A Taste of Greece

Greek cuisine is beloved all over the world. Let's look at what makes it so appealing.

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator border_width=”2″][vc_custom_heading text=”When we think of Greek food, lemon potatoes, juicy olives and fried cheese (albeit Greek-American) come to mind and, subsequently, make our mouths water.” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23000000″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Making use of the best in-season ingredients, Greek cuisine is simple, colorful and typically nutritious. Many well-known Greek dishes are largely influenced by the food of the Ottoman Empire, thus classic dishes such as moussaka and tzatziki have Arabic, Persian and Turkish roots. A perfect climate for growing olive and lemon trees, those two ingredients are at the cornerstone of the cuisine, which is largely known for its heart-healthy Meditteranean offerings like vegetables, fish, and lean meats (including lamb, poultry, veal, and pork). Many food items are wrapped in filo pastry such as spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie) and kreatopita (meat pie) and for dessert, nuts, honey, and fruits are meant to satisfy. [/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”An aromatic herb, oregano is more flavorful in its dried form and has an earthy, slightly bitter flavor.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1590151178659{margin-top: 30px !important;margin-right: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;padding-top: 25px !important;padding-right: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;background-color: #212931 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”5922″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow”][vc_column_text]One spice that features prominently in Greek cuisine (and in this week’s menu) is oregano. An aromatic herb, oregano is more flavorful in its dried form and has an earthy, slightly bitter flavor. Also known as wild marjoram, it is a member of the mint family and is a welcome addition to most savory dishes, commonly combined with olive oil to create flavorful marinades for meat. Fresh oregano can be used but it is highly pungent and because it can easily overpower a dish, it is often used as a garnish. As mentioned, it is sometimes known as marjoram, but don’t mistake it for the same thing. Marjoram has a much sweeter, lemony flavour profile. Health benefits of oregano include high amounts of Vitamins A, C, K, Omega-3s, iron, and antioxidants. Other common herbs and spices used in Greek cuisine include mint, thyme and fennel seed. [/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Greece’s food is diverse and, although there are several common characteristics amongst the different regions in the country, there are also notable differences.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1590151253926{margin-top: 30px !important;margin-right: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;padding-top: 25px !important;padding-right: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;background-color: #212931 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Greece’s food is diverse and, although there are several common characteristics amongst the different regions in the country, there are also notable differences. For example, the vegetarian dish Chaniotiko Boureki (oven baked slices of potatoes with zucchini, local cheese and mint) is a native dish of western Crete, but not cooked in any other region of Greece. In the southern regions and the islands, pasta such as hilopites (small, square egg noodles, similar to vermicelli) is commonly prepared. [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”8076″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow”][vc_column_text]One of the oldest staples of Greek gastronomy and one now found all over the world is Souvlaki or Pita Gyros, which we’ve included a recipe for in this week’s menu. As for what type of meat to use, chicken, lamb and pork are all delicious options for the protein. Another popular dish from Greece is fresh olives, feta and vegetables tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. We’ve included a recipe for Greek salad with chicken that makes a wonderful weeknight meal, but this salad makes a great side dish or lunch option if you don’t want to add a protein. It should be mentioned that authentic Greek salad typically does not contain lettuce so feel free to leave that out as well. 

As for an appropriate beverage to pair with all this glorious food? No doubt, that would be Greek’s beloved spirit, ouzo, an anise-flavored liqueur that is the national spirit! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]