Variety, moderation, and balance are the three basic characteristics of the Greek traditional cuisine. “All in good measure” with one exception, pure olive oil, the sine qua non of all Greek dishes.
Cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil and olives, fish, moderate consumption of meat, yogurt, honey wine, is the health and longevity secrets in Greece, with the islands of Crete and Ikaria serving as best examples, as there you can meet some of the longest-lived people in Europe and the world.
Travelling around Greece, to the islands and the mainland, one can easily realize that there is a robust regional and local cuisine offering a wide range of delicious dishes, all made from fresh local products.
Numerous creative variations of soups, imaginative, highly flavoured and aromatic dishes cooked in the casserole or in the oven with seasonal vegetables, herbs and spices, wonderful pies with handmade filo pastry, grilled or roasted meat, and flavoursome fish or seafood, drizzled with ladholemono (a traditional lemon and oil dressing with a pinch of oregano or thyme), all accompanied with salads, wild greens, and a array of cheeses , mostly made from sheep and goat milk, like kasseri, kefalotyri, graviera, myzithra, and of course the absolute “queen” feta.
Greek traditional sweets come to a wide variety of honey syrup drenched pastries – galaktoboureko, baklava, kataifi are the most known – pies, puddings, and cakes. Based on fruits and occasionally vegetables or flowers the spoon sweets, glyka tou koutaliou, are another very Greek specialty, while yogurt with honey, ground nuts, and fruits can be served as a healthy, nutritious breakfast, or as a dessert.
The Greek dining table resembles to a colourful, scented garden; by tradition Greeks enjoy sharing their meal with friends, relatives, and guests, while talking, listening, and reflecting on a series of subjects, in a relaxed atmosphere, which makes dining in Greece a fascinating experience that stimulates all the senses.
At a seaside tavern, or under the trees of a beautiful garden restaurant, eat as Greeks have since ancient times. Start with a few mezedes as appetizers, small plates of food served with ouzo, raki, tsipouro, tsikoudia, or wine depending on the area, before you move to the main course always accompanied with a traditional Greek salad, choriatiki . Raise your glasses and wish to each other stin ygeia mas kai kali oreksi (lit. to our health and good appetite).