I am not going to try to describe Greek food to you in one email. Yes, Greek food might be some of the food you are familiar with back home. The lamb, stuffed grape leaves, eggplant, Greek EVOO, olives, and Barry the V’s favorite, Greek salad.
But after just a few days here, Greek food has opened my eyes. First, they value and only eat FRESH food. Nothing is frozen, since most homes do not have freezers. The stores have few if any prepared or packaged foods. Second, going to market every day is as natural as a Hendrix Afro. The magnitude of their food spectrum is beyond comprehension, yet, they enjoy other ethnic foods, such as stir fry, Italian, Japanese, Thai, and yes, even American. Burgers are rather ubiquitous here.
And though I have never believed in the Mediterranean diet, it does seem to work here for them.
On the plus side, I do not see as many people exercising here as do Americans back home. How do they do it?
They love the cafe’ culture like most Europeans. And their coffee is VERY strong. Very!!
I am impressed by the quality and variety of their cheeses. It seems the three most popular are feta, mozzarella, and goat.
But so far, I am not impressed by Greek wines or Greek coffee. The people are much better!!!! I gave them some Starbucks dark roast, which they thought was very strong!
Too many smokers here, like Turkey, and much of Europe. Restaurants do NOT have no smoking sections!
The coffee is just okay here, I was expecting it to pack a real caffeine punch.
Today was bbq chicken and doner kababs at a local place my friends picked out, somewhere in Athens. The pita is outstanding!!
I enjoyed the grilled fish the most. After that, I enjoyed the lamb, beef stew with pasta, Greek salads, pita, and veal chops.
The house wines of the Greek restaurants are quite good, and cheap! I also enjoyed the mastika, but not the ouzo.
Perhaps I did not embark on the gourmet or Michelin route, but I had a great time trying the really local stuff.
Everyone has warned me how expensive Santorini will be compared to Athens.
From Lonely Planet: The core ingredients of Greek cooking are often found in the chef’s garden. Feta and olive oil are universal across the country, but unique regional produce and cooking styles make travelling here a culinary adventure. Taste herbs and mountain greens you’ve never heard of, mussels steamed in ouzo, bread baked with olives, and fish straight from the sea. Taste-test crumbling feta, honeyed soft cheeses and sharp, hard rounds. Find Italian influences in risottos and pastas and Turkish spices woven into delicate sweets. A traditional-cooking renaissance has chefs lifting time-honoured recipes to new gourmet heights.
Bottom line: Greeks enjoy themselves, whether dining, drinking, or ??