Ya! That’s Greek for “Hello, Friends!”
Today I’ll be introducing 6 dynamite dishes from Greece to try on your next dream vacation to the Mediterranean. Ready to drool? Read on to lose all control of your saliva production.
Most likely invented in its modern variation by the Topkapi Palace in Instabul for a ceremony known as Baklava Alayi, baklava’s most ancient recipe is fairly similar to the ancient Roman placenta cake (you read that right). The placenta cake was composed of multiple doughy layers with cheese and bay leaves, and was doused in honey. Credit for the invention of baklava has been the Oreo filling of a sugary love triangle between Greece and the Turks for centuries – with neither side ceding.
Today, baklava is a dessert pastry baked with layers of phyllo (thin unleavened dough) and stuffed with nuts, then glazed with honey or syrup. It is sweet, rich, and flaky with just the slightest crisp. Mmm.
Fasolada is a traditional part of Greek culture and is considered one of its exquisite national dishes. Fasolada is a soup mainly comprised of dry white beans that have simmered with tomatoes, carrots, onions, parsley, celery, and a bay leaf, and topped with a helping of olive oil.
Perfect for a cool rainy day.
No, Aunt Susan, this is not a jye-roe, it is a yee-roe (stop it).
When we think “gyro” here in America, we think lamb wrapped in a warm pita and topped with tzatziki sauce (salted yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, dill, mint, and seasonings). Just thinking about it makes me literally drool. In Greece, gyros are a wee bit different. Instead of lamb, authentic gyros are commonly served with pork or chicken that’s been cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Oh, and in Northern Greece, they’ll serve it with ketchup or mustard.
Let’s talk pita bread: Pita is a yeast-leavened flatbread that is best served fresh from the oven while it is still warm (but it tastes great no matter what temperature it is). It’s light and slightly crispy when lightly toasted. Known for having an “inner pocket” (that’s great for shoving sticky meat inside by the way), pita is a staple for many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern homes.
Are you ready for this? Kokoretsi is lamb or goat intestines wrapped around offal (that’s animal entrails) and includes sweetbreads, hearts, lungs, or kidneys… Mmm… ??
In all seriousness, it sounds a little disturbing but it’s actually delicious. (Did you know natural sausage casing is made of intestine?) Kokoretsi is typically grilled and lightly seasoned. Sometimes it’s a little nerve-wracking to try something we aren’t culturally predisposed to, but life gets a whole lot more interesting when you open your mind to the possibilities. As I like to say – most things are worth trying at least once. It’s how I’ve found some of my fav foods.
Remember that offal we mentioned above? Offal, also known in the States as “variety meats” or “organ meats”, is considered a gourmet food. The word comes from several Germanic languages that translate to literally “off-fall” (or “off-fall-flesh”), which typically referred to the parts of the animal that fell off during butchering. Most of the time it wasn’t a reference to food at all but waste or rubbish.
Today offal is used in a variety of dishes – from well-known delicacies such as foie gras, pate, and sweetbread, to homely staples like liver and onions, sausage casings, chitterlings, and poultry gravy or stuffing.
Greece’s delicious Magiritsa is a soup made from lamb offal and includes onions, dill, butter, rice, and vegetables. Also known as Easter soup, it is typically prepared on Holy Saturday to be eaten after midnight mass.
Think Greek shish kebabs. Souvlaki is typically pork and vegetables grilled on a skewer and served with pita bread and fried potatoes.
Our earliest records of Greeks using skewers to cook food date to 17th century BC, where excavations unearthed stone supports in Santorini prior to the 17th Century BC eruption of Thera. Portable grills themselves were discovered dating back to Mycenean Greece (roughly between 1600 and 1100 BC), but these were no Propane-powered Weber grills: they are known today as Souvlaki Trays and were used to roast chunks of meat over glowing coals.
My stomach is screaming!
Here are 6 Dynamite Dishes in Greece you HAVE to try for your next luxury vacation. My personal fav is baklava and traditional gyros, but what about you? What’s your favorite Greek dish?
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Wishing you bliss,
—Lindsey, the Sun Bliss Luxury Blogger
Ia Orana! My name is Lindsey and I am a luxury travel specialist from Minnesota.
I am also the owner of Sun Bliss Travel, which uses its industry connections and specialized knowledge to design magical luxury vacations for travelers who want unforgettable VIP experiences. I first began my love of beach travel during a life-changing anniversary trip to Puerto Rico, where I swam in the ocean and explored the wilds of the rainforest.
But I am not just an agent or a (woman-led) small business owner — I’m an avid traveler myself who loves sunsets, cats, coffee and cooking. I live in Minnesota with my adorable fiancé and together we’ve built a life full of love, fun and bliss (and cats).