When you think of the islands of Greece, food and wine instantly come to mind - lashings of olive oil, hints of garlic, the arousing smell of fresh herbs, and soothing trickle of a good wine that melts in your mouth as the tannins come to life - need I say more?
With a mix of cultures affecting the culinary flavours of the Greek Islands, sampling the food of this Mediterranean paradise is not just a tasty treat - it holds the key to a true Greek cultural experience.
With culinary roots that date back 4,000 years and recipes that have stood the test of time, cooking in Greece is a tangible part of the country’s heritage, connecting generations through fresh ingredients and simple yet complex seasoning.
With the influence of Ottoman cuisine, Greek food focuses heavily on olive oil, an essential accompaniment that could only be equated to salt and pepper, to those that are not acquainted with the Mediterranean palette.
As you head to the south to the islands, you’ll be surprised to encounter Greek adaptations of Italian classics that have evolved to become their own delicate creations. Similarly, Greece cuisine has a strong focus on the variety of fresh ingredients that are available throughout the country.
Greek food is diverse. Meat-eaters, bread lovers, budget travellers and Michelin-star foodies will never cease to be amazed by the dishes that are put in front of them. A staple that will delight vegan and vegetarians is the abundance of fresh vegetables, a paramount element of every meal, cooked to perfection and constantly changing with the season to make sure that you are always getting the most vibrant flavours.
To get to the heart of what Greek food is all about, you simply have to try it. And lots of it. We’ve taken note of the best of the Greek islands, hunting out dishes that will leave you salivating. You’ll be dreaming of olive oil coating your mouth with additions of salty sweetness that will have you itching to meet up with Tripfuser’s Local Travel Agents, who will make your food dreams come true.
SNACKS IN CRETE
Traversing through winding coastal roads and up into valleys between Elafonisi and Balos beach, you’ll be dazzled by the stunning views that provide the perfect balance between rugged hilltops and sparkling azure seas. However, the winding roads prove to be tiring work, with little room to relax, so it’s best to get some snacks for the journey. Luckily, there are numerous fresh olive and almond stalls interspersed along the way.
With an al dente crunch and juicy bittersweet flavours, the olives are coated in silky homemade olive oil marinade, seasoned with fresh oregano or thribi - a Greek herb that is only found in the islands. The almonds are coated in sweet homemade honey; while they’ll definitely provide you with a sugar hit, the flavour fails to interrupt the nutty subtleness of the almond.
BAKERIES IN MILOS
The dusty, rugged plains of Milos make the island seem otherworldly. White limestone, carved by the weather to create curious shapes that lead you to the rocks jutting out from the clear waters. Here, you’ll experience the truly unique feeling that you are the only one on the island, as you explore the waters and caves that show you what nature can offer.
After a hard day revelling in nature, head to the nearest village to be a little adventurous with the food.
Have you ever tried a Greek pie? Now is your chance. Fine layers of filo are grounded by the earthy flavours of spinach, spring onion and elevated by the creamy texture of feta that together, offer you one of Milos’ greatest snacks, Spanakopita. The textures and flavours of this hearty slice of heaven will leave a satisfied smile on your face and warming fullness in your stomach.
BE WINED AND DINED IN ANTIPAROS
Quaint, cute and quirky, Antiparos is the little sister of neighbouring island, Paros; an island of bohemian bliss where you can kick back and relax in pure tranquillity.
By day, quiet empty beaches call, and by night, beachfront taverns offer you a seat to watch the sun disappear past the horizon while sipping on a glass of wine and sampling seafood risotto. All fresh ingredients are fresh that day, of course. Not forgetting the wine, which is produced locally too.
STAY LOCAL IN MYKONOS
Ranked highly on the bucket list for island lovers, Mykonos is a slice of paradise that will inevitably steal your heart.
Crisp white taverns and cloister-lined streets complemented by crystalline waters; the island has rapidly become one of the top tourist destinations in the country, if not Europe, which may start to raise questions for those seeking the ultimate local culinary experience. Until you find Kiki’s Tavern.
Hidden on the cusp of Agios Sostis beach, Kiki’s is famous among locals and foodies looking for heartwarming Greek home-cooking, so much so that you can wait up to two hours for a table. Fear not, you’ll be given a glass of wine to help pass the time.
Kiki’s goes by old-fashioned rules: fresh, locally sourced food, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. With a variety of salad, meat and fish dishes available, this food is for sharing, although when you try it, you might find that quite difficult.
With no electricity to be found, Kiki’s Tavern has a charming intimate feel that, when paired with homemade traditional dishes, creates an unforgettable dining experience.
While each dish and snack around the islands has its own character, story and flavour, all hold one thing in common - homegrown goodness! The islands capture the history and culture of Greek food, through locally sourced, fresh food that is prepared with love and care. When matched with the soothing sounds of crashing waves, you have an unrivalled pairing that will transform your Greek experience into something truly unique.
Can’t wait to get stuck in? Meet one of Tripfuser’s Local Travel Agents now.
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