As the World Health Organization (WHO) never tires of telling us, the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Mediterranean cuisine, which makes us salivate while maintaining our health, encompasses Greek cuisine, rich in delicious gourmet flavours.
If you have a chance to get to Athens in the coming months, this little gourmet tour should help you organise your outings!
Greece is rich in culinary specialities, each more delicious than the last. Some are popular worldwide, like tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and mint), feta (sheep’s milk cheese), moussaka (a gratin of eggplant with ground meat) and dolmatdakia me rizi (stuffed grape leaves).
But a trip to Athens is an opportunity to learn a whole lot more about Greek cuisine and its incomparably fresh foods. For example, there’s Tiropita, puff pastry with feta, at once crisp and melt-in-the-mouth good; Melitzanosalata, a fresh aubergine salad; Spetsofai, Pilio sausage or Souvlaki, consisting of thin slices of meat (beef or pork) and often grilled vegetables en brochette.
On the sweet side, the Greeks have no reason to envy their neighbours when it comes to flavoursome sweets. These include kourabiedes, thick, soft butter biscuits; loukoumis, fruit-and-sugar jellies; and halva, a treat made with semolina, almonds, sesame and olive oil.
On the drinks side, Greeks love Ouzo, probably the country’s most popular aperitif, with a pronounced taste of anise. Greece also produces many quality white wines like Retsina, Boutari and Cambas.
Finally, the country’s best-known beer is Mythos, to be served well-chilled with some tasty nibbles.
WHERE TO EAT IN ATHENS
Like all capital cities, Athens has its share of fine restaurants where you can chow down. One of the most talked-about restaurants is Petrino, featuring traditional Greek cuisine, perfectly executed.
Lobster, feta and typical meat dishes ... Here, everything possible is done to plunge you into the core of Greek gastronomy in the setting of your dreams!
Dousmani 26, Glyfada
Τ.Κ 166 74
Another great place for exploring Mediterranean cuisine is Lalloudes, on the seashore. Italian chef Stefano Morroni's cooking embraces both Greek and Italian specialities, with savoury sun-dried tomatoes, salads combing the specialities of both countries, and excellent Greek wines.
22, Akti A. Akti Koymoyndourou
CULTURAL TOURS IN ATHENS
If you would like to deepen your knowledge of Greek cuisine, we have two suggestions for you.
The first is to head for the Museum of Greek Gastronomy, located right in the centre of Athens. In this two-storey early 20th century building, you’ll find all the local products, traditional methods and typical recipes of the various eras and regions of Greece.
The Museum features many audiovisual and interactive displays, as well as photographs, telling you everything you need to know about how traditional dishes are made. You can take an introductory class in the various techniques and best-guarded secrets of Greek cuisine. Finally, gourmets can end their tour with a meal at the Museum’s restaurant to try typical and creative dishes.
Museum of Greek Gastronomy
13 Agiou Dimitriou
Finally, if you enjoy walking, you should know that there are guides who offer food tours of the city. With these experts, you’ll learn about healthy and traditional Greek cuisine by way of a traditional lunch, where you will savour a koulóuria (sesame brioche) and visit the capital’s biggest markets and finest spice shops.
An opportunity to discover great places to eat while listening to anecdotes about Greece’s food heritage.