Greek Island Cuisine – Part 1
Greek cuisine more than 25 centuries ago represented the beginning of culinary art on the old continent. Its began to combine different types of ingredients, using spices, to get flavors that made the food more tasty. The Romans had much to learn from the Greeks, so much so that from Greece they “imported” the chefs and the secrets of their culinary arts. Simple but tasty dishes, simple recipes, based on fresh and genuine products, featuring Mediterranean flavors of olives and excellent local extra virgin olive oil, aubergines, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, exquisite meats, especially Lamb and piglet, cheeses, especially goat’s, and fish products, in particular seafood and fish, divinely cooked and highlighted by the fragrance of local lemons, oil and spices.
Olive oil is another product in Greece that has unique qualities, it is almost entirely of extra-virgin quality, in fact it gives it a consolidated worldwide reputation and one of the areas of Greece where the olive plant is more rooted is Undoubtedly the Peloponnese, one of the regions that most recall in mind the great civilization of ancient Greece.
Greece also has a large variety of cheese, thanks in particular to the spread of sheep farming, which have been grazed in the semi-pristine Hellenic environment. The most famous is certainly “feta”, with its inexplicable taste and white colour. Yogurt is of high quality and the basis of many greek dishes such as “tzatziki”, which, divinely accompanies grilled meat and fries. Another combination is yogurt and cheese with honey and walnuts, another high quality Greek product, and very popular in all regions, in its many variants. Some types of cheeses are suitable for being fried, and here you enter another really appetizing starter, called “saganaki” (served fried).
The most popular wines and drinks are the Tsipouro which is a very strong alcoholic, resembles a little at Ouzo but with a stronger taste of anise. The Greeks drink it with ice and sometimes add some water. It is always accompanied by mezedes and “good friends”. In different parts of Greece, like in Crete, they serve it a bit everywhere but above all after the meals accompanied by fruit.
Ouzo is the most famous alcohol, and the symbol of the country. It is a very strong alcohol, to drink directly with ice or with some water. The mavrodafni is a sweet wine in Patras. It is really strong and dark (almost black). It is commonly used as a digestive liquor or as a night drink. Retsina is a Greek white wine with a particular taste of resin.
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