The origin and the beginning of all good things in life lies in pleasing the stomach.
– Epicurus 341-270 BC
Greece has one of the oldest and richest culinary traditions in the world. Anyone who has taken the Nafplio Untour can attest to that. (The restaurant scene in Nafplio is great.)
Greek cooking uses ingredients and techniques from prehistoric times and from other cultures that are interwoven with its long history. Greek cuisine has been directly shaped by Turkish cuisine and even Venetian food traditions. These influences can to be seen today in some of our favorite small dishes and appetizers:
- tzatziki (yogurt dip with cucumber and garlic)
- imam-baldi (eggplant and stuffed eggplant)
- souvlaki (grilled meat with pita bread)
- moussaka (vegetables baked with minced meat and bechamel sauce)
On the Peloponnese, you are never far from the sea, and fish and seafood are a staple. Nafplio, the Untours hometown, is on the sea, and its menus reflect the proximity of the water. Look at the fish menu when you order; you’ll pay market price for the catch of the day in a restaurant. Or try the salty, crunchy, ubiquitous delight of fried calamari. Fries on the side, of course!
Greek cuisine provides plenty of choices for vegetarians. Its main dish is something we all know and love, the Greek salad, made of cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives, oregano, and a slice (not crumbles) of feta cheese, seasoned with Greek olive oil. Local olive oil is the cornerstone of Greek cooking, and it boasts health benefits that help mitigate all the eating you’ll want to do on your Nafplio Untour.
Typically, a Greek meal includes a variety of dishes. Mezedes, small plates, are filled with various foods, creating a colorful and abundant table. (Think of the mezze of Middle Eastern tables.) Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) are a favorite, though they are normally stuffed with meat, so vegetarians beware.
Each meal is accompanied by freshly baked bread, all the better to accompany the various dips and cheese and oil.
Greece is well known for wine as well. You may know of retsina, a strong white wine which can be an acquired taste. But there are many excellent locally made table wines on offer as well, including crisp white, fruity rosés, and all kinds of dry reds. Also very popular are ouzo, raki, or tsipouro, which are normally enjoyed as aperitifs or sipped after dinner.
And of course don’t forget the pastries, sweet and savory both! Those you will find at local bakeries. Spanakopita is spinach pie, and tiropita is the cheese version, savory and satisfying with its thin layers of phyllo dough. These make a delicious lunch on the go.
Greece’s atmospheric tabernas, outdoor cafes, open-air markets, and bakeries will satisfy the epicurean! Guests on the Greece Untour eat well!