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Traditional Greek CuisineTraditional Greek Cuisine

Its unique tastes are some of the things which set Greece apart. You are in for pleasant culinary surprises while staying in Athens. Contrary to common belief you will soon discover that Greek cuisine does not solely consist of moussaka, souvlaki and horiatiki salata.

Greek cuisine has a great variety of dishes and can be an extremely satisfying culinary adventure for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. It could not be otherwise in the country that gave birth to the symposiums and the Epicurean philosophers. It was, in fact, Archestratos in 330 B.C., who wrote the first cookbook in history and let us not forget, that cuisine is a sign of civilization. Greece has a culinary tradition of some 4.000 years.

Nevertheless, like most national cuisines, the Greek cuisine has both influenced others and embraced ideas from its easterly and westerly neighbors. Greek cuisine has four secrets: good fresh ingredients, judicious use of herbs and spices, the famous Greek olive oil and its basic simplicity. Greek olive oil merits a special mention. Present in almost all Greek dishes and in most of them in abundance, it is of excellent quality and very good for your health. Last, but not least, there are the vegetables and herbs.

Greek herbs Due to the mild Greek climate, forced growth of vegetables is not widespread. Therefore most vegetables are grown naturally and full of aroma and taste. You will be delighted by the taste of Greek tomatoes, lettuces, carrots, onions, parsley and garlic, not to mention the rich flavor and aroma of its fresh fruit : grapes, apricots, peaches, cherries, melons, watermelons, to name but a few. The herbs, that almost all the Greeks collect from their mountains and countryside, are renowned for their taste, scent and healing properties. Eating one of the many different Greek dishes the aroma of oregano, thyme, spearmint or rosemary, will inebriate you. Do not forget to try also the Greek cheeses and particularly feta.

As lambs and goats in Greece are free-grazing and the pastures are very rich in herbs, the meats have a unique taste not to be found anywhere else in the world. Seafood from the Mediterranean sea is by far more tasty than that from the oceans. In the Aegean and the lonian sea the waters are crystal clear and abound with fish. Char broiled fresh fish is considered a treat.

Plaka TavernaThe time of day when Greeks gather around a table to enjoy a meal or various appetizers (mezedes) with ouzo, is a time held in reverence by all the inhabitants of this country. For the Greeks, sharing a meal with friends, either at home, in a restaurant or a taverna, is a deeply rooted social affair. The Greek word symposium, a word as ancient as the country itself, if translated literally means drinking with company. The atmosphere in typically Greek restaurants and tavernas, is very relaxed, informal and unpretentious. Food preparation, on the other hand, has its own sacred rules. Good amateur cooks are held in great esteem in their social circles. A good house person in Greece, means a good cook. And a good cook can spend days preparing a meal for his or her friends.

A Greek meal is a combination of experiences, a time to forget all of live except its pleasures.



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