Greek culinary specialties
Greek cuisine is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Mediterranean cookery, drawing influences from Italian, Balkan, and Turkish origins. Preparations are simple and high quality ingredients are always used. Olive oil, for example, is a primary ingredient that is rarely left out of any Greek recipe.
- Some of the most savoury and world renowned Greek specialties are moussaka, layers of eggplant and ground lamb in a tomato sauce flavoured with cinnamon and red wine, and avgolemono, chicken with rice, eggs, seasoning, and lemon juice. Fish, seafood, and grilled meats are also widely eaten. Appetizers often include keftedes, or spicy meatballs, or tzatziki, a yogurt, cucumber, and pickle sauce. Among the most famous of Greek pastries are baklava, which are layers of honey, vanilla, and nuts.
Greek salads, of course, have risen to international fame due to their freshness and easy preparation. Perhaps the most recognizable food in the country, Greek salads traditionally contain olive oil, tomato, cucumber, and feta cheese. Greek olives are also a common addition.
- Two classic beverages contribute to authentic Greek gastronomy: retsina and ouzo. Retsina is a special wine prepared with pine resin harvested from pine trees, and ouzo is an aniseed liquor that turns cloudy when added to water.