Lunch and dinner in Greece can last for hours.









A land of small farmers, for centuries Greece has been producing fruits, vegetables, herbs, oils, cheeses and nuts for use in cooking.  The food is simply prepared, without sauces, seasoned with olive oil and herbs.  With its long coastline and 20% of the country comprised of islands, fish and seafood are an important part of the diet.  The climate and soil are perfect for growing olive and lemon trees, providing two major ingredients in food preparation.  Much of the country is covered with vineyards, yielding a wide array of wines, including ouzo, the anise-flavored liqueur that is synonymous with Greece.


Lunch and dinner in Greece can last for hours, and large gatherings are preferred.  A meal starts with hors d’oeuvres, called mezedes.  They are served on small plates, are meant to be shared, and are designed to whet the appetite.  Dips such as tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic), melitzanosalata (eggplant) and taramasalata (fish roe dip) are always popular.  Second course favourites include grilled fish, calamari and octopus, moussaka, consisting of eggplant, minced meat fried with tomato, onion and garlic topped with cheese and béchamelsauce, and dolmades, which are grape leaf-wrapped packages containing rice, meat and herbs.


Charcoal and spit-roasted meats are a specialty of Greece, and come in several forms.  To prepare a gyro, the meat is roasted on a spit, then placed in a pita with tzatziki, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. Chicken, beef, lamb or pork grilled on a skewer is called souvlaki, and a kebab is an elongated piece of minced meat. To close the meal, the most popular dessert is baklava, a filo pastry layered with honey and ground nuts.




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