Greek cooking emphasizes fresh food at every meal. Breakfast may be very light-for many Greeks it is just a cup of coffee. Lunch is the main meal of the day and is usually eaten between noon and 3 p.m. The evening meal is served between 8 and 11 p.m.

Greeks eat a Mediterranean diet. Many recipes call for olive oil, lemons, tomatoes and herbs, particularly oregano. The Greeks begin their meal with mezédes, a range of tasty appetizers. One of the best known is taramosaláta, a dip made with fish roe. Another dip, tzatziki, is made from cucumbers and garlic mixed with yogurt.

The main course may be a casserole or grilled meat or fish. Lamb is the Greeks' favourite meat. Popular Greek dishes include moussaká (layers of eggplant and ground meat baked in a tangy sauce), souvláki (cubes of lamb or pork and vegetables strung on a skewer and dolmádes (rice and ground meat wrapped in vine leaves).

Horiátiki, a traditional Greek salad, consists of tomato slices, cucumber slices, onions, green peppers, olives and feta cheese, dressed with oil and vinegar. Fasoláda is a soup made of beans, herbs, tomatoes, carrots and celery. Desserts are often sweetened with honey, including baklavá, layers of thin pastry, nuts and honey, kataifi, nuts in shredded wheat with honey syrup, and melomakárona, honey cookies served at special celebrations. In the summer, dessert is often fresh fruit such as figs, peaches, melons or grapes.

Greeks may drink wine, beer, or a spirit called oúzo with meals. Vineyards in southern Greece produce both red and white wines, as well as retsína, wine flavoured with pine resin. Coffee is dark and rich, traditionally brewed in a long-handled pot called bríki.



2 litres strong, strained chicken broth
125 ml uncooked rice
4 eggs
Juice of 2 lemons


Boil the broth and add rice. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the broth from heat. Just before serving, beat the eggs with a beater until they are light and frothy. Slowly beat lemon juice into the egg and dilute the mixture with two cups of the broth, beating constantly until well mixed. Add diluted egg-lemon mixture to the rest of the soup, beating constantly. Bring almost to boiling point, but do not boil, or the soup will curdle. Serve immediately.

Did you know?

When Greeks go out for dinner to a local tavérna, rather than looking at a menu, they may go right into the kitchen to see what is cooking and choose their meal.