An insider's guide to Greek cuisine - Hindustan Times
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An insider's guide to Greek cuisine

Nov 19, 2023 07:34 PM IST

Discover the rich tapestry of Greek cuisine, from recent triumphs at global cheese awards to lesser-known culinary anecdotes.

Greece, known for its rich history and scenic landscapes, boasts a culinary heritage that’s as diverse as it is flavourful. Beyond its ancient ruins and stunning vistas, the country’s cuisine has been making headlines globally, captivating taste buds with its vibrant flavours and unique cultural influences. And the prowess of Greek cheeses ascended to the global stage as eleven varieties secured prestigious positions in the World Cheese Awards 2023, clinching gold, silver and bronze accolades. Greece celebrated its triumph at this international competition held in Norway, where a staggering 4,502 cheeses from 43 countries underwent rigorous evaluation.

Digging deeper into Greece’s culinary tapestry reveals a mosaic of tastes, traditions and cultural nuances that define its gastronomic identity.
Digging deeper into Greece’s culinary tapestry reveals a mosaic of tastes, traditions and cultural nuances that define its gastronomic identity.

Notably, Truffeta, a Greek cheese-marrying pasteurized sheep’s and goat’s milk with summer truffle, claimed the coveted Gold award, standing out as the sole Greek cheese to attain such recognition. This triumph underscores Greece’s rising culinary profile, coinciding with the burgeoning presence of Greek cuisine worldwide. Executive chef Vasilis Bekas, along with chefs Christina Tzanoulinou and Vassiliki Beka, is set to curate A Greek Harmony of Flavours, a buffet dinner at The Pavilion Restaurant, ITC Maurya, in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad & Public Diplomacy of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Greece in India.

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“An additional reason is the fact that Greek gastronomy is characterised by light flavours and high nutritional value. Therefore, it is exactly this combination of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat that is very rich in proteins and vitamins and which constitutes the central element of the famous Mediterranean diet, making it a popular choice of cuisine,” remarks Chef Bekas, shedding light on the cuisine’s burgeoning popularity.

Digging deeper into Greece’s culinary tapestry reveals a mosaic of tastes, traditions and cultural nuances that define its gastronomic identity. Here are four lesser-known facts shedding light on the hidden gems within Greek cuisine.

Meze culture

Meze, akin to Spanish tapas, features hot and cold snacks fostering communal dining, including olives, cheese, sausage, and baklava, often paired with wine or ouzo.

Seasonal ingredients

Greek regions boast unique culinary specialities, embracing local and seasonal elements like Santorini’s cherry tomatoes, fava beans and the assyrtiko grape.

A farmer’s balanced meal

Beyond the classic village salad, Greece offers a diverse range of vibrant and healthy salads, like Salata Horta and Patatosalata.

Ouzo and wine essential celebratory libations

Festivities in Greece are incomplete without the traditional anise-flavoured aperitif, Ouzo, and the country’s rich winemaking tradition, represented by esteemed wineries like Cavino.

A Greek Harmony of Flavours

Where: The Pavilion Restaurant, ITC Maurya

Dates: November 19-25

Timing: 7 pm-11:30 pm Cost for two: 3,700 (taxes included with soft beverages); 4100 (taxes included with one wine glass)

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