Greek cuisine is famous thanks to its “Mediterranean diet” or “Cretan diet”. The countries of the Mediterranean basin have a food tradition based on fruit, vegetables, cereals, walnut and olive oil, dairy products (yoghurt, cheese), aromatic herbs and a low consumption of animal products (meat).
Unesco has recognized Mediterranean cuisine as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity since 2010.
This cuisine is not only tasty but also very good for your health, protecting against cardiovascular diseases; degeneration of cognitive functions (memory lapses, etc.)…
Contemporary Greek cuisine uses a lot of olive and walnut oil (omega 3), spices, vegetables, and cereals. Olives, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, yoghurt, as well as the cheeses, are world famous. The wine is delicious !
Sugar lovers will be in paradise with Greek desserts that are often made with honey and nuts.
Served with wine, ouzo or raki, mezes (something between appetizers and hors d’oeuvres) offer a variety of typical Greek dishes. In a Greek restaurant, if you do not speak Greek, no stress, you go directly to the kitchen, you lift the lids and order what you like.
Most Greeks do not go to a restaurant for gastronomic reasons but to feel well and have a good time with friends. The standing of a restaurant is therefore not a concept which really applies to Greek restaurants: expect paper tablecloths most of the time and no concern for the way the food looks and the muddled order in which it comes to table… What counts is that you eat well, cheaply and rather copiously in most of the “taverna” found everywhere. You will be charged for the bread and cutlery!
In theory, there is a difference between a taverna and a restaurant (estiatorio). The first is more relaxed and friendly than the second. In practice, the label “restaurant” gives a ‘smarter’ impression for some people, but the label does not always describe what you find inside.
Finally, you will also find Greeks eating in the ouzeria (plural of ouzeri), sometimes also called mezedopolia or even ouzadika. Mezes (or even pikilies when they are larger) that accompany ouzo (local pastis) may be enough for a small meal.
On Andros Island, for your seminar of Ashtanga Yoga, you will eat in the Karanasos Hotel. Our host Sophia is not only a very good yoga teacher; she is also a wonderful cook. At each meal, you will be surprised by the taste and the quality of the food, by the lushness and inventiveness of the Greek culinary tradition. Most of the ingredients are grown organically.
Some tasty standards :
- Feta: famous Greek cheese, not only eaten in a salad. It can also be fried, coated with sesame seeds, served with honey or coated in batter.
- Greek Salad (khoriatiki): essential first course and cheap.
- Tzatziki: yoghurt, cucumber, crushed garlic, olive oil and herbs.
- Melitzanosalata: eggplant salad.
- Moussaka: there are also vegetarian moussakas… yummy
- Kolokithia tiganita: zucchini cut into slices and fried.
- Dolmades: well known stuffed vine leaves.
- Briam: a kind of ratatouille (potatoes, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes).
- Imam baïldi: a dish of Turkish origin, like so many others (eggplant stuffed with onion, tomatoes and herbs).
- Stuffed Tomatoes – Yemista (orphana): when the tomatoes and peppers are stuffed but with rice (no meat), they are known amusingly as “orphana’ (orphans), my son Surya’s favourite dish.
Greek coffee, avoid asking for a “Turkish coffee”: you won’t be well thought of. Ask instead for “ena helliniko, parakalo!”(One Greek coffee, please). It is normally served with a glass of water.
Retsina, the French are often surprised by its taste. It is a slightly sparkling table wine that is typically Greek.
- Travel, ‘flight’ and ‘transfer’ information
- Finding a ‘hotel’ in Athens
- Taking photos in Greece
- Information on ‘Health’ in Greece
 Wikipedia: the Mediterranean diet (In 2010, Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco were the first to be recognised, but on December 4, 2013, Portugal, Cyprus and Croatia were also recognised by UNESCO.)