As some of you will know, I’ve just spent a few days in Crete, which was really beautiful, particularly when we drove out into the countryside to see a little of the ‘real’ Crete.
We had some delicious food, which I wanted to share with you here, as it was mostly very healthy.
I intended taking lots of pictures of the food we were eating, but I wasn’t very diligent in doing that. Elissa always wants to eat right away when the food arrives, and doesn’t like to wait for 5 minutes, while I try to get the perfect food shot. Anyway, I can’t say much, as she gets that from me ;-)
The images I have added below, although stock images, reflect very closely the foods we were sampling on holidays, so you will get a good idea of what it was like.
We ate out every night, and what I enjoyed most about the Greek food was it’s simplicity. They really have a knack of taking a few ingredients, like plain meats, salad and rice, and turning them in something absolutely delicious and exciting to the taste buds!
Here are some of my favorite foods from our week in Crete…
1. Greek Salad
Almost every day I’d have a Greek salad. It is typically made with fresh tomatoes, sliced cucumber, green bell peppers, red onions, feta cheese, and olives; seasoned with salt and dried oregano; and dressed with olive oil… simplicity at its best!
Another staple of the Greek diet is tzatziki, and I absolutely love it.
If you haven’t tried it before, I really do recommend it, although some of the store-bought varieties don’t do it justice. However, it really is easy to make yourself, and a homemade version is superior in my opinion.
I had souvlaki a few times during the week.
The first time I had chicken, then I had the most amazing pork souvlaki (I think the rugged countryside and beautiful scenery all around made that meal extra special), and finally I had lamb souvlaki, which was nice, too, but a bit fatty.
Souvlaki is basically small pieces of meat on skewers, which are grilled or barbecued. The skewers sometimes have tomatoes, peppers and onions alternated between the meat, too. Then they are served with tzatziki, and a crunchy salad.
Moussaka is an oven-baked dish with layers of minced lamb or beef, sliced eggplant and/or potatoes, tomatoes and a sauce. It is quite similar to lasagne.
5. Stuffed Vine Leaves
I loved the stuffed vine leaves, and also had these a few times during the week.
It’s a very simple dish again, but absolutely delicious. The vine leaves are stuffed with a rice mixture, which sometimes has parsley or mint added. Again they usually come with tzatziki and salad on the side.
I also had a Greek plate one evening. That was basically a little taste of various traditional Greek foods. It had things like moussaka, stuffed vine leaves, kleftiko (slow cooked lamb), stuffed tomato, beans, tzatziki and salad… it was a taste explosion, and totally amazing!
Of course I also had to sample some of the traditional desserts while in Crete. They sell a lot of familiar sweet foods and ice creams, too, but I particularly wanted to try Baklava. It’s not healthy, but it is a must to sample :-)
Baklava is a classic Greek dessert, made with flaky pastry, that is layered with a cinnamon-spiced nut filling, then an amazing sweet syrup sauce is added on top to serve.
It is crunchy, sweet, and absolutely delicious!
7. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is obviously everywhere in Crete. And one thing I really loved about that is you can get it in all restaurants and coffee shops. This is really great if you are watching what you eat, because you are sure of a healthier option to choose from each time you eat out.
One of my favorite options was the Greek yogurt with local honey and nuts.
I also tried the Greek coffee, which is very similar to the Armenian coffee I’ve tasted before. I have to say, however, I prefer the Armenian coffee’s taste and texture.
Greek coffee is a very strong brew, served with a little foam on the top, and the coffee grounds in the bottom of the cup. The texture is quite thick and “grainy,” but definitely worth trying out, particularly if you enjoy strong coffee.
Now I’d just like to go back a stay for a month next time!
Have you visited Greece or any of the Greek islands? What are your favorite Greek foods?