Even food in Greece has its history. Events have marked Greek gastronomy throughout the ages, leading to a rich and varied selection of dishes. There are many traditional foods and highlights include:
A soup not included in the daily diet but traditionally referred to as the Greek hangover cure, patsas is always eaten in the early morning. Made of lamb hocks and stomach, patsas was traditionally the first dish to serve after the 40 days Easter fast in order to prepare the stomach for the heavy eating about to follow.
They say it is good for you because the ingredients consist of a kind of gel, which eventually protects and lines the stomach. Today, except for during the Easter period, the soup is also consumed, usually after a seriously busy night’s drinking, to ease the stomach of the alcohol. The most commonly visited place to have patsa is the Athenian meat market.
Masticha is an agricultural product removed by chipping mastic bushes. It looks like rock candy and has a distinctive taste and chewiness. Mastica is a 100% Greek product, and as such is protected by the European Union. It is only produced on the island of Chios, in the Aegean Sea, and especially in the Southern part of Mastichohoria in the Mastic villages. Even though people tried to take mastic to different countries in the past, amazingly enough mastic is impossible to grow in any other part of the world except Chios.
Although one can find different ethnic foods in Athens, the great majority of restaurants in Greece serve only one variety of food: Greek food! To most people who consider “variety” to come from different types of cuisines this might sound rather monotonous, but Greek food comes in many shapes, forms, and varieties to keep even the most demanding traveler satisfied.
Restaurants in Greece come in many different sizes and varieties as well. There are the “touristy” restaurants that would normally serve what travelers most often desire, and there are restaurants that cater exclusively to tourists . If you visit Greece as part of a tour group, chances are that you will mostly frequent such establishments. The food quality and service in both cases is exceptional, and the restaurants themselves are very clean.
You normally find them in or around the most touristy spots of Greece (like Olympia) and the tour busses automatically unload their passengers at such restaurants before or after a visit to a major archaeological site. The prices vary but as a rule they are high, although they are often included in the tour price for a substantial discount.
There are also restaurants that cater mostly to tourists away from archaeological sites. They are located in the busiest parts of town, such as the waterfront of most coastal towns and islands. They also exhibit exceptional service, delicious food, and moderate to high prices. In fact, the closer you get to the waterfront, the higher the prices seem to climb. But there is no price too high to pay for a late dinner right next to the slithering reflections of the moon over the gentle waves.
A little further wandering around the narrow streets of most cities will reveal the places that the locals frequent. Although there is no written rule that establishes such restaurants as better than others, a little exploration might reward the visitor with a restaurant that offers great Greek food at great prices, and in an authentic local atmosphere. An option worth checking out if you are budget conscious, or if you plan to stay in one place for a long time.
Restaurants are most often referred to as “Tavernas” of “Fish Tavernas” (Psarotaverna) if the main focus on the menu is seafood.
Ouzo, the other well known traditional Greek drink (besides retsina) is best tried over a table of seafood, and in the company of good friends. It is a very strong liquor with a distinct minty odor. It is best sipped out of a shot glass straight, on the rocks, or diluted with water. It is famous for the major hangovers it produces the “day after” and should be taken with some care. Ouzo “12” and “Metaxa” are the most popular brands of ouzo in Greece, although you can find local varieties of good quality in different rural areas.
Metaxa is a special Greek spirit invented by a silk trader named Spyros Metaxas. This happened in 1888 in Attica region, the province of Athens. Since then, the product has earned world recognition for its quality, color and taste. The product has been marketed very well all around the world and became famous creating a very large number of dedicated lovers. Expressions of admiration and adjectives like “The Elixir of Life”, “The Nectar of the Gods”, “The Blessed Spirit” accompanied Metaxa from its birth, till this very day!
There is no drinking age limit in Greece. Anyone is welcome to drink as much as their heart desire, and everyone is expected to act civil before, during, and after drinking…
Enjoy a truly memorable Greek experience.the total Greek experience.great food, wine, music, entertainment, atmosphere, and the happy, fun nature of a typical taverna…
A traditional gyro should be made with at least 50% ground lamb, and the rest beef. The best ground to use is one with a high fat content…