One of the great joys of chartering a yacht is being able to explore new places and learn about foreign cultures. Especially if you’re a foodie at heart, the best way to truly experience the essence of a destination is by connecting with its cuisine. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in Greece, where ingredients and preparation play an essential role in society.
If you’re planning a trip to this Eastern Mediterranean paradise, read on to find out what’s in store and what you can’t afford to miss. You may also pick up a few important pieces of dining vocabulary.
Also known in the singular form of meze, mezedes are small plates or appetizers served before or sometimes alongside the main course. They are often complemented by ouzo (an anise-flavoured aperitif) or tsipouro.
Some of the most popular and widely found mezedes are:
- Fresh feta cheese served with oregano and extra virgin olive oil
- Spanakopita- small spinach and feta turnovers wrapped in phyllo
- Tzatziki- a savoury Greek yogurt sauce served with pita, bread, meatballs or potatoes
- Dolmas- Grape leaves wrapped around a filling of seasoned rice with onions and dill or minced meat
- Htapodi- Fried, grilled or boiled octopus served with lemon juice and olive oil
- Kalamarakia- fried squid
On the coasts of Greece and its surrounding islands you can often see the fish you’ll soon be eating being brought in off the boats. It’s not uncommon to see fisherman beating fresh octopi on the rocks in order to tenderise it; it is then hung on a line in the sun to dry before grilling. Seafood is a natural choice when you’re on the water but you’ll also find plenty of grilled meats such as tender lamb and goat.
Be sure to try these quintessential main courses:
- Moussaka- a baked casserole of spiced meat layered with eggplant and topped with a creamy béchamel sauce.
- Pastitsio- also an oven-baked casserole dish, with pasta, béchamel sauce, minced meat and tomato sauce; the Greek answer to Italian lasagne.
- Paidakia- lamb chops marinated in lemon, oregano, salt and pepper and then grilled
- Gyros- a common fast food or street food, gyros consist of meat (pork, lamb, beef or a combination) roasted on a vertical spit and then served on pita bread with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and tzatziki sauce.
- Keftedakia- fried meatballs
- Souvlaki- skewers of grilled meat (chicken, pork or lamb).
Soups and Salads
The Greek diet as a whole is known for promoting longevity and health, and with the amount of fresh vegetables, pulses and herbs in the cuisine it’s easy to see why. Aside from the iconic Greek salad you can also sample a range of delicious soups and vegetable dishes. Vegetarians will also find a wide range of options.
Traditional Greek salad
- Avgolemono- a chicken and rice soup with lemon
- Fasolada- bean soup with plenty of vegetables and a generous amount of olive oil
- Psarosoupa- fish soup prepared in various ways depending on location
- Briam- baked dish of summer vegetables
- Horta- greens (often wild), often served as an appetizer with potatoes and Greek bread
- Lachanosalata- shredded cabbage salad with olive oil, salt, vinegar and lemon
Desserts are a real treat anywhere in Greece, with ingredients such as fresh local honey, local walnuts, farm-fresh butter, sweet cream and lemon.
Feed your sweet tooth with these options and don’t forget to buy a box of baklava to bring back to the boat!
- Koulourakia- cookies made with butter or olive oil
- Loukoumades- fried balls of dough (much like doughnuts) with honey, cinnamon and sesame seeds.
- Amygdalopita- Almond pie
- Loukomi- a starch and sugar confection also known as Turkish delight
- Galaktoboureko- layers of phyllo filled with custard and soaked in honey-lemon syrup
There are thousands of delicacies to discover in each part of Greece- each island has its local specialties and of course regional wines and liqueurs. Allow yourself plenty of time to languish over long, relaxed meals with plenty of courses.
You’ll also find plenty of tasty provisions for meals prepared on board- for personal recommendations of where to go and what to eat, feel free to contact us. You can also browse our selection of yacht charters for Greece.