One of the best things about going on holiday is getting to try all the fantastic food the local cafes, restaurants and street food markets have to offer.
We’ve put together some of the best foods and delicacies to try whilst on holiday in Greek Islands and Cyprus. You will find that each island offers regional specialities that you can only find there so make sure you sample these culinary feats when you visit!
If you are ever in Crete you will be in for a gastronomic treat. The island is known for a plethora of dishes. Below are just a few of the yummy options on offer.
Not only popular in France, snails are enjoyed in Crete. Hohlioi boubouristoi is a dish of fried snails with vinegar and rosemary.
Crete delicacy apaki is smoked pork lean fillet with a distinct smoky flavour that is great accompanied by a Greek red wine.
Dakos salad consists of a round water dampened and softened barley rusk (made of wholegrain barley) topped with tomatoes, feta or mizithra cheese, olive slices, capers and sprinkled with dried oregano. It is often eaten as a light meal or as part of an array of mezedes.
Eaten as an appetizer or snack, kalitsounia are traditional Cretan pies found all over the island. The pies are fried or baked and have sweet and savory variations. The sweet kalitsounia are filled with mizithra cheese, are dusted with cinnamon and are particularly popular in Heraklion, the capital of Crete. Savorykalitsounia have a delicious spinach and cheese filling.
Bougatsa is a golden brown crispy phyllo pastry dessert filled with custard cream, served warm and sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon, based on an old Asia Minor recipe. This indulgent treat is had for breakfast – a fantastic way to start the day.
Kouneli Stifado is a rabbit stew cooked with onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, red wine, rabbit stock and olive oil. It is served warm with crusty bread.
A signature dessert of Naxos which is famous all over Greece is melachrino - a lovely walnut pie/cake made with a locally produced citrus liqueur, which is enjoyed with mastiha ice cream.
Pig/pork rosto is a delicious, slow cooked pork dish cooked with wine, tomatoes and herbs and is served with pasta.
Originating from Santorini, fava is a silky smooth dish of yellow split peas accompanied with chopped onions, oregano, capers and extra virgin olive oil. It can be served as a delicious appetizer with pita bread. Santorini Fava is what is known as a ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ or PDO.
Santorini tomato fritters (also known as domatokeftedes) are a combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh herbs and feta cheese.
Chloro cheese is made from goat’s milk, has a rich, distinctive flavour and can be eaten either fresh and soft, or aged on pasta dishes. Production of this cheese on Santorini is a handmade process that has been passed from grandmothers to granddaughters. Chloro cheese is also used in Santorini salad.
Santorini salad is an alternative to the infamous Greek salad, incorporating chloro cheese instead of feta. Making use of ingredients sourced from the island, locals created the Santorini salad, comprising of flavourful cherry tomatoes, refreshing katsuni (cucumber that only grows in Santorini), Santorinian capers, onions and olives, with extra virgin olive oil.
If you fancy making a Greek salad discover how in our blog post.
Kopanisti is a spicy cheese that is a speciality in Mykonos and the Cyclades islands. It is mainly served as an appetizer and is a great accompaniment to ouzo. Kopanisiti has ‘Protected Designation of Origin’.
For a taste of something sweet, try amygdalota– Greek almond sweets, which are the Greek version of macaroons, only they are made with almonds instead of coconut.
On the island of Paros one of the must try specialities is gouna – mackerel that is sun dried for several hours, drizzled with herbs and grilled – a technique used for many years by fisherman. This delicious dish is served in tavernas across Paros.
Hailing from Andros, fourtalia is an omelette with sausages and potatoes sauteed in pork fat. Fourtalia resembles the Spanish tortilla. Additional ingredients can be added however a traditional fourtalia always includes sausage and potatoes.
From the Italian ‘brodeto’ meaning broth, bourthetois a spicy fish dish (made from scorpion fish). There are many Italian influences in the style of cooking in Corfu.
Pastitsada is a flavourful signature dish in Corfu consisting of slow-cooked beef, veal or chicken in a cinnamon tomato sauce with red wine and vinegar, served with penne or spaghetti and occasionally topped with grated cheese.
Spetsofai is a rich stew of Greek sausages and peppers, served with crumbly feta cheese and freshly baked crusty bread.
When in Zante have a taste of ladotyri (known as “ntopio”) –a spicy cheese made from sheep’s and goat’s milk, which is preserved in olive oil, giving it a distinctive flavour. The cheese is served in variations of meze and even cooked into casseroles.
Octopus fritters (chtapodokeftedes) are made of minced octopus and herbs, and are commonly found in Greek tavernas across the island. Imagine meatballs but made of fried octopus meat.
As you may have noticed there are a variety of cheeses throughout Greece. Krasotyri is a cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk (or a combination) that originated from Kos. The cheese is particularly delicious when served with homemade bread and vegetables drizzled with olive oil.
Cypriot food is influenced by the cuisine of the Middle East, Turkey and Greece due to its geographical location.
Kolokouthkia me ta afka consists of fried courgettes with scrambled eggs. It tends to be part of a larger mezze platter of dishes. It can even be had for breakfast.
Halloumi is one of Cyprus’ most famous products. With its salty flavour and rubbery texture the delicacy is a favourite across the globe.
A Cypriot variety of the dolma (grape stuffed leaves), Koupepia incorporates minced meat, rice, onions, tomatoes and a mixture of herbs.
End your day with something sweet such as Glyko toukoutaliou which translates as “spoon sweets” as they are the size of a teaspoon. These sweets are made from a variety of boiled fruit, vegetables and nuts, sugaring them and storing them in the syrup. They are enjoyed with a Cypriot coffee and a glass of water.