Greek cuisine

Greek cuisine

Greek cuisineGreece is considered to be one of the main Mediterranean countries which has a rich cuisine. The country is home to some of the best and most healthy ingredients in the world. It is therefore no surprise that the Greek cuisine is considered to be one of the best cuisines in the world. This article will address the history of Greek cuisine and highlight some of the most popular Greek dishes.

History

The culinary Greek cuisine has a tradition which goes back more than 4,000 years ago. It is not only part of the culture of Greece but it had also played an important role throughout Greek history. A unique characteristic of the Greek cuisine is that the flavours change depending on the season as well as its geography. The Greek cuisine is actually considered to be one of the forerunners of Western cuisine. Over the years, Greece has spread its cuisine to various parts in the world. One region they have particularly influenced is Europe. The influence of this cuisine has been spread during the time of ancient Rome. Interestingly, the Greek cuisine has been influenced by the different people’s cuisine the Greeks have been in contact with. Thus, this means that the Greek cuisine is a very versatile and diverse kitchen. This will become evident in the various recipes that will be outlined in this article. The first person who wrote about the Greek cuisine was Archestratos. He wrote a cookbook around 320 BC. The ancient Greek cuisine is said to be characterized by food which are commonly found in the Mediterranean. These foods include olive oil, wine and fish. While meat is being consumed more these days, meat was not commonly eaten during the time of the ancient Greeks. The trend of not consuming meat was also common during the time of the Roman Empire and during the time of the Ottoman Empire. It is said that technological changes have been responsible for meat being more commonly consumed in the Mediterranean. Foods such as wine and olive oil have always been around and have always played an important role in Greek cuisine. The spread of olive trees and the spread of grapes are said to be related to Greek colonization. Thus, during the colonization period is when the spread of Mediterranean foods commenced.

Overview

The ingredient which is probably featured in most Greek dishes is olive oil. Olive oil is therefore not only considered to be an ancient element of Greek cuisine but it also seen as a characteristic of Greek cuisine. Olive oil is made from olive trees. Olive trees are commonly found throughout Greece. Olive oil also adds a unique flavour to the many Greek dishes. Besides the fact that olive oil is used in the preparation of Greek dishes, it is also widely eaten. Olive oil is either used as a dressing for salads, used on slices of bread or it will be served on the side of a dish. One of the most common grains in Greece is wheat. However, another type of grain which is also commonly used is barley. Both are used to make bread. Bread is also often served on the side. The Greek cuisine distinguishes itself from other Mediterranean cuisines by a few flavourings more commonly than others. A few of these spices which are considered to be part of sample Greece food include dill, onion, garlic, mint, oregano and bay leaves. Other herbs and spices which also feature in the Greek cuisine are fennel seeds, thyme and basil. While parsley is also used, often it is used as garnish on dishes. The use of spices is also dependent on the specific region in Greece. For example, in the north of the country they are known for using different spices compared to the south. In the north, they are known for using spices which are considered to be sweet. These sweet spices are especially used for preparing meat. A few of these spices include cinnamon, cloves and whole spice.

Meat and cheeses

The climate and terrain in the country tends to favour the breeding of specific animals. For example, goats, cattle and sheep are commonly bred. Thus, it is therefore no surprise that beef dishes are common. In regions where meat is not very common, fish dishes are often prepared. This is especially the case in region located near the coast and on the islands. The Greek cuisine also uses many different types of cheese. A few of these cheeses include feta, kefalotyri, graviera, manouri and metsovone. Feta is probably the type of cheese which most people know. Another famous type of cheese is Ladotyri. This type of cheese is a combination of cheese and olive oil. Some people might also be familiar with Kalathaki cheese. This type of cheese comes from the island Limnos. In general, the Greek cuisine does not use too much refinement. The vegetables are often cut in larger pieces, and all ingredient as well as the spices are fresh. Thus, you will not see any pre-packaged spices being used in the Greek cuisine. For a long period of time, dining out is very common in Greek culture. This also had to do with the fact that many of the restaurants offer affordable dishes. For example, places such as the Estiatorio and the Taverna are common in Greece. These places serve home-cooked food for an affordable price. These places are therefore often visited by both tourists and locals. Over the years, there have been a few fast food chains which have opened a chain in Greece. However, many of them have closed already since the majority of the population prefers consuming Greek food. There are also traditional Greek foods which are served in fast food style, both in Greece as well as in many other countries. For example, a few of these foods include souvlaki, pita and gyros.


Main ingredients

As mentioned so far, there are a few food which the Greek kitchen is known for. Items such as olive oil, fish and wine are foods which are central to the Greek cuisine. The Greek cuisine also used many fresh vegetables. Some of these vegetables include eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers and onions. Another vegetable which is commonly used is okra. There are not many cuisines which use okra as commonly as the Greek cuisine. Zucchini is also a commonly used ingredient. As will be explained later in this article, it will become clear that many vegetables are grilled. Another main ingredient in Greece is honey. While honey is used in many other countries, Greek cuisine features honey from the nectar of fruit trees. Honey is used in a wide variety of dishes. For example, honey is often added to yoghurts. The honey is extracted from a wide variety of trees. Some of these trees include orange trees and lemon trees. There are also various types of honey which are used. For example, the honey which is used includes pine honey and thyme honey. Moreover, while beef dishes are very common, there are also other types of meat which are used. For example, poultry and rabbit are also types of meat which are common in Greece. It was mentioned that olive oil plays an important role in Greek cuisine. It is not just olive oil which is common, but also olives themselves. The Kalamata olives, for example, are one of the most famous types of olives in the world. These olives come from a particular region in Greece. There are many countries in the world which cultivate olives and call their olives Kalamata olives due to the good quality of these olives. However, it is important to note that not all olives which have “Kalamata” olives on the package are Kalamata olives.

Appetizers and salads

The Greek cuisine has a wide range of appetizers and salads. Appetizers are often referred to as Meze. These appetizers are commonly served in restaurants are they are often served to complement drinks. Meze are often served on a platter with a wide variety of different appetizers. Appetizers are therefore not only consumed right before dinner but can be eaten throughout the day as well. Meze are not only served in restaurants. They are also commonly served by hosts to their guests. Meze are not only easy to prepare but they also go well with various drinks. You can serve them with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. It is also possible to serve meze both hot and cold, depending on your preference as well as the type of meze you are serving. A commonly served meze is called Dolmadakia, also known as dolma. This appetizer is made from grapevine leaves. These leaves are stuffed with rice and vegetables. You will also be able to find dolma which is filled with rice and meat. Another commonly served meze is a Greek salad. A Greek salad is actually a very easy and basic salad. The ingredients of a Greek salad are tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, red onion and Kalamata olives. The dressing usually just consists of olive oil. There are different varieties to the Greek salad depending where you go in the Mediterranean. For example, the type of Greek salad which is served in Cyprus also includes spring onions, wheat and lemon juice.

Vegetarian main dishes

The Greek cuisine also has many vegetarian main dishes. This makes it a great cuisine for people who want to become vegetarian or want to start eating less meat. A popular vegetarian main dish is Bamies. This dish is made of okra with tomato sauce. It is also possible to find the dish prepared with potatoes. In the period when people are not fasting, the dish can also be prepared with lamb or chicken. Another popular vegetarian dish is Briam. This dish consists of a mix of summer vegetables. These vegetables are often oven-baked. The mix of vegetables which is most commonly used is onions, tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant.

Desserts and sweets

Desserts and sweets are also commonly consumed in Greek culture. Many Greek desserts have become famous around the world and commonly served. One of the most popular desserts is probably baklava. This dessert is made of phyllo pastry layers. This phyllo dough is filled with nuts and then drenched in honey. However, there is a lot of disagreement whether baklava is a Greek or Turkish dish. This is because in Turkey, the exact same dessert is served. There are many different ways to make baklava. For example, you can make baklava with pistachios but it is also possible to prepare it with walnuts. Diples are another famous Greek dessert. This dessert is commonly served during Christmas or during wedding ceremonies. It is made of thin dough which is then dipped in a large pot of hot olive oil. It is fried for only a couple of seconds and then it becomes a helical tube. Consequently, it is sprinkled with walnuts and honey.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 760x
Added: 15-02-2017 16:28
Last modified: 14-05-2017 15:14

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