It’s Greek to Me!
For me, the most exciting part of planning a trip is anticipating the cuisine of the region. Where we’ll eat and what we’ll eat, are as important as where we’ll stay and what sites we’ll see. Getting to know the place begins by getting to know its food. Naturally, I try to include cooking classes and wine tasting excursions in my travel plans whenever possible. The Greek Isles are ripe with opportunities to taste wonderful food and to take in the beauty of this Mediterranean treasure.
Since Greece is central to the Mediterranean Sea, its cuisine is both a reflection of the local fare as well as other cuisines in the region. The flavors of Greece are marked by olive oil for sure, but they also include vegetables and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and meats. Lamb, poultry, rabbit, and pork are eaten less often compared to fish. Olives, cheeses, eggplant, zucchini, and yogurt are all quite popular. Greek desserts typically include nuts and honey and occasionally pastry or phyllo dough.
Mezes are small dishes, often served with wine or anise-flavored liqueurs, such as ouzo. Dips are served with loaf bread or pita. The herbs and spices of Greek cuisine include: oregano, mint, garlic, onion, dill, and bay leaves.
I love to sample the local fare and popular eateries wherever I go. More often than not, I’ll pry a recipe from the chef or do my best to recreate the dishes I liked best when I’m back at home. Fortunately, this week, I had the good fortune to host Ranan Richardson in my kitchen. Ranan is not only a full-time resident of Greece, she’s a tour guide with Convertible Caravans’ European Tours. Ranan shared some wonderful recipes with me straight from the popular restaurant stops on her tours to Greece.
Our menu started with a typical appetizer (meze) of Greek Olive and Walnut Spread, followed by a traditional salad featuring Roasted (or grilled) Eggplant. Then we grilled Mint Marinated Lamb Chops, which we served with a Red Wine Reduction Sauce over an Orzo Vegetable Sauté. For the finale we enjoyed an almond and semolina cake called Ravani!
If you have an opportunity to travel to Greece you can enjoy these mouth-watering dishes as you gaze upon the Med. Book a tour with Convertible Caravans and Receive a FREE Giftbag of European Taste Treats when you use promo code “Brown Lounge.” Otherwise, you can prepare any or all of these dishes at home, and just pretend you’re in Greece!
Holly Brown, Publisher, Foodie, WebTV Host