A few months ago, my childhood best friend and I took the trip of a lifetime to my dream holiday destination: the idyllic Greek island, Santorini. We spent the days cruising on boats, lounging on relaxing beaches, climbing volcanoes and quad biking across the island under the bright September sunshine, and the nights by the ocean, talking under the stars. One of the most memorable things about Santorini, however, was the fact that we could get incredible food just about anywhere. 

From warm lamb gyros, to grilled corn, to aromatic wine, Santorini's various settlements had a food for every meal and mood. Below are 7 of the most iconic dishes from our trip - read on and enjoy (and maybe start looking up flights for next summer)! 

1. Gyros

Marie Chantal Marauta

A couple of streets down from our villa in Perissa was an adorable family-run restaurant that made scrumptious gyros. My personal favorite was the flavorful lamb gyro, which consisted of a soft, juicy patty covered in creamy Tzatziki, lettuce, onions and tomatoes, and wrapped in fluffy, home-made pita bread. It was the perfect meal to fill me up for hours, and energize me for the day's activities. 

2. Greek salad (Horiatiki) 

Marie Chantal Marauta

Having been a Greek salad enthusiast since my teen years, this was one of the first things I had to try when I got to Greece. I realize it was an extremely clichéd thing to order, but I am not exaggerating when I say that it was the best, most magical variation of the salad I've ever had.

The fresh feta was topped with aromatic oregano, salty capers and Greek olive oil (which tasted super different from the Italian oil I usually use), and the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and bell peppers somehow tasted fresher as I munched on them overlooking the ocean and Fira's array of white houses. A basic dish, but a must-try all the same. 

3. Moussaka

Marie Chantal Marauta

This delicious mix of ground beef, eggplant, melted cheeses (about three different types) and spices made for a delectable dish that we enjoyed overlooking the coast on our last dinner on the island. The crunch of the top layer of cheese contrasted with the chewiness of the eggplant and the tenderness of the ground beef to create an explosion of textures and flavors. It was a great dish to warm up my tummy and settle me into a lazy evening. 

4. Souvlaki

Marie Chantal Marauta

On our day trip to Santorini's volcano and hot springs (which were a short boat ride away from the main island), we took a lunch break on the nearby island Thirasia. Here, I tried some freshly-made lamb souvlaki (yes, I'm a huge fan of lamb), which was prepared by cooking the meat on a stick until tender and served with bell peppers, potatoes and rice. It was yummy, healthy, flavorful and super filling. 

5. Baklava

Marie Chantal Marauta

I acquired this crunchy dessert from the family-run bakery around the corner from our villa, and munched on it's sweet syrup while my friend napped by the pool. If this doesn't paint a more iconic (typical) "my holiday in Greece" picture, I don't know what will! 

This has to be one of the sweetest desserts I've ever eaten. The crunchy pastry paired well with the textured walnut layer, and merged with the striking cinnamon and sticky honey to produce an interesting sensory experience. After finishing it, I didn't want to eat another sweet for days, but it was well worth it. 

6. Oceanside grilled corn

Marie Chantal Marauta

Yes, this is literally just grilled corn on the cob dusted with rock salt and topped with a tiny Greek flag (because being a #tourist is fun). But the special nature of the seaside snack came from the experience of buying it from the cheerful oceanside vendor who sang to me in Greek, a fun interaction that put me in a chirpy mood as I munched on the corn and walked along the shore.

As I tasted the corn's buttery and salty flavor, I enjoyed the cool water rushing over my feet and the feeling of the soft, black sand between my toes. My friend's infectious laughter, the gentle breeze and the sun's warm rays caressing my shoulders made this simple culinary experience one of my favorites. 

7. Island wine 

Marie Chantal Marauta

One of the best evenings of my life unfolded at this iconic Santorini vineyard, where my friend and I tasted three different types of wine while watching the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen. Each glass brought a whole new experience with every sip, from the fresh and breezy white, to the perfumed red, to the rich and sweet dessert wine. If you visit Santorini, this vineyard tour and tasting is an absolute must. 

What will I remember most from this trip? The tipsy conversations on a full, satisfied stomach as we took in breathtaking views and laughed like nobody was around; the lovely American couple who bought us two glasses of champagne as a toast to our "adorable" friendship; and the feeling that with good food, wine and my other half, life is truly full of magic. 

For more on Greek cuisine and culture, check out these articles:

- What I Learned About Real Greek Food on My Trip to Greece

- A Greek Insiders' Guide to the Four Best Greek Dishes

- 7 Struggles of Being Greek, as Told by My Big Fat Greek Wedding