Greek Food Discovery ....

Rob and I have just returned from three months of Greek food indulgence. Never have we enjoyed a country's culinary experience so much; a cuisine that has been enticing foreigners and natives alike for many years. 

Greece is blessed with copious amounts of fresh natural products that promote wellbeing, maintain good health and lends heaps of flavour to countless dishes. The aforementioned, olive oil and wheat, as well as fruits, vegetables, honey, and fish are the pillars of the Greek cuisine. 

The emphasis is on fresh food ingredients such as this haul of octopus.
Todays catch and the tastiest, freshest salad. Served at Margaret's Taverna Plaka.

The ancient Greek diet and cuisine, forerunner of the Roman food culture, have given rise to much of European cuisine today. Moreover, for the Greeks, from ancient times right up to the present. Certain foods are a means of satisfaction or a source of pleasure and some are laden with symbolism or used for medicinal purposes. Further, often the name of the dish incorporates the ancient method of preparation and/or the original cooking vessel.

Although Greece has diverse geography and climate, many cooking methods are universal across different regions. Greek cooking methods are usually fairly simple and straightforward. Many recipes and methods have been handed down through hundreds of generations. Though Greek cuisine has evolved immensely over the history of the country itself, there are still many traditional dishes in usage today. It's highly likely that Homer’s heroes would feel at home at a Greek Easter, they would recognise the traditional dishes using lemons, potatoes or tomatoes, and much more. 

Preparing a feast of stuffed peppers at Michalis' Taverna in Ermioni

Greeks approach food with a combination of seriousness and nostalgia. They don’t eat to live but rather live to eat, and a meal is always a social occasion which invites the original meaning of friendship.

Tavernas are the place to really experience a Greek meal. Just remember that eating in Greece is never rushed, there is no belief in eating and running' or that you have had 'enough' to eat. In Greece, a lunch or dinner can last for hours. They take their time, engage in discussions, and spend time with family. Lunch or dinner can last for hours, and the more food and people gathered at the table the better. 

Who couldn't be inspired by this Taverna's setting in beautiful Ermionni.

Michalis Taverna in Ermionni was one of our homes away from home.
Many great meals were eaten and friendships formed over long Greek Feasts.

The meal can take form in many different courses normally cold dishes first followed by fish prior to meat all dishes shared between guests, or as a Meze. Meze has its roots in antiquity, the word and usage came to Greece from Turkey. A meze is not a meal course like an appetiser but rather multiple small dishes shared. They can be hot or cold, spicy or savoury, often salty, that is served, as a separate eating experience. Your order may well not come out in the sequence in which you ordered, this is the Greek way ...

Salads, Entrees and Vegetables will come out in any given order.

The one thing that I was so impressed with was the freshness of the produce. There is a simplicity to Greek food that no other culture can replicate. Simple, good, fresh ingredients combined with Greece's liquid gold (Olive Oil) that makes unbelievable food. The emphasis on authentic raw ingredients, unadulterated and grown locally ..... simple dishes, cooked slowly and without fussy sauces, seasoned with herbs and olive oil rather than exotic spices, with love and imagination...... 

Fresh, flavour filled produce is the key to creating mouth watering dishes

Michalis preparing two of the dishes he serves in his Greek Feast.
The Pork Parcel at left is a favourite.

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