While most eat to live, the Greeks live to eat… and drink! As anyone who has visited Greece will tell you, for Greeks, eating and drinking is not only a basic need, it is a divine art! In a land blessed with sun, sea and olive trees, the plethora of traditional Greek flavors will rival anything you’ve had before! From the remote villages of the Peloponnese to the famed Greek islands and the bustling metropolis of Athens, the variety of dishes will satisfy even the most demanding traveler’s taste buds – in every season of the year. How to eat and drink like a local in Greece? Grab a seat at our table and find out!
How to Eat and Drink Like a Local in the Peloponnese
It’s only fair to start this culinary guide on how to eat and drink like a local in Greece with an introduction to the national food of the Greeks - Fasolada (bean soup)! Every vegetarian’s delight, Fasolada is no ordinary bean soup as you know it. Cooked with all the seasonal ingredients and a drizzle of raw Kalamata extra-virgin olive oil on top, it’s nutritional, keeps you warm on cold winter days, but above all - it’s yummy! But never is a Greek bean soup complete without being accompanied by a handful of Greek olives, some anchovies, homemade bread baked in a woodburning oven and a glass of red house wine!
Olive oil is a huge part of the Greek culinary culture. Besides using it to cook practically everything, they dip their homemade bread into it, dress their salads and even pour it over feta cheese, with a pinch of oregano! The best olive oil in the world is said to come from Kalamata. It’s no wonder it is found on almost every taverna or restaurant table in Greece; it saves the waiter an extra trip since you’ll like it so much that you’ll definitely want more!
The Olympia region, in the Peloponnese, is not only world-renowned as the birthplace of the Olympic Games but also for its rich soils which are said to have been blessed by the Olympian gods! Tomatoes, citrus fruits and olives are cultivated in the villages around Olympia. Its lush vegetation also makes it the ultimate place for the production of honey, predominantly thyme honey. A local, yet sinful, favorite sweet is Diples, a handmade dough, fried and topped with honey and nuts! Don’t miss the chance to taste the famous Greek olives and blends of olive oil, the essence of the Mediterranean Diet, on an Olympia - Katakolon joined tour & free olive oil tasting experience! Local wineries also offer the tasting of the superb local wines, produced in the region for over a millennium, on an Olympia & Wine Flavors tour. Find out all you need to know before visiting Ancient Olympia and discover how to eat and drink like a local in the Peloponnese.
How to Eat and Drink Like a Local on the Greek Islands
There might be “plenty of fish in the sea”, but none taste as good as those from the Mediterranean! After a refreshing dip, eat and drink like a local on the Greek Islands! Just walk right over to the nearest seaside taverna and have your pick from the catch of the day buried under a pile of ice. On the Greek Islands, you will definitely find fresh seafood cooked in a way that Greek islanders know best; charcoal grilled octopus or fresh out of the water sea bream; fried red mullets or kalamari; shrimp in tomato sauce, lobster or clam pasta… the list is endless. But don’t forget the ouzo! Because nothing goes better with seafood under the Greek sun and a view of that Aegean blue than a tantalizing ouzo on the rocks!
If you are one of the lucky travelers to be visiting the island of Santorini, be prepared for a gastronomical revelation! The island’s volcanic ash soil produces one-of-a-kind cherry tomatoes, prized fava beans, wild capers and some of the best wine on the planet! World-famous since the Middle Ages, Santorini wines need no introduction. So, uncork the flavors of Santorini and say cheers to all your senses on a Santorini Island - 5 Senses tour designed to reveal the secrets of the island’s carefully selected wineries; a banquet of tastes and flavors that only Santorini can present its visitors!
Let’s face it! Mykonos without a local guide is like “soup without salt!” Sure, there are dozens of things to see and do (and shop!) but for an authentic culinary experience, don’t get lost in the maze. Only someone who knows can show you how to eat and drink like a local on the Greek Islands! For a start, there’s nothing like fresh out-of-the-oven phyllo pie from a true Mykonian bakery, just to kick off your tour of the highlights of Mykonos Town. And who doesn’t love cheese, right? Well, the good news is that Mykonos has its own dairy factory which makes, among other cheese, a kopanisti, a pungent, peppery cheese spread, which is to die for! And to end it like a true local, an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day straight from the tap! Liberate the Giants buried under the rocks for centuries by Hercules at the Mykonos Brewing Company with a Mikònu Pale Ale fit for heroes!
How to Eat and Drink Like a Local in Athens
A foodie’s paradise, the streets of Athens are filled with aromas; freshly baked bread in the morning, fried delicacies for that midday meze - the Greek tapas style appetizer, the lingering ouzo scent of anise coming from the corner kafeneion or the hearty main meal lunch of roast or stewed vegetables that will make any traveler on a tour of Athens kneel. But if you are wondering how to eat and drink like a local in Athens, head for the backstreets! That’s where you’ll find the hidden Greek gems.
Discover the tavernas, the traditional eateries of Greece, and experience the Zorba the Greek type dining in the best neighborhoods of Athens. After you have ordered some hima, house wine served in carafes by the kilo, the real fun begins! Hot garlic tzatziki, spicy kopanisti, pungent eggplant dip, black Kalamata olives, feta cheese topped with olive oil and oregano, kasseri cheese saganaki, and horiatiki or Greek salad are just to name a few of the mouth-watering appetizers that you will have to choose from. And if you think that maybe you should skip the fries - think again! Nowhere have you had fried potatoes like in Greece! These real freshly-peeled potatoes, fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and oregano, are a meal entirely on there own! But we’re not done, the best is yet to come. The main course could be anything from ladera, vegetables cooked in tomato sauce and olive oil, to grilled lamb chops that will have you calling out for more! Moussaka, usually eaten in winter when eggplants are in season, and dolmades, meatballs wrapped in vine leaves, are other favorites among young and old alike.
Dessert time is the right time to start unbuckling your belts! Greek yogurt with honey; Halva, a semolina sweet with cinnamon; Baklava, the epitome of Greek dessert of phyllo with nuts and syrup, Galaktoboureko, creamy custard pie; Loukoumades, golden balls of fried dough sprinkled with honey or sometimes chocolate syrup; seasonal fruit or preserved fruit spoon sweets are all on the menu.
How to eat and drink like a local in Athens when you’re in a hurry? Greek street food! Your Insider’s Guide to All the Best in Athens will tell you that the top street food in Greece is no other than the famous souvlaki! Greeks have it on a stick sprinkled with lemon and a piece of bread stuck to the tip or rolled in pita bread with tzatziki, tomato, onion and fries. They may have one, or two, for brunch, they may have it for lunch, a snack or even for dinner.
With rich fertile soils, the warm Greek sun, the salty deep blue sea and all these sensational dishes to choose from, it’s no wonder Greeks are always happy. Food is their top choice of pastime and a way of life! They take their time, savor every bite and drink to their health! Experience how to eat and drink like a local in Greece and gladden your heart and stomach. Because life in Greece is truly delicious!