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  • Writer's pictureSpiced Cranachan

Flavours of Greece

Greek food has much in common with other cuisines of the Mediterranean. It boasts a variety of meats, vegetables, seafood, baked breads and pastries, and it leans heavily on its most ancient and signature ingredient – olive oil.

During my time in Greece, I was lucky enough to taste some truly delicious meals. While much of the food did become a little repetitive, and I did fall prey to the odd tourist trap, there were some genuinely impressive eateries.

The first came while looking for a late and lazy breakfast in Athens. I had asked our host about breakfast in the area, and he had been somewhat vague in his response; there would be, apparently, endless opportunities to buy fresh food wherever we walked. As we set off, I immediately understood what he meant.

There were bakeries and stalls selling freshly bakes breads and pastries on almost every street, and the comforting aroma of wheat, sesame and sugar filled our noses. We finally gave in and bought ourselves a treat.

Koulouri – specifically, dark chocolate and cherry koulouri.

I happily sat in the shade of some building as people went about their day, licking the sweet filling from the corners of my mouth and creating a puddle of sesame seeds around me.

I was never hungry around midday. The heat of the sun removed any interest in a hot meal.

There was one occasion, however, where we wandered by a taverna selling small dishes. Beneath the awning, we snacked on a salad of peppers, tomatoes, olives and pickled peppers, drizzled in olive oil and mounted by a slab of feta. We ate, completely at peace in the quiet of midday.

Dinner is always my favourite meal, whether abroad or at home.

Under a setting sun, when the light turns golden and the temperature finally cools, there is nothing better than enjoying a good meal with good company.

Throughout my time travelling in Greece, I had sampled souvlaki, spanakopita, skewered meats and gyros. However, my favourite dishes were the more Mediterranean-inspired dishes of the islands. Flavoursome, beautiful, complex and somewhat off the beaten track.

The highlight dinner of the trip undoubtedly hailed from Amorgos, easternmost island of the Cyclades.

Mushrooms sautéed in balsamic vinegar, accompanied with chicken cooked in a lemon spearmint sauce, pork neck chops marinated with florina pepper and thyme, and baked zucchini with feta cheese. The zucchini in particular was incredible, packed full of herbs and spices, and wonderfully soft.

The heat from the day had faded enough that I had goosebumps on my arms, but this was a welcome chill after a day beneath the intense sun. The shadows had grown long, but the evening was still bright – illuminated in gold. All around us was chatter in a hundred different languages and we added our own to the mix, praising our dinner and promising to return again.

Of all the food sampled in Greece, this was my favourite.


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