Gastronomy Experiences in Greece
Gastronomical and culinary holidays are ideal for Greece, as Greek cuisine is truly unique and can set your tastes buds buzzing with delight. Over the past decade or so, there has been an increasing number of people visiting the country who wish to learn more about local cuisine and gastronomy.
Not everyone travels for gastronomical reasons, though there are a number of people who do. They are called “gastrotourists” and they travel around the world to sample and learn more about local foods and cuisine, to discover new flavours and enjoy local tastes, as well as have the chance to better understand the local way of living, as well as the culinary habits of a certain region.
There are other forms of tourism that go together with gastro-tourism, such as wellness and rural tourism, which enhances the understanding of dietary cuisine, as well as the promotion of eating health and growing local produce.
Greece has lots to offer those who are looking for culinary holidays, where you can learn about all of the elements of the Mediterranean diet and Greek cuisine in general. There are workshops and cooking and tasting sessions organized with professionals who are distinguished in the their specific fields, and are well known chefs. Greek gastronomy has a history dating back over 4,000 years, with characteristics based on pure and unique quality of Greek land. In fact it was Archestratus who in 330 B.C. wrote the first cookbook in history.
Dozens of scientific studies have demonstrated the positive effect of a balanced Greek diet with regards to health, beauty, longevity. Moreover, the nutritional culture of the Greeks has traditionally added an extraverted and social dimension to the table, combining culinary satisfaction with entertainment and communication, maintaining today some overtones from ancient feasts.
Contrary to the perception that most people have on Greek cuisine, you will find that the latter is not only 'moussaka', 'kebab' and 'Greek salad', but that it consists of a wide variety of dishes that can be fully satisfy the gastronomic quests of both meat eaters and vegetarians.
The Essential Components
Greek cuisine has four secrets: good quality fresh ingredients, the proper use of herbs and spices, the famous Greek olive oil and simplicity.
The Greek olive oil deserves a special mention. Present in almost all Greek dishes, most used in abundance, it is of truly excellent quality and very good for healthy living. Furthermore, it is known that thanks to the mild Greek climate, greenhouse cultivation of vegetables is customary. Consequently, most vegetables are grown outdoors and thus keep all the aroma and flavour. You will be delighted by the taste of Greek tomatoes, lettuces, carrots, onions, parsley and garlic.
One thing that you should not forget is the rich flavor and aroma of fresh Greek fruits which includes grapes, cherries, peaches, apricots, melon and watermelon. The herbs that the Greeks collect from the mountains and countryside, are renowned for their taste, scent and healing properties. When eating one of the many different dishes, the aroma of oregano, thyme, spearmint or rosemary will seduce you.
Do not forget to also try the Greek cheeses and particularly feta. Since sheep and goats are grazing and pastures are very rich in herbs, meats have a unique taste, you will not see anywhere else.
The Greek Philosophy of Dining
The time of day when the Greeks gather around a table to enjoy a meal or various appetizers (known as mezedes) with ouzo, is a time when all the inhabitants of this country held in reverence. The Greeks, sharing a meal with friends, at home, in a restaurant or in a tavern is a deeply rooted social affair.
The Greek word symposium, one word as ancient as the country, if translated exactly means "drinking with company". The atmosphere in typical Greek restaurants and tavernas is very relaxed and unpretentious. Food preparation, on the other hand, has its own sacred rules. Good amateur cooks are held in high esteem by their social context, while a good housewife in Greece, means a good cook. And a good cook can spend days preparing a meal for his friends and loved ones.
Try a glass of ouzo or wine accompanied by barbecued octopus or any other Greek dish, while sitting beneath the shade of a tree in a small tavern by the sea, on one of the Aegean islands. Then when you go back home, try repeating that experience by preparing the same dish and serving the same drink. Wherever you decide to have it, you will soon discover that it is not the same taste.
There is nothing wrong with the delicacy of your palate or your cooking skills, but that the Greek meal experience, namely the combination of what you eat and where you eat, simply cannot be repeated, exported or duplicated. It is just something that you will find and taste only in Greece.
You are visiting a country blessed with the fruit of beauty, which is inherited from the Mediterranean basin. The heterogeneous morphology opens your horizons for every possible experience, even for those that seem impossible. Forget that Greece means only sun and sea. The Greek cuisine promises to give you a culinary experience that will be simply unforgettable.
Here you can join the game of discovering new experiences, flavors, perfumes, unique landscapes, colors and authentic products. The gastronomy of the place will delight you: traditional Greek breakfast, colourful authentic Mediterranean cuisine, Greek local products with designation of origin, delicate wines, delicious beers and local spirits.
If one could see Greece from above and focus on anything interesting, he would take a lifetime to discover the many small paradises. Across the country follow the paths that connect the striking shades of blue and green with its wealth of raw materials.
The gastronomic wealth of Greece is concentrated in a giant bouquet of natural aromas and flavors. Peel the most juicy peaches and let the juice run like a bracelet around the fingers and the wrist. Hold it in your mouth a sip of possible red Macedonian or fruity Santorini wine and let the lengthy aftertaste to intoxicate you.
Feel power and energy in your whole body from the Greek breakfast. Ask small producers to reveal the secrets of a good harvest. Swim at dawn or join the fishermen at the bottom of the Aegean. Discover with surprise a new material, a wild grass freshly cut, tight scarlet flesh of the tomato in a courtyard with reeds and around cicadas buzzing in favor of summer.
Wine and local spirits in Greece
Discover the winning Greek wines from historical vineyards and varieties. Share traditional local drinks such as a raki or ouzo from a local producer, or enjoy the delicious and refreshing Greek beers that have been gaining in reputation over recent years. Finally do not forget to taste the unique mastic, a liqueur and a cocktail. Allow the heady harvest of the Greek land to accompany all of your moments, regardless of their size.
You will be able to find anumber of different cookery and cuisine related workshops available at locations all around the country. Here you can take cookery lessons and learn about the various ingredients that combine to create the unique flavours of Greek cuisine, as well as put into practise what you have learnt and prepare meals for yourself and others to sample.
Discover the flavor of Greece through a fascinating journey along its truly unique and irreplaceable gastronomical paths!