After barely surviving midterms on espresso shots and subpar 3 am candy breaks our taste buds needed a break. We can all get that break in various ways here in the United States, but the dream break is defined by two-hour, multiple-course meals and an ocean view.
There’s one country that fits this image perfectly: Greece. If you’ve been to Greece, you’ll know what I’m talking about; if not, you now have a new country to add to your gastronomical bucket list. Here are the favorites of a 10-day Greece excursion. Next time you find yourself in a café by the wine-dark sea, you’ll know what to order!
This isn’t American yogurt in the slightest, and it’s not even American Greek yogurt. Authentic Greek yogurt is far superior – its texture is thick and hangs off the spoon without feeling too filling. The taste of the plain yogurt is not sweet in the slightest, so with a drizzle of Greek honey, you can achieve the perfect sweetness. Its ideal form is as a component to breakfast, alongside homemade bread or pastries, mini-sausages, and fruit.
One of the major perks of that ocean view is its promise of fresh seafood. Calamari, octopus, and fish of all sorts are readily available at most Greek restaurants, especially in any city by the coast. Most fish dishes are not served in rich sauces – you’ll find the fish speaks for itself and is served on its own with a lemon and local vegetables as the principle accompaniments.
Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini
As far as vegetables in the United States go, zucchini is less than awe-inspiring. It’s one of the vegetables you find in a small corner of the plate, sautéed with other greens, barely noticeable. Not so in Greece. In any given café, zucchini appetizers of every type, from fried zucchini to croquets of some zucchini-feta-onion genius combination, command the first pages of the menu. These dishes are generally paired with homemade tzatziki sauce, another Greek classic. Be ready to revolutionize your view on this vegetable!
There’s very little in this world better than slices of an excellent local cheese. One thing that is arguably better, though, is when that local cheese is grilled. Or baked. Or fried. The result is a satisfying crunch of the crispy outer layer paired with the molten, creamy interior. Greeks have mastered the art of cooking cheese – they mainly grill feta and fry softer local cheeses (this fried cheese is called saganaki in Greek) and both are served with a lemon wedge at almost every restaurant in the country.
The type of food that comes closest to convincing you to ditch the relaxed European lunch and grab a meal on the run? Greek fast food. It consists of an intriguing combination of the best Greek flavors: homemade pita, tomato, cheese, thick-cut French fries, tzaziki or homemade mayo and some type of souvlaki or gyro, traditional ways of cooking chicken or pork. This impressive list of ingredients combines to form the most delectably unhealthy food.
No matter how full you are from dinner after a few glasses (read: pitchers) of wine it’s impossible to pass up a delectable Greek dessert. Greeks have innovated traditional desserts like baklava, turning the honey-filled dough into crusts for cake or the basis for other pastries. Try any of these treats with a double shot of espresso – a more bitter flavor rounds out the intense sweetness!
Now whenever you get authentic mediterranean food you’ll know what to order – your favorite, classic ingredients, but with the unique twist of Greek cuisine. Yamas!