Food – Glorious food… “life’s fundamental principle is the satisfaction of the needs and wants of the stomach” a quote from the famous Philosopher Epicurus Hedonist.
If you love food, and delicious herbs, spices and flavours, with fresh ingredients and home cooking, you are heading to the perfect place, Greece!
Kos, Greece is an island with an abundance of small tavernas, snack bars, restaurants large and small, as well as it’s superb hotels and kitchens too.
Farming land, with it’s own wonderful crops of juicy tomatoes, lettuces, vegetables, so fresh that you won’t experience anything like them, especially Kos tomatoes, many even sneak them back in their suitcases!
The saying is totally true, that the Greek salad you make back in your own country will never quite taste the same as the one you ate at that little taverna by the harbour, or on the beach, on that little island of Kos!
Greece, of course if famous for it olive oil, in fact it is deemed in the land of culinary experts as being one of the best in the world, and has it’s own therapeutic properties.
The Greek kitchen has been written about throughout history, in the days of Aristophanes plays and especially mentioned are always the feasts for the gods. Food is pleasure for the body ad soul, not forgetting the mind of course!
Meal times are the most important times of the day in Greece and taking ready frozen food from the supermarket, won’t do!
Many different herbs are used fresh and generally bought daily at the fruit and vegetable shops, are used in the Greek kitchen. Herbs such as basil, dill, parsley and rosemary and thyme. Some of these you will find growing in the fields, and in the mountains. Cardamon seeds, cumin, corriander and anise, cinammon and cloves are also commonly used in Greek cuisine.
Many of these herbs are not just tasty but also act as natural medicines too.
Dining out in Greece :- Things you need to know:
Bread accompanies all meals, especially a Greek salad. Bread will often be charged to your bill, it is like a cover charge at the restaurants you visit. Often if will be with garlic butter, butter or sometimes an olive dip. You can decline the bread if you wish to do so, however it is great dipped in the olive oil with your Greek Salad, when in Greece do as they do!
Many of the eating places you are likely to visit on the island, will have a large selection of starters. Some people call these mezedes/mezes. Often you can order a variety of starters, and salads, this alone can fill you, especially at lunch time. It is also a fantastic way to experience all the exquisite flavours of the Greek kitchen, the different dips, pies, vegetables, salads, stuffed vine leaves to name just a few of the popular appetisers available in Greece.
Tzatziki, is a cucumber, garlic and yogurt dip, which is well-known my most.
Taramasalata, a pink, slightly salty dip, made from carp roe eggs, blended with onion, olive oil and lemon juice.
Stuffed Vine Leaves, have their own unique flavour, and are filled with tasty rice and often small pieces of savoury mincemeat and herbs.
Cheese pies or spinach pies, the pastry differs from each establishment, but they are all delicious and a popular Greek speciality even as a snack just on their own.
Saganaki, paradise for cheese lovers… melted cheese coated in batter, and sometimes drizzled with ouzo and set on fire flambe style. There are several different types of cheese used, but Kefalotyri is the most popular, which is a medium yellow flavoured cheese.
Grilled octopus, served often on a bed of lettuce with a piece of lemon.
And of course the Greek Salad, topped with Greek Feta Cheese (white goats cheese), and black olives. Greek Salad usually has lettuce, juicy tomatoes, cucumber, onions, green peppers, feta and olives. You often have the choice to adorn it with olive oil and vinegar brought to the table.
Ouzo, quite a potent aniseed alcoholic beverage, often sipped with ice and water, goes down a treat with all these little dishes, or a glass of retsina, a very dry wine. If you are really thirsty a nice cold Mythos does the trick (an excellent beer).
Popular main courses you will find in Kos are:
Souvlaki, generally pork or chicken pieces of meat that are marinated and grilled on a stick, usually served with rice and french fries.
Lamb Kleftiko, a tradition Greek dish of Lamb wrapped in oven paper, with delicate herbs and spices, a light tomato sauce, potatoes and vegetables, and sometimes goats cheese crumbled to give it a distinct flavor and richness.
Moussaka and Pastichio are both mincemeat dishes that are baked in the oven and topped with a thick layer of bechamel sauce and grated cheese. Moussaka has slices of aubergines (and sometimes potatoes) inside, with layers of savory mincemeat. Pastichio has less mincemeat and more pasta, more like a macaroni pie, with a special Greek flavour…..often there is a hint of cinnamon or cloves.
Yiouvetsi is meat that has been cooked very slowly (usually chunks of beef, in a ceramic pot), in onions and a tomato sauce. Always lovely and tender and topped with small pasta shapes and grated cheese.
Kokkinisto is also cooked slowly in the oven in a ceramic dish. It is usually beef (although sometimes rabbit), in a tomato sauce, with wine, and small onions. Very tender with a taste from the cinnamon stick and fresh bay leaves, which gives the dish a special tangy and rich flavour. This is generally served with rice and french fries.
Gyros can often be found in the streets of Kos, as a take away, or on the plate! The aroma in itself is mouth watering as the meat slowly cooks. Watch it sliced and wrapped in a pitta bread which is full of french fries, chopped onions, tomato and the Greek dip tzatziki if desired. Succulent and unbelievable tasty. You cannot visit Greece without trying one!
Stuffed tomatoes are baked in the oven with mincemeat and rice, herby and healthy.
Calamari’s (fried fresh squid in golden batter), served with french fries everybody loves to try!
Fresh Fish, especially red mullets are very popular in Greece and succulent sword fish. Usually served with oven potatoes and fresh vegetables. Of course there are plenty more dishes….
Don’t forget to accompany your meal with some local wine!
For the sweet toothed…
Baklava’s, layers of thin pastry that is like no other, dripping with honey and filled with nuts. Often served with ice-cream or whipped cream, and certainly worth experiencing. No body does it better…
Revani, a vanilla sponge cake with a difference, a Greek tang, of sweet syrup that makes it so moist and irresistible. Again popular, and served with ice-cream or cream.
Bougatsa, sweet pastry pie, filled with a thick yellow vanilla cream, and sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon.
Greek yoghurt with honey and nuts is famous world wide, and honey is the nectar of the gods… enjoy!
We must not forget loukomades either! Sweet fried honey balls that are wonderful served warm with a sprinking of cinnamon. Delicious!
Often after your meal you will be offered apples with cinnamon, or a local drink, a shot even… there is the non alcoholic drink of Kos which is laced with cinnamon, or more potent drinks of Greece which are laced with aniseed, like Ouzo!!! (There are also several others, for example raki and tsipouro).
Or relax and let your stomach settle down with a good brandy, a smooth Metaxa of course. (which comes in varying qualities, depending on the number of stars it has, and Grande Reserve being the most expensive, and the best).
Simply Greece you really have to get out there and taste it!!!
These are just a few of the many ‘plates’ that are popular in Kos. Also Kos has an extensive Italian influence and many restaurants serve pizza and pasta and a whole range of international cuisine. There are also several Chinese restaurants on the island, a Thai and an Indian Restaurant as well as English and Dutch ones too. Crepes and waffles seem to be the thing at the moment in Kos, and there are now many establishments which you can frequent and choose from many different fillings, sweet or savory.
So what are you waiting for! Go out and enjoy the Greek cuisine!
With so many wonderful places to choose from in Kos….