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My Gastronomic Adventure in Greece

By Jane Taylor

Greece has always been of my dream backpacking destinations. I am just so lucky to have found deals online offering cheap holidays to Greece. The deal included a 4-day stay in Greece, accommodations at a budget hotel, free breakfasts for all four days, a city tour, an adventure in an amusement park, and transfers. This isn't totally bad for a bundled tour which isn't that expensive, at all. Not surprising as this was extremely comfortable and elegant than what I am used to; considering I have slept in more uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Thus, for me, it's a new experience with a little bit of opulence.

When backpacking in some other nation, I always make it a point to try out local dishes.Partaking of a region's dishes should be part of any tourist's itinerary. Food is an integral part of a culture, and by refusing to eat meals that the region regularly serves, one does not truly experience the soul of the place. Backpackers are known to be a daring lot; and they are more willing to try out strange but interesting food than mainstream tourists who usually have doubts over the local dishes' preparation and nutrition.

On my recent visit to Greece, I often visited traditional Greek Tavernas, which should not be mistaken for regular taverns. Greek tavernas are smallish restaurants that specialize in Greek cuisine. Most tavernas I have gone to have open air dining spaces, giving diners a chance a glimpse of the sunshine and the people passing by while they're enjoying their food. Tavernas are what Greek culinary history is about; go check out one when in Greece.

I tasted all sorts of Greek foods. Like any other cuisine, there are Greek dishes which are simply divine, but there are some which made my stomach turn. It's possible that the way it was cooked and prepared had something to do with it, or maybe just maybe, my stomach and palate were not strong enough for those dishes. Whatever the case, I appreciate the culinary experience. I don't think it's fair to rate dishes as either good or bad. People have different tastes, palates are built differently and most tastes are acquired; what may taste good for me, might not be palatable for another.

Greek meals are heavily laden with herbs, vegetables, olive oil, grains, bread, and fish. Staple in Greek cuisine are lamb, rabbit and poultry. Always present are eggplant, zucchini, olives and a different kinds of cheeses. Typically, Greek dishes are served in Meze style. This means that these dishes as served in small portions. Every meal is normally followed by wines: anise-flavored liqueurs or homemade Tsipouro.

There are many Greek dishes that I tasted. Here are some of the best dishes I ever tasted.

* Tirokafteri is a cheese spread that is both spicy and salty and served with slivers of flat bread. The cheese spread is made out of yoghurt, flavored with hot peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and garlic. This is great for whetting your appetite.

* Souvlaki is Greek-style grilling. Meats such as pork, chicken, or lamb are cut into bite-sized pieces, skewered, and grilled. The skewered meat can be served plain. However, I enjoy mine placed in a pita sandwich. I also witnessed other diners order a side dish of fried potatoes to go along with their souvlaki.

* Choriatiki is a delicious and filling Greek salad. It's possibly the best salads I've ever eaten. Choriatiki is composed of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and olives. It is then garnished with cubed feta cheese, berries, and capers.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Saturday, April 13, 2013

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