Greek food is the mother of all Mediterranean diets: historically rich, fantastically delicious, and supremely nutritious. Greeks tend to believe their diet is wholesome and healthy. Widely researched and reported all over the world, the healthy "Mediterranean diet" is said to lower cholesterol and promote a long life.
Almost everyone knows some famous Greek recipe like moussaka, souvlaki, Greek salad or baklavas, but Greek food is more than that. Greek gastronomy has a recorded history of around 4,000 years, with special characteristics based on pure and unique quality products, from the rich Greek soil.
The climate of Greece is advantageous and Greece produces an incredible variety of organically products; cheese, oil, fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables, wild herbs, aromatic herbs. These are the foods that form the base of the traditional Greek diet. While each Greek meal is fresh and inviting, it is also a trip back through Greece's history. Bread, olives and wine constituted the triptych of the Greek diet for many centuries, just as they do today. Greek food is based on simple and healthy ingredients. Preparing and enjoying Greek food, anywhere in the world, is an adventurous journey into the cradle of civilization and the land of the Gods of Olympus.
Fruit is relatively inexpensive and available mainly by season, though in more cosmopolitan spots one can find such things as avocados for much of the year. Other major ingredients include liberal use of lemon juice, pepper, oregano, garlic, and tomatoes in different iterations (fresh, peeled, paste, etc.). In terms of meat, while most would associate sheep and goat as the main consumed products, according to a study by the Agricultural University of Athens “pork holds first place among consumers” preferences, covering 35.6% of total consumption, poultry covers 21.7%, bovine meat covers 20.3%, and goat and sheep meat cover 14.8%." Moreover, no place in Greece is further than 85 miles from the coast and all types of seafood and shellfish have been an important food for the Greeks.
The Romans adopted Greek cuisine and developed it from the time of the foundation of Rome until the fall of Byzantium. Greek cuisine shares a wide range of dishes, habits, and techniques, with Italian cuisine as well as with old Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire, because Greek food has been influenced by many other culinary traditions. Consequently, our contemporary cuisine shares many names with other cultures - the Moussaka and Baklava are Turkish names, whereas dishes like the Pastitsada have a strong Italian flavour.
The Greeks revere the olive tree. Olive oil is known for its therapeutic properties to combat high cholesterol, poor metabolism, obesity and breast cancer. Greek olive oil is renowned all around the world for its purity and its exceptional taste. It is one of the main ingredients in any traditional Greek recipe. 80% of the olive oil produced in Greece is the superior quality oil called extra virgin. Greece is now the biggest producer in the world.
Cooking with local, seasonal ingredients is something many of us aspire to do more often. And it makes sense: seasonal cooking is such a nice way to celebrate where you live and understand the seasons. This is the key of the Greek cooking that makes the Greek food so delectable.