Olive oil is, by far, the most popular of all Greek products. According to mythology, the olive tree was Athena’s gift to the city of Athens. Today, Greece has approximately 120,000,000 olive trees, and Greek olive oil supplies 16% of the world market. Extra virgin olive oil is the foundation of all recipes in the healthy Greek/Mediterranean diet.
Greek honey is unique due to our climatological conditions. Different types of honey, such as honey from pine trees, thyme or citrus trees, burst with flavours and aromas, and can be found all over Greece. In addition to pure honey, Greek artisans create honey-based products,including Royal Jelly and Pollen Propolis.
In ancient Greece, Dionysus was honoured as the God of wine and revelry. Centuries later, Greek vineyards are still among the best and oldest in the world. Weather conditions and excellent grape varieties give us different wines, among the most famous being Xinomavro, Moshofilero, Asyrtiko, and Nemean. Many Greek wineries have won awards in international wine competitions.
This famous liquorice drink is served in thin glasses, with or without ice, and is paired with “mezes” as an aperitif. It has a high alcohol content and a unique anise flavour. Alternately, you could also sample Greek “tsipouro” or “raki”, which are distilled spirits without added sugar or anise flavour.
Saffron, or zafora, has been used (and loved) in kitchens dating back to ancient Egyptian and prehistoric Greek times. Today, it’s one of the most expensive spices in the world, used by top chefs (and passionate home cooks) to flavour their dishes. Greek saffron is exported in Europe, China and the US.
Greek yoghurt – full fat, tasty, healthy and bursting with nutrition – is all the rage in the culinary world. Locally, it’s still produced in the traditional way and is exported around the world. We encourage you to try it with honey and nuts, or with sour cherry syrup as a dessert.
There are several types of traditional Greek cheese, made either with goat or sheep milk, or from a combination of the two. Of course, the most famous of all Greek cheeses is the briny, crisp and oh-so-delicious feta. Feta cheese is a white, slightly salty cheese that can be found in hard or soft variety. (Fun fact: The oldest reference to feta cheese is found in Homer’s Odyssey, in the 8th century BCE.)
Also known as avgotaraho, this traditional fish roe is a gourmet delicacy similar to caviar, but far less expensive. (Which means we can enjoy it more often!) Avgotarahocomes from the female kefalos fish, and is a top-chef suggestion for the gourmet palate.
Mastiha is a resin from the mastic tree, which grows exclusively in Greece, on the island of Chios. Hippocrates, the father of medicine noted that mastiha could be used for healing purposes, mostly for maladies of the stomach. While in Greece, you can try mastiha in the form of chewing gum, liquor and cosmetic products.
Welcome to the Greek paradise of Herbs !
The most delicious smells that come from a Greek kitchen are thanks to the aromatical herbs used in local recipes. We mainly use in the kitchen herbs such as parsley, dill weed, bay leaves, rosemary, garden mint and basil Also arugula, fennel leaves and of course oregano ! . Marjoran and sage are often used as an herb tea for upset stomach. In Greece there some hundreds of different herbs known for their medicinal properties. Ancient Greeks knew about them and used them for treatment besides to add flavor and aroma to the food. People that live in the countryside and close to nature recognize types of herbs and pick them by hand. When you see especially women picking something from the ground they are actually collecting herbs. Herbs are best to be consumed the same day they are cut or once you dry them. If you are not familiar with the different types of herbs its better to avoid picking herbs yourself. You will find delicious handpicked herbs in local shops or even super markets.