greekcheese, unique in its kind, can be a course on its own, be a keyingredient or provide a tasty touch in a delicious dish.Raw, fried, roasted, melted or “mastichoto” (fairly melted) Greekcheese is a succulent authentic experience. Pies are as old asGreece itself and are a distinct part of Greek gastronomy andtradition. In the past, the housewives resorted to pies in theireffort to make family tables richer adding a tasty and nutritiousdish during the difficult years of war. The technique of rollingout the pastry using two basic ingredients, flour and water, is agenuine art in which expert cooks and chefs take great pride!Nowadays, one can find pies almost everywhere in a broadassortment. The pastry can be thin or thick, “kourou” or puffpastry, made of cornmeal or wholemeal flour. Pies are stuffedwith anything you can imagine, from spinach to goat cheese,highly valued truffle oil, zestful aubergines, divine vegetables,perfect chicken, sweet rice pudding, spicy mincemeat, earthygreens, sugary creamy fillings, pungent mushrooms and somany more. Imagination is the only limit.Feta cheeseGraviera cheese with honeyTyropita (cheese pie)Skaltsouni (pie with herbs and cheese)
GASTRONOMY_8Like a “gold brick” protected inwax, the Greek fish roe, hasa strong taste, characteristicaroma and small golden-yellowspecks that numb the tongue. Itis considered one of the mostvaluable gastronomic treasuresof the country and the world.It is produced in Messolonghifrom the eggs of the stripedgrey mullet via refined pro-cesses, some traditional, othersmore visionary and pioneering.One of the best ways to enjoyit, is with a drink of tsipouro orgrated over spaghetti.Fish roe OuzoIt is said that ouzo was first produced in antiquityand was famous and much appreciated in theByzantine times. After the liberation of Greecein early 19th century it was almost exclusivelyproduced in Lesvos. It is certainly the nationaldrink of Greece and can be drunk either with orwithout anise flavour and definitely on the rocks!Tsipouro is the original Greek drink not producedin any other part of the world. It is really a distil-lation of experience and knowledge mainly pro-duced by the remains of must, after the grapes(or other fruits such as berries) are pressed.The best tsipouro is produced in Thessaly, Epirusand Macedonia while the Cretan version tsikou-dia is a much stronger drink that should definite-ly be tried at least once!MessolonghiAuthentic
GASTRONOMY_10Wine, the nectarof the ancientgods has aprominent placeon the Greek tablesupplementingand promoting therichness of theGreek cuisine sinceantiquity.Having evolved and adopted new andbetter vinification techniques, Greekwines are deservedly considered now-adays among the best in the world, bothfor their unsurpassed taste and wideselection.Loyal to the vinic heritage of the coun-try, Greek producers tenderly embracethe indigenous varieties and do nothesitate to fuse them with internationalones, creating a whole new and exhila-rating experience.Greek wine, metallic, fresh or acidichas a strong personality that does notgo unnoticed. Greek retsina, the freshwhite wine not subjected to the ageingprocess, is characterized by its uniquearoma and taste. Famous varieties in-clude white ones such as Assyrtiko,Moschofilero, Athiri, Zitsa of Epirus,Roditis, White Moschato, Robola, Sa-vatiano, or red such as Agiorgitiko,Xinomavro of Thessaly and Macedonia.Acclaimed sweet wines such as Mav-rodaphne from the Peloponnese andKefalonia or from Samos complementthe end of any meal with style.
GASTRONOMY_12Shrimps with beet sauceSea breamOctopusMeat balls Souvlaki (meat on chopstick)And it could not be any different in a country surrounded bysea and islands. The famous fish soup “kakavia” is made inthirty different ways since every region makes its own originalrecipe.Raw, grilled, fried or cooked, Greek fish and sea food (oysters,mussels, urchins, octopus, squids, shrimps, crayfish and nu-merous others) are exquisite. Greek chefs duly honour them intheir creations combining them with white wine, lemon, garlicand parsley, crocus, or cooking them with ouzo or tsipouro or“built” in the salt.The capstone of Greek cuisine, souvlaki, has won over every-one that has tasted it. With Gyros or small pieces of meat, withor without tzatziki, in pita or placed on a skewer, it holds thefirst place on the Greek menu.“Kokoretsi” “forbidden” yet unique, is made of lamb offal and itis cooked for many hours on the spit until it is ready for con-sumption. ‘Kontosouvli” as well as “exochiko” also have to beroasted for many hours, but it is worth the wait. The same goesfor a succulent kid in the pot (gastra), a suckling pig on thespit, a veal steak or rabbit stew in red sauce. Greek meats are“well-bred” of exceptional quality and offer refined and healthychoices.Just-off-the-sea and the taste of saltyAegean still lingering, Greek fish andseafood constitute a basic part of theGreek diet.
GASTRONOMY_14Chios mastic, which recently made an impression on the for-eign markets, has been successfully used since antiquity forpharmaceutical purposes for its healing properties, for thepreparation of cosmetics and perfumes as well as in cookingand confectionary. It is a natural resin coming from the trunk ofthe mastic tree and owes its production to the volcanoes in thenearby sea area; hence, it’s “explosive” aroma.Crocus is truly one-of-a-kind like the Macedonian sun that“nourishes” it! So unique that it deservedly holds the first posi-tion in the saffron spice world list. The dried stigmas of theflower constitute the valuable crocus or saffron and some fila-ments of this unique ingredient solely cultivated in Kozani areenough to transform simple rice into a tasty feast or chickeninto a heavenly dish. Its authentic taste, amazing aroma andincomparable colour – so much like the colour of the Greeksunset - makes any dish an exotic adventure.Crocus is known to fight blood-clotting, it is invigorating andantioxidant. It also improves cerebral function and, especially,memory, while in the past it was used to combat pain, feverand insomnia. Before using it, put it into a bowl with some wa-ter and leave it for up to two hours so that it can let its colourout. You can use the crocus even as you serve, especially withsoup. If you are going to use it in dough, you should soak it first.A small taste is enough to heighten your senses and take you on aculinary journey. Mastic is tough but also unique and a valuabletreasure found only on the beautiful island of the Aegean: Chios.Masticha VanillaCrocus
GASTRONOMY_16Jam of bitter orangeYogurt with honey and nutsMost regions in Greece argue about who came up first with themagical idea for spoon sweets.Shaddock and rose sugar in Peloponnese, pistachioin Aegina, citrus fruits and bitter orange in Epirus,quince in Macedonia, cherry and morello in Thessa-ly, small walnut and codling in Pilion, small tomatoand small aubergine on the islands all compete intaste and aroma. Made only with fruit, sugar andsome drops of vanilla, spoon sweets are mouthwa-tering traditions.Honey was supposedly one of the basic foodsof the Olympian gods and according to the mythZeus was honey-fed by the nymph Melissa. (orHoney Bee). Whichever region it is collectedfrom, it reminds you of Greece. Thyme honeybrings to mind the highest mountain peaks ofthe countryside; flower honey the smells of thespring in central and western Greece; orangehoney the endless orange groves of Pelopon-nese; pine honey the forested slopes of Arcadia.Especially nourishing, invigorating, antiseptic andnecessary for good health, honey really does won-ders. It is said that it helps those suffering from anae-mia, or from a heart condition and it is rejuvenating.It contains more than 180 different original elementsand Greek tradition says that it sweetens people’slives and brings good luck to the newlyweds. It cantransform a biscuit into a delicious small honey cake(melomakarono) and a crunchy dipla (fold) into anamazingtraditionalChristmasdelicacy.Inmanypartsof Greece, it is the basic ingredient for the preparationof marzipans, such as “Rozedes” in Kythera. In recentyears it is used in many Greek recipes that containmeat or sea food creating new “exploding” tastes.
GASTRONOMY_18DakoS(Cretan appetizer)1 large barley or whole- meal rusk (paximadi)2 tbsp virgin olive oil1 large tomato or twosmall ones cut into dices1 tbsp feta cheese1 teaspoon oregano orthymeGreen or black olivesin thin slices or caper(optional)Eggs with crocus2 eggs10 filaments of crocus2 tbsp vinegar1 small finely - cut onion5 mint leaves3 tbsp of oil100 gr. anthotyroSalt, pepperBreak the eggs and poach them in a pan with plenty of wa-ter. Take them out with a skimmer, empty the pan and put oil.Brown the onion and then add the vinegar, mint and crocus.Stir well until the mixture becomes a sauce. Finally, add thecheese. Season the eggs and pour the sauce over them.Cuttlefish in wine1½ kg cuttlefish without backbone2 cups green onions, finely chopped1 cup tomato juice (or 2 beetroots, grated)½ cup olive oil1 cup dry white wine½ cup finely chopped dill weed2 small hot peppers, choppedSalt and pepperLahanosalata(Cabbage salad)3 cups cabbage, finely chopped½ cup finely chopped green (bell) pepper½ cup finely chopped sweet red pepper(Florina pepper)½ cup finely chopped celery1 cup grated carrot¼ cup olive oil2 tbsp vinegarSaltA pinch of sugarWater the rusk on both sides.Put a tablespoon of oil on the rusk.Add the tomato and the second tablespoon of olive oil,the grated cheese, the flavourings and season withsalt and pepperThe ideal “marriage”. A bottle of olive oil of top quality,a strand of rosemary or thyme or oregano, 2 cloves ofgarlic, slightly beaten, Grains of red and green pepper,a small red hot pepper (optional)Put the olive oil and all the ingredients, which shouldnot have lost their aroma, in a glass bottle. It will beready to transform a simple meal into a tasty delightin one week.Tips: Keep the top quality virgin olive oil for salads,boiled vegetables or in order to sprinkle it over meatsand grilled fish. The olive oil for frying is recommend-ed. It can endure higher temperatures than seed oiland it is healthier. Be careful, though, to strain it sothat the next time you use it, there will not be any foodremains. Moreover, olive oil must be heated graduallyand not suddenly. If you want to add extra olive oil, waituntil the first round of fried food is ready. For sweets,better use olive oil without a strong aroma.Rub the skin off the cuttlefish, rinse, and cut into small pieces. Sauté the onions and peppers in olive oil. Douse with the wine. Stir inthe tomato juice (or beetroots), salt and pepper. Simmer until the cuttlefish is tender and the sauce has cooked down (about 1 houror more). Taste and correct seasonings. Stir in the chopped dill and serve at once. Serves 6.Mix the first 5 ingredients together. Beat the olive oil with the vinegar,sugar and salt, and pour over the salad. This is a salad made mostlyin the region of Thrace. Serves 4.
GASTRONOMY_20Saganaki(Fried cheese)200 gr gruyere or kefalogravieraor kefalotyri cheese, in slices1 cm thick.1o tbsp flourOil, 1 lemonHeat the oil in the pan well. Pour cold water over thecheese slices and then flour them. Fry them for afew minutes on each side. Squeeze lemon overthem while still warm.Domatokeftedes(Tomato fritters)500 gr small firm ripetomatoes2 medium onions, finelychoppedSalt and pepper6 tbsp finely chopped, freshbasil2 tbsp finely chopped,parsley2 tbsp oil150 gr flourOlive oil for fryingWash the tomatoes and grate them. Com-bine them with the parsley, basil, olive oil,and flour. Add salt and pepper. The mixtureshould be thick. If necessary, add more flour.Fry spoonfuls of the mixture in hot olive oil.Mostly know in Cyclades. Serves 4.2,5 kg lamb (leg or shoulder), cut inserving portionsOlive oil or butter150 gr dried apricots (16 pieces)Juice of 2 oranges1 tbsp mustard seeds1 tbsp honeySaltPepperFish with leekand fennel600 gr grouper or sea bass fillet400 gr leeks cut thin400 gr fennel bulb, finely chopped1 cup olive oil1 cup finely sliced tomato1 medium onion, finely slicedSalt pepperSoak the apricots in the orange juice for two hours to soften. Season the lamb with generous quantities of salt and pepper and sautéin olive oil or butter. Add the mustard seeds, honey and 5-6 pureed apricots, and simmer with the meat. Add the remaining apricotstowards the end, so they are not overcooked. Typical recipe of the region of Pontus (Black Sea) Serves 6.Lamb with apricots and honeySauté the onions in olive oil. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté them without letting them turn brown. Once wilted, add the tomatoand season with salt and pepper. When all the fluids are absorbed, put all ingredients in a baking pan and arrange fish fillets on top ofthem. Bake in the oven 180oC for 20 minutes.
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