I started to write this blog about the amazingly, delicious Greek food we enjoyed on our retirement kick-off journey throughout Greece and discovered that since there is so much to say and show, I’ve got to do it in two separate blogs!
Greeks, like everything else they do, cook large. Each offering is sky high and we soon saw that an order for two could easily feed four or more. Choices for Appetizers are endless: meats, seafood, cheeses, dips, greens, etc. are available for lunch and/or dinner. You can explore different ones each day and along with your favorite aperitif (Ouzo!), it is the perfect way to begin your meal and get you going for the main event.
Then, you must have the famous Greek salad, which is served all over the world and none better than in the country where it was born! Greek salad is fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers on the side and topped with an extra-large piece of feta cheese and sprinkled with village grown oregano. Other types of salads are often on a menu and each, along with crispy, freshly baked bread, is a meal unto itself!
For your entrée, you can choose what the Greeks call “cooked plates” – every Greek claims that their mother’s or their grandmother’s Moussaka (Moosakah – with the accent on the kah!) is the best – and it probably is. Unfortunately, there is no way we can actually taste them all. What we did taste is this dish served all over Greece and it has been unbelievably delicious everywhere we went – it is sometimes made with a bit of a twist – mountain people vs the islanders! But each one has been a masterpiece. It is our comfort dish…it warms the tummy, the heart and the soul. We also tried the Pastisio (The Greek Lasagna), the stuffed peppers and tomatoes, the casseroles of string beans, onions and/or other vegetables and greens and the flavorful stews both with meat and without. Our favorite ones are the ones that come right out of the pot – just point to the one that you want – fresh and tasty that you can see and smell!
Vegetarian choices abound as they are the staple of the Mediterranean Diet which is the best in the world! Spanakopita, (spinach pie) is a favorite in our family!
A large selection of meat dishes are offered. You can have skewers of lamb, beef, chicken or pork. Or you can have them served as lamb chops, lamb shanks, roasted lamb, chicken or pork chops, meatballs or as a pancetta, which are slices cooked to perfection and all are served with rice, roasted potatoes and/or French fries.
What can I say about the seafood! Literally, they are the catch of the day. In some places, you can see fish hanging outside the restaurant drying in the sun! Several times, the waiters took Zaf into the kitchen to pick his fish from a large tank. Trout, bass, salmon, tuna, sardines, squid, shrimp, lobster – all on the menu and served in a variety of ways – in salads, in tiny appetizer plates, as a main meal, with pasta, with rice or French fries.
After all of the above, there might not be room for dessert, but that did not stop us! Some of you might have already tasted the world-renowned Baklava and Kataifi, so you know how absolutely delicious they are. We also tried Melomakarina, Koulouriakia and/or Galaktobourikia…and why not? Not ones to miss out on any culinary experience, our daily selections were fun! Also in the mix, on some nights, we had ice-cream; sometimes we lingered at our table after dinner and sometimes we went to the ice-cream store, bought a cone of our personal favorite or a dessert from the bakery next door and then walked through the town square window-shopping and people watching.
My next blog will cover the natural food grown and available to the local people, as well as where most restaurants buy their produce and fruits. This farm to table approach to the freshest food possible has been in existence from Ancient Greece till today. To whet your appetite even further, here are more photographs which speak for themselves!
The best way to explore a country is to eat the food! We did and thus, we have Retired Well, Helene
All photographs From the Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf.
For more information about Greece, please visit: www.greecetravel.com