Food is such a big part of travelling, and often makes an experience in a country unforgettable. It is so much fun trying all there is to offer.
The first thing we noticed in the streets around our apartment in Greece was the number of bakeries. We found them everywhere, and they provided a great source of snacks.
There were lots of breads, biscuits, pastries and sweets. Common was bread in a ring shape with sesame seeds, and a version we particularly liked was with olives inside.
There were lots of pastries to try, mostly cheese pies of some sort. We had some spanakopita, a filo pastry pie filled with spinach and feta cheese. It is a very popular lunch or on-the-go option for locals. We found that these pies had too much pastry and not enough filling.
After walking through Plaka, the old narrow streets of Athens, we passed a restaurant serving traditional Greek meals which were perfect for us to sample some local cuisine.
Bread and water was brought to the table, and we ordered an olive tapenade to go with the bread.
Rob’s choice from the menu was a well-known Greek dish Moussaka, which looks a lot like lasagna, comprising potato, mince, eggplant, topped with a cheese sauce. It was so filling he stuffed to try the other dishes we had.
Clare’s first choice had to be Greek salad, something she loves back home. This did not disappoint, a classic salad of fresh cucumber, tomato, feta, olives, green capsicum, red onion. This particular salad was also served with capers, which I don’t think is the standard. It was liberally dressed with olive oil, and herbs.
With the salad, she had baked eggplant topped with feta cheese. It was delicious, but for Clare, anything with feta cheese is a winner. Feta cheese is so popular here, it is used in many dishes, it is even sold in bulk in markets.
Olive bravely chose the squid, which was grilled, and served with humous and fresh tomato. Octopus and calamari are very popular dishes in Greece, not surprising considering the location by the sea.
There was so much to choose from. There were many entrée dishes, a perfect size for the kids, and also enabling us to try a selection of other dishes.
Another dish we tried was meatballs, served with a tomato sauce that had a distinct fennel flavor.
A well-known Greek ‘street food’ is the souvlaki, gyros or kebab. The different types of these can be confusing at first, but once you understand it, you can choose any combination of meats, wraps and fillings or platter version of items.
Gyros – meat on a large skewer shaved off and served in a pita with tomato onion, tzatziki and chips.
Souvlaki – pieces of meat grilled on a skewer.
Kebab – processed meat in a sausage shape.
Baklava is a very sweet dessert made from layers of filo pastry with crushed nuts and soaked in syrup. The type of dish you only need a small amount of! Enjoyed here with Greece’s national spirit, ouzo!
Dolmades are little packages of cooked rice and herbs wrapped in vine leaves. We bought these in the deli section of the supermarket. They were served warm, but we remember eating them cold before. Very lemony flavour.
We are big fans of grilled halloumi, so we were keen to try saganaki, a cheese slice slightly floured and fried. A little dryer than halloumi, but really delicious with fresh lemon juice.
The Greeks have their own version of yoghurt in Australia, but here it’s just yoghurt! This bar we came across serves natural yogurt topped with your choice of fruit syrup. Very creamy, the kids loved it.
This was really the colour of this dish. It was called beetroot salad on the menu, but it was actually just yoghurt with grated cooked beetroot in it, more like a dip than a salad.
That is just a sample of the food we tried in Greece. We have been surprised by how much we liked the food here. It was a pity we are only visiting for a week, there were many of those above we want more of, and many other meals we would have liked to try.