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Greek cuisine (Greek : Ελληνική κουζίνα, romanized: Elliniki kouzina) is a Mediterranean cuisine. Contemporary Greek cookery makes wide use of vegetables, olive oil, grains, fish, wine (white and red), and meat (including lamb, poultry, veal, beef, rabbit, and pork). Other important ingredients include olives, pasta (especially hilopites, a kind of pasta similar to tagliatelle), cheese, lemon juice, herbs, bread, and yogurt. The most commonly used grain is wheat; barley is also used. Common dessert ingredients include nuts, honey, fruits, and filo pastries. It is strongly influenced by Ottoman cuisine and thus, (especially the cuisine of Anatolian Greeks), shares foods such as baklava, tzatziki, moussaka, dolmades, yuvarlakia and keftedes with Turkey and the neighboring countries. It is also influenced by Italian cuisine and cuisines from the northern countries. Additionally, in specific regions it includes several kinds of pasta, like hilopites, goglies (goges) etc
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Romanization of Greek is the transliteration (letter-mapping) or transcription (sound-mapping) of text from the Greek alphabet into the Latin alphabet. The conventions for writing and romanizing Ancient Greek and Modern Greek differ markedly, which can create confusion. The sound of the English letter B was written as β in ancient Greek but is now written as the digraph μπ, while the modern β sounds like the English letter V instead. The Greek name Ἰωάννης became Johannes in Latin and then John in English, but in Greek itself has instead become Γιάννης; this might be written as Yannis, Jani, Ioannis, Yiannis, or Giannis, but not Giannes or Giannēs as it would have been in ancient Greek. The masculine Greek word Ἅγιος or Άγιος might variously appear as Hagiοs, Agios, Aghios, or Ayios, or simply be translated as "Holy" or "Saint" in English forms of Greek placenames.
Mediterranean cuisine is the foods and methods of preparation by people of the Mediterranean Basin region. The idea of a Mediterranean cuisine originates with the cookery writer Elizabeth David's book, A Book of Mediterranean Food (1950), though she wrote mainly about French cuisine. She and other writers including the Tunisian historian Mohamed Yassine Essid define the three core elements of the cuisine as the olive, wheat, and the grape, yielding olive oil, bread and pasta, and wine; other writers emphasize the diversity of the region's foods and deny that it is a useful concept. The geographical area covered broadly follows the distribution of the olive tree, as noted by David and Essid.
Greek cuisine has a culinary tradition of some 4,000 years and is a part of the history and the culture of Greece. Its flavors change with the season and its geography.Greek cookery, historically a forerunner of Western cuisine, spread its culinary influence, via ancient Rome, throughout Europe and beyond. It has influences from the different people's cuisine the Greeks have interacted with over the centuries, as evidenced by several types of sweets and cooked foods.
The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation state of Greece as well as that of the Greek people and the areas they inhabited and ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has varied throughout the ages and as a result the history of Greece is similarly elastic in what it includes. Generally, the history of Greece is divided into the following periods:
The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine Empire. Other cultures and states such as the Frankish states, the Ottoman Empire, the Venetian Republic and Bavarian and Danish monarchies have also left their influence on modern Greek culture, but historians credit the Greek War of Independence with revitalising Greece and giving birth to a single entity of its multi-faceted culture.
Ancient Greek cuisine was characterized by its frugality and was founded on the "Mediterranean triad": wheat, olive oil, and wine, with meat being rarely eaten and fish being more common.This trend in Greek diet continued in Roman and Ottoman times and changed only fairly recently when technological progress has made meat more available. Wine and olive oil have always been a central part of it and the spread of grapes and olive trees in the Mediterranean and further afield is correlated with Greek colonization.
Ancient Greek cuisine was characterized by its frugality for most, reflecting agricultural hardship, but a great diversity of ingredients was known, and wealthy Greeks were known to celebrate with elaborate meals and feasts. The cuisine was founded on the "Mediterranean triad" of cereals, olives, and grapes, which had many uses and great commercial value, but other ingredients were as important, if not more so, to the average diet: most notably legumes. Research suggests that the agricultural system of Ancient Greece could not have succeeded without the cultivation of legumes.
Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus Triticum; the most widely grown is common wheat.
Olive oil is a liquid obtained from olives, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The oil is produced by pressing whole olives. It is commonly used in cooking, whether for frying or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, and has additional uses in some religions. There is limited evidence of its possible health benefits. The olive is one of three core food plants in Mediterranean cuisine; the other two are wheat and grapes. Olive trees have been grown around the Mediterranean since the 8th millennium BC.
Byzantine cuisine was similar to the classical cuisine, with the addition of new ingredients, such as caviar, nutmeg and basil. Lemons, prominent in Greek cuisine and introduced in the second century, were used medicinally before being incorporated into the diet. Fish continued to be an integral part of the diet for coastal dwellers. Culinary advice was influenced by the theory of humors, first put forth by the ancient Greek doctor Claudius Aelius Galenus.Byzantine cuisine benefited from Constantinople’s position as a global hub of the spice trade. Djrhdjfj
Byzantine cuisine was marked by a merger of Greek and Roman gastronomy. The development of the Byzantine Empire and trade brought in spices, sugar and new vegetables to Greece.
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus, often Anglicized as Galen and better known as Galen of Pergamon, was a Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the Roman Empire. Arguably the most accomplished of all medical researchers of antiquity, Galen influenced the development of various scientific disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and neurology, as well as philosophy and logic.
The most characteristic and ancient element of Greek cuisine is olive oil, which is used in most dishes. It is produced from the olive trees prominent throughout the region, and adds to the distinctive taste of Greek food. The olives themselves are also widely eaten. The basic grain in Greece is wheat, though barley is also grown. Important vegetables include tomato, aubergine (eggplant), potato, green beans, okra, green peppers, and onions. Honey in Greece is mainly honey from the nectar of fruit trees and citrus trees: lemon, orange, bigarade (bitter orange) trees, thyme honey, and pine honey. Mastic (aromatic, ivory-coloured resin) is grown on the Aegean island of Chios.
The tomato is the edible, often red, berry of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant. The species originated in western South America and Central America. The Nahuatl word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word tomate, from which the English word tomato derived. Its domestication and use as a cultivated food may have originated with the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The Aztecs used tomatoes in their cooking at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, and after the Spanish encountered the tomato for the first time after their contact with the Aztecs, they brought the plant to Europe. From there, the tomato was introduced to other parts of the European-colonized world during the 16th century.
Eggplant, aubergine (UK), or brinjal is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is grown worldwide for its edible fruit.
The potato is a root vegetable, a starchy tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum, and the plant itself, a perennial in the family Solanaceae, native to the Americas.
Greek cuisine uses some flavorings more often than other Mediterranean cuisines do, namely oregano, mint, garlic, onion, dill and bay laurel leaves. Other common herbs and spices include basil, thyme and fennel seed. Parsley is also used as a garnish on some dishes. Many Greek recipes, especially in the northern parts of the country, use "sweet" spices in combination with meat, for example cinnamon, allspice and cloves in stews.
Oregano is a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is native to temperate Western and Southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.
Mentha is a genus of plants in the family Lamiaceae. The exact distinction between species is unclear; it is estimated that 13 to 24 species exist. Hybridization occurs naturally where some species range overlap. Many hybrids and cultivars are known.
Garlic is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and Chinese onion.
The climate and terrain has tended to favour the breeding of goats and sheep over cattle, and thus beef dishes are uncommon. Fish dishes are common in coastal regions and on the islands. A great variety of cheese types are used in Greek cuisine, including Feta , Kasseri , Kefalotyri , Graviera , Anthotyros , Manouri , Metsovone , Ladotyri (cheese with olive oil), Kalathaki (a specialty from the island of Limnos), Katiki-Tsalafouti (both creamy cheeses, suitable for spreads) and Mizithra .
Too much refinement is generally considered to be against the hearty spirit of the Greek cuisine, though recent trends among Greek culinary circles tend to favour a somewhat more refined approach.
Dining out is common in Greece, and has been for quite some time. The Taverna and Estiatorio are widespread, serving home cooking at affordable prices to both locals and tourists. Recently, fast food has become more widespread, with local chains such as Goody's springing up, though most McDonald's have closed.Locals still largely eat Greek cuisine. In addition, some traditional Greek foods, especially souvlaki, gyros, pita such as tyropita and spanakopita (respectively, cheese and spinach pie) are often served in fast food style.
Greece has an ancient culinary tradition dating back several millennia, and over the centuries Greek cuisine has evolved and absorbed numerous influences and influenced many cuisines itself.
Some dishes can be traced back to ancient Greece: lentil soup, fasolada, retsina (white or rosé wine flavored with pine resin) and pasteli (candy bar with sesame seeds baked with honey); some to the Hellenistic and Roman periods: loukaniko (dried pork sausage); and Byzantium: feta cheese, avgotaraho (cured fish roe) and paximadi (traditional hard bread baked from wheat, barley and rye). There are also many ancient and Byzantine dishes which are no longer consumed: porridge as the main staple, fish sauce, and salt water mixed into wine.
Many dishes entered during the Ottoman era from the Levant and other near-eastern staples, especially these that came to prominence and as broader consumption in Ottoman cuisine namely: moussaka (of Arabian origin), tzatziki, yuvarlakia, kofta, boureki, baklava and more.
The Ottoman Empire having its origins from pastoral nomads in the Eurasian and middle eastern steppe, were largely consigned to diets of minced meats and cheeses with little to no grain as evident with Adana style kofta and other traditionally Turkish staples from the Eurasian steppe.
Distinct from the mainstream regional cuisines are:
Greek cuisine is very diverse and although there are many common characteristics amongst the culinary traditions of different regions within the country, there are also many differences, making it difficult to present a full list of representative dishes. For example, the vegetarian dish "Chaniotiko Boureki" (oven baked slices of potatoes with zucchini, myzithra cheese and mint) is a typical dish in western Crete, in the region of Chania. A family in Chania may consume this dish 1-2 times per week in the summer season. However, it is not cooked in any other region of Greece. Many food items are wrapped in Filo pastry, either in bite-size triangles or in large sheets: kotopita (chicken pie), spanakotyropita (spinach and cheese pie), chortopita (greens pie), kreatopita (meat pie, using minced meat), kolokythopita (zucchini pie) etc. The Greeks do with filo what the Italians do with pizza; They have countless variations of pitas (savory pies). Even the word pita was originally spelled πίττα (pitta), which shows a similarity to pizza. The areas with the largest tradition of making Greek pitas are the North-Western (Epirus) and Central Greece (also called Roumeli). Also, a big part of the Greek Cuisine are seeds and nuts. Seeds and nuts are included in everything from pastry to main dishes.
The list will present some of the most representative Greek dishes that can be found throughout the country and the most famous of the local ones:
Meze or orektikó (appetizer; plural mezedes/orektika) is served in restaurants called mezedopoleía, served to complement drinks, and in similar establishments known as tsipourádika or ouzerí (a type of café that serves drinks such as ouzo or tsipouro). A tavérna (tavern) or estiatório (restaurant) also offers a meze as an orektikó (appetiser). Many restaurants offer their house pikilía (variety) a platter with various mezedes that can be served immediately to customers looking for a quick or light meal. Hosts commonly serve mezedes to their guests at informal or impromptu get-togethers as they are easy to prepare on short notice. Krasomezédhes (literally "wine-meze") are mezedes that go well with wine; ouzomezédhes are mezedes that go with ouzo.
Also, several pitas found all over Greece, such as Kolokythopita , Hortopita, Mizithropita (Crete), Melintzanopita, Kimadopita, Kotopita, Kreatopita (meat pie), Galatopita, Marathopita, Malathropita (Chios), Manitaropita, Fanouropita , Sikopita , Tahinopita .
Very popular during fasting periods, such as the Great Lent:
Meals easily available with inexpensive ingredients and little preparation involved.
There is a wide variety of cheeses made in various regions across Greece. The vast majority of them remain unknown outside the Greek borders due to the lack of knowledge and the highly localized distinctive features. Many artisanal, hand made cheeses, both common varieties and local specialties, are produced by small family farms throughout Greece and offer distinct flavors atypical of the mass-produced varieties found commercially in Greece and abroad. A good list of some of the varieties of cheese produced and consumed in Greece can be found here. These are some of the more popular throughout Greece:
There is a variety of non alcoholic beverages that are drunk in Greece even to this day.
Portokalada (orangeade) and Lemonada (lemonade), since 1971, these beverages were served everywhere, in homes, cafes, tavernas and restaurants. They were made with fresh strained orange juice or lemon juice either mixed with carbonated water or flat mineral water and you added sugar to taste. There were also bottled local versions. In 1989 on the island of Rhodes there were two companies that made and bottled their own portokalada and lemonada using local oranges, lemons and water. These beverages are still standards today, as of 2014, the difference being that most of the small local companies sold their businesses to the big companies like Fanta etc., thus, greatly changing the quality.
Visinada (cherryade) is made from dark cherry syrup (which was originally homemade) mixed with cold water.
The traditional coffeehouses in Greece are called kafenia , and they offer coffee, refreshments, alcoholic beverages and snacks or meze. In recent years, especially in the large urban centres, kafenia are gradually being replaced by modern "cafeterias". Preferred types of coffee are, among others, Turkish coffee, frappé (a foam-covered iced coffee drink), and iced cappuccino and espresso, named Freddo Cappuccino and Freddo Espresso, respectively.Iced coffee-based drinks, such as freddoccino or freddito, are also popular in the summer.
Greece has the eighth highest per capita coffee consumption worldwide.
The origins of wine-making in Greece go back 6,500 yearsand evidence suggesting wine production confirm that Greece is home to the oldest known grape wine remnants discovered in the world and the world’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes. The spread of Greek civilization and their worship of Dionysus, the god of wine, spread Dionysian cults throughout the Mediterranean areas during the period of 1600 BC to the year 1 AD. Greece's viticultural history goes back to prehistoric times, and wine production was thriving until the 11th century. After World War II, Greek winemakers imported and cultivated foreign grape varieties, especially French ones, in order to support local production. In 1960s, retsina, a dry white wine with lumps of resin, was probably the most well-known Greek wine abroad. In recent years, local varieties are rediscovered and often blended with foreign ones. In early 1980s, a system of appellations, modelled on the respective French one, was implemented to assure consumers the origins of their wine purchases. Today, there are 28 appellations (Appellations of Origin of Superior Quality and Controlled Appellation of Origin) throughout the country, from Macedonia to Crete.
Archaeological and archaeochemical finds suggest that the Minoans fermented barley and other substances, and consumed some form of beer. BC Egypt, a civilization with a long brewing tradition, the Greeks continued to disdain beer seeing it as the drink of their rivals. In Modern Greece, a limited number of brands—owned by breweries from northern Europe in most cases (e.g. Heineken or Amstel)—dominated for many years the local market, while a stringent Bavarian-influenced beer purity law was in force. Gradually, the provisions of this law loosened, and, since the late 1990s, new local brands emerged (in 1997 Mythos made a breakthrough) or re-emerged (e.g. Fix Hellas), reviving competition. In recent years, in parallel with the large breweries, local microbreweries operate throughout Greece.The beer tradition of the Minoans was discontinued by the Mycenaeans; beverages from fermented cereals may have remained only in Crete during their rule. In Archaic and Classical Greece, beer is mentioned as a foreign beverage, while, when Alexander the Great conquered in 332
Other traditional Greek alcoholic beverages include the anise-flavored ouzo, tsipouro (whose Cretan variation is called tsikoudia), rakomelo and local liquors, such as kumquat from Corfu, mastika (not to be confused with the homonymous anise-flavored Bulgarian drink), kitron, a citrus flavoured liquor from Naxos, souma from Chios, and tentura, a cinnamon flavored liquor from Patras.
Metaxa is a well-known brand of brandy blended with wine and flavorings. Local dessert and fortified wines include muscats (with the Muscat of Samos being the most well-known), mavrodafni, produced from a black grape indigenous to the Achaea region in Northern Peloponnese, and Vin Santo (Visanto) of Santorini, a variation of the Italian Vin Santo.
Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighbouring cuisines, including those of Southeast Europe (Balkans), Central Europe, and Western Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Levantine cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia, creating a vast array of specialities.
The Albanian cuisine is a representative of the cuisine of the Mediterranean. It is also an example of the Mediterranean diet based on the importance of olive oil, fruits, vegetables and fish. The cooking traditions of the Albanian people are diverse in consequence of the environmental factors that are more importantly suitable for the cultivation of nearly all kinds of herbs, vegetables and fruits. Olive oil is the most ancient and commonly used vegetable fat in Albanian cooking, produced since antiquity throughout the country particularly along the coasts.
Ukrainian cuisine is the collection of the various cooking traditions of the Ukrainian people accumulated over many years. The cuisine is heavily influenced by the rich dark soil (chornozem) from which its ingredients come and often involves many components.
Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous and is known as a cuisine of the regions, since every region of Croatia has its own distinct culinary tradition. Its roots date back to ancient times. The differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those in mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized by the earlier Slavic and the more recent contacts with Hungarian and Turkish cuisine, using lard for cooking, and spices such as black pepper, paprika, and garlic. The coastal region bears the influences of the Greek and Roman cuisine, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine, in particular Italian. Coastal cuisines use olive oil, herbs and spices such as rosemary, sage, bay leaf, oregano, marjoram, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and lemon and orange rind. Peasant cooking traditions are based on imaginative variations of several basic ingredients and cooking procedures, while bourgeois cuisine involves more complicated procedures and use of selected herbs and spices. Charcuterie is part of the Croatian culinary tradition in all regions. Food and recipes from other former Yugoslav countries are also popular in Croatia.
Bulgarian cuisine is a representative of the cuisine of Eastern Europe. It shares characteristics with other Balkan cuisines. Bulgarian cooking traditions are diverse because of geographical factors such as climatic conditions suitable for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruit. Aside from the vast variety of local Bulgarian dishes, Bulgarian cuisine shares a number of dishes with Persian, Turkish, and Greek cuisine.
Iraqi cuisine or Mesopotamian cuisine has a long history going back some 10,000 years – to the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, ancient Persians and Mesopotamian Arabs. Tablets found in ancient ruins in Iraq show recipes prepared in the temples during religious festivals – the first cookbooks in the world. Ancient Iraq, or Mesopotamia, was home to a sophisticated and highly advanced civilization, in all fields of knowledge, including the culinary arts. However, it was in the Islamic Golden Age when Baghdad was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258) that the Iraqi kitchen reached its zenith. Today, the cuisine of Iraq reflects this rich inheritance as well as strong influences from the culinary traditions of neighbouring Iran, Turkey and the Syria region area.
Cypriot cuisine is the official cuisine of Cyprus; it has also been influenced by Byzantine, French, Italian, Catalan, Ottoman and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant, known in Arabic as the Bilad al-Sham and Mashriq, which covers a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean. It continues to carry an influentially mainstream character in a majority of the dishes today. It is found in the modern states of Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, and parts of southern Turkey near Adana, Gaziantep, and Antakya. Conversely, some of the dishes listed below may have early origins in neighboring regions, but have long since become traditions in the Levant.
Assyrian cuisine is the cuisine of the indigenous ethnic Assyrian people, Eastern Aramaic-speaking Syriac Christians of Iraq, northeastern Syria, northwestern Iran and southeastern Turkey. Assyrian cuisine is primarily identical to Iraqi/Mesopotamian cuisine, as well as being very similar to other Middle Eastern and Caucasian cuisines, as well as Greek cuisine, Levantine cuisine, Turkish cuisine, Israeli cuisine, and Armenian cuisine, with most dishes being similar to the cuisines of the area in which those Assyrians live/originate from. It is rich in grains such as barley, meat, tomato, herbs, spices, cheese, and potato as well as herbs, fermented dairy products, and pickles. Alcohol, in particular wheat beer, organic wine, and arak, is also consumed.
Lebanese cuisine is a Levantine style of cooking that includes an abundance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, starches, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat, and when red meat is eaten, it is usually lamb on the coast, and goat meat in the mountain regions. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice. Chickpeas and parsley are also staples of the Lebanese diet.
Kurdish cuisine consists of a wide variety of foods prepared by the Kurdish people. There are cultural similarities of Kurds and their immediate neighbours in Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Armenia. Some dishes, such as biryani, are shared with the Indian subcontinent. Kurdish food is typical of western Asian cuisine.
Macedonian cuisine is the cuisine of the region of Macedonia in northern Greece. Contemporary Greek Macedonian cooking shares much with general Greek and wider Balkan and Mediterranean cuisine, including dishes from the Ottoman past. Specific influences include dishes of the Pontic, Aromanian, Slavic, Armenian and Sephardi Jewish population. The mix of the different people inhabiting the region gave the name to the Macedonian salad.
Georgian cuisine refers to the cooking styles and dishes created by the Georgians. The Georgian cuisine is unique to the country, but also carries some influences from other Caucasian, Eastern European and nearby Middle Eastern culinary traditions. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, with variations such as Abkhazian, Megrelian, Kakhetian, Imeretian, Svanetian, Pshavian, Tushian, Kartlian, Gurian, Meskhian, Rachian and Adjarian cuisines. Rich with meat dishes, Georgian cuisine also offers a variety of vegetarian dishes.
Israeli cuisine comprises both local dishes and dishes brought back to Israel by Jews from the Diaspora. Since before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and particularly since the late 1970s, an Israeli Jewish fusion cuisine has developed.
Tunisian cuisine, the cuisine of Tunisia, is a blend of Mediterranean and Berber cuisines. Its distinctive spiciness comes from the many civilizations which have ruled the land now known as Tunisia: Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Spanish, Turkish, Italians (Sicilians), French, and the native Punics-Berber people. Many of the cooking styles and utensils began to take shape when the ancient tribes were nomads. Nomadic people were limited in their cooking implements by what pots and pans they could carry with them. The Tunisian tagine, is very different from the Algerian or Moroccan dish. It is a type of a pie dish, made out of eggs, meat and vegetables, similar to the Italian frittata or the eggah.
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