Greek cuisine is typical of the healthy Mediterranean diet, which is epitomized by dishes of the island of Crete. Greek gastronomy incorporates fresh ingredients into a variety of local dishes such as moussaka, stifado, Greek salad, fasolada, spanakopita and souvlaki. Some dishes can be traced back to ancient Greece like skordalia (a thick purée of walnuts, almonds, crushed garlic and olive oil), lentil soup, retsina (white or rosé wine sealed with pine resin) and pasteli (candy bar with sesame seeds baked with honey). Throughout Greece people often enjoy eating from small dishes, known as meze, with various dips such as tzatziki, grilled octopus and small fish, feta cheese, dolmades (rice, currants and pine kernels wrapped in vine leaves), various pulses, olives and cheese. Olive oil – which is widely produced in several Greek regions, and internationally recognized for its positive health benefits – is added to almost every dish.
Greece also abounds in sweet desserts such as galaktoboureko, and drinks such as ouzo, metaxa and a wide variety of wines including retsina. Greek cuisine differs widely in style in different parts of the mainland and from island to island. It uses some flavorings more often than other Mediterranean diets such as oregano, mint, garlic, onion, dill and bay laurel leaves. Other common herbs and spices include basil, thyme and fennel seed. Many Greek recipes, especially in the northern parts of the country, use “sweet” spices in combination with meat, for example cinnamon and cloves in stews.
Greece is a blessed land where various products are cultivated, which is why the Greek culinary tradition uses so many pure and fresh ingredients. Cotton, pistachios, rice, olives, figs, almonds, tomatoes, watermelons, tobacco, grapes, corn, oranges, cherries are only a few examples of the products that mother Earth generates in Greece. A large production of flavorings and herbs enhance Greek cuisine with its renowned savouriness, aromas and curative properties. Amazing aromas of oregano, thyme, mint and rosemary dominate the numerous typical Greek dishes. Sheep and goats are free-ranging and the pastures are especially lush and green, thus Greek meat has a unique incomparable taste, while local dairy products – especially the famous feta-cheese – are internationally recognized for their nutritional value and taste as well. Mediterranean seafood also plays an important role in Greek cuisine and diet, as the crystal clear waters of the Aegean and the Ionian Sea are rich in fish and mollusks.
Let yourself indulge in the heavenly canvas of the healthy, nutritional and absolutely mouth watering Greek gastronomy!
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