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Greek Cuisine

 

 


Greek cuisine is the cuisine of Greece or perhaps of the Greeks. Given the geography and history of Greece, this style of cookery is typical of Middle Eastern cuisine, with strong influences from Italy and, to a lesser extent, from the Balkans. The basic grain in Greece is wheat, though barley is also grown. Important vegetables include tomato, eggplant, potato, green beans, okra, and onions. The terrain has tended to favour the production of goats and sheep over cattle, and thus beef dishes tend to be a rarity by comparison. Fish dishes are also common, although today most of the fish is imported since the Mediterranean Sea is quite overfished. Olive oil, produced from the trees prominent throughout the region, adds to the distinctive taste of Greek food. Some dishes use filo pastry. Too much refinement is generally considered to be against the hearty spirit of the Greek cuisine. Traditionally, Greek dishes are served warm rather than hot.

Appetizers

Dips are served with loaf bread or pita bread -- a round flat wheat bread made with yeast. In some regions, dried bread is softened in water.

Some dishes served in Greek restaurants (especially outside Greece) are not Greek at all:

Famous Greek dishes

  • Moussaka (eggplant casserole). There are other variations besides eggplant, such as zucchini or rice, but the eggplant version ("melitzanes moussaka") is most popular, so "moussaka" alone is assumed to mean with eggplant.
  • Kleftiko: lamb slow-baked on the bone, first marinaded in garlic and lemon juice.
  • Souvlaki (lamb and vegetables on skewers)
  • Gyros (pork, yoghurt, tomato sandwich on pitta bread; this is a popular "fast food").
  • Pastitsio (macaroni, meat, and white sauce in the oven)

 

A plate with pieces of different types of Baklava
  • Baklava (A popular sweet desert, layers of filo pastry with nuts, sugar, honey, cloves)
  • Loukoumas
  • Loukoumia
  • Creamy yoghurt with honey
  • Galaktoboureko (Custard like cream between layers of filo)

Drinks

  • Wine is the most common drink in Greece. Until the 1980's, most wine in Greece was mediocre in quality at best, but more recently it has come up to international standards.
  • Beer is widely drunk.
  • Ouzo (an 80-proof clear alcoholic beverage that is flavored with anise; it turns milky white with water or ice; the best said to be produced on the island of Lesbos). It is similar to the French pastis.
  • Raki or Tsipouro (Mostly home-brewed, a clear drink similar to ouzo, often with higher alcohol content, and usually not flavored with herbs.
  • Metaxa (a brand of sweet brandy; 40% alcohol content)
  • Retsina (a white wine that has some pine tar added, originally as a preservative, but nowadays for the flavor; this is an Athens region specialty. It should not be aged.).
  • Mavrodafni Sweet, liquor-style, red wine with higher alcohol percentage than normal.


 


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