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blopez34

Active member
I am learning about Greek spirits as my next quest to understanding Greek culture and cuisine. Of course, I know about ouzo. I went out to eat the other day and they brought over a different spirit I hadn't tried "on the house" - they called it masticha. Here are the spirits I now know about:

- Ouzo - Tastes like anise - I like it!
- Masticha - Made from mastic resin. I also loved it - it was sweet and delicate - tasted a little like evergreen but not too overpowering.
- Metaxa - Greek brandy, I've had it before but not my cup of tea. Not a huge fan of brandy
- Raki - I have Cretan friends so... I drink this with them. It's strong but pleasant, and it seems to go well

What did I miss? I am sure I missed something!
 
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tsipouro.. it's like ouzo, but stronger.

Random fact- the anise in tsipouro and ouzo is an additive. Many Greeks prefer to drink the two without anise.
 
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tsipouro.. it's like ouzo, but stronger.

Random fact- the anise in tsipouro and ouzo is an additive. Many Greeks prefer to drink the two without anise.
Oh! I didn't know they were a little different - they taste similar to me. I thought the two words were synonymous. I also had no idea the anise was addictive! Fascinating.

I went somewhere - I forget where it was - and I had this delicious - was it kumquat liqueur? I can't remember the name or where in Greece I was - but whatever that is I recommend it lol. Was it Corfu?
 
Yes, kumquat is a product of Corfu. Another red wine sweet enough to be served as a liqueur is Mauvrodaphne. There is also a great white muscat grape dessert wine from Samos; Samos Vin Doux.
 
Souma is the Rhodian version. I bought a bottle from a roadside stall and it was crazy stuff. I ended up cooking it with roast plums to burn off some of the alcohol.
 
Souma is the Rhodian version. I bought a bottle from a roadside stall and it was crazy stuff. I ended up cooking it with roast plums to burn off some of the alcohol.
Wow - I’ve never heard of Souma, but admittedly have only been to Rhodes twice. Was it a home brew? The Samos Vin Doux is very sweet, soft and smooth….like the best Sicilian Marsala. It’s great that the OP wants to explore Greece via their special products.
 
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Wow - I’ve never heard of Souma, but admittedly have only been to Rhodes twice. Was it a home brew? The Samos Vin Doux is very sweet, soft and smooth….like the best Sicilian Marsala. It’s great that the OP wants to explore Greece via their special products.
The one I bought might well have been home brew, but his road side stand was In the most amazing spot, high up with incredible views, I just fell for the magic of the moment 😆
I’ll look out for the Samos, I like a sweet wine with my desserts. Or any other time for that matter.
 

Does this look like a good koliva recipe?

I am planning a memorial service coming up in about two weeks. The person who makes the koliva for everyone in the church is going to be out of town, and I can't find another person to do it. So I thought I'd make it.

I found this recipe - does it look like it would work?

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup black raisins
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • Garnish: pomegranate seeds, whole almonds, and powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preparing the Wheat:
  • Rinse the wheat berries thoroughly in a strainer under cold running water.
  • Place the wheat in a large pot and add water until it's about 2 inches above the wheat level.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until they are tender but not mushy, adding more water as necessary.
  • Drain the wheat and spread it out on a towel or a large baking tray to dry out completely, preferably overnight.
  1. Toasting Ingredients:
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Spread the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5-8 minutes, till golden; be vigilant as they can burn quickly.
  • Repeat this process with the almonds and the walnuts, ensuring each is nicely toasted but not burnt.
  1. Mixing the Koliva:
  • Once the wheat is dry, combine it in a large bowl with powdered sugar, toasted walnuts, toasted sesame seeds, toasted almonds, golden and black raisins, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Stir the mixture gently to combine.
  1. Assembling the Dish:
  • Mound the mixture onto a large serving platter, shaping it into a dome with your hands or a spoon.
  • Decorate the top with whole almonds and pomegranate seeds creating a cross or other religious symbols as is traditional.
  • Just before serving, sift powdered sugar over the top to cover.

Learning about Greek wines

Greek wines offer a window into the country's rich traditions. I have been taking the time to learn more about it lately!

Greek wine history dates back over 4,000 years, intertwined with myths and traditions where wine was celebrated as a gift from the gods. Today, Greece's unique climate, diverse soils, and indigenous grape varieties contribute to the production of wines with distinct character and quality.

Indigenous Varieties to Know:
  1. Assyrtiko: Originally from Santorini, this white grape is all about minerality, crisp acidity, and lemony flavors, making it a perfect companion for seafood.
  2. Agiorgitiko: One of the most important red varieties, primarily grown in the Peloponnese. It produces wines ranging from soft and fruity to full-bodied and age-worthy.
  3. Xinomavro: Often referred to as the "Barolo of Greece," this red grape from Northern Greece offers complex aromas and a strong tannic presence, ideal for aging.
  4. Moschofilero: A highly aromatic white variety, yielding wines that are fresh and floral with lively acidity, hailing from the cool-climate region of Mantinia.
  5. Retsina: While not a grape variety, no discussion on Greek wine can be complete without mentioning Retsina, a traditional white or rosé wine flavored with pine resin. A contemporary approach to Retsina has given it a much-needed makeover, making it an intriguing option worth revisiting.

Did I miss any wines? I am guessing I did...

greek-wine.jpg

Greek pita bread?

I like to make gyros at home but I am having a heck of a time finding the right bread for it where I live.

There is a store near me but they haven't been getting the bread I normally use in.

I thought maybe I would make my own - but I am not the best bread maker. I also don't trust recipes I see.

I don't want it to be the wrong kind of bread. I want it to be soft. I guess I have two questions -

1. maybe I can buy the bread online? Do you know where? and 2. Do you have a recipe you can recommend?

Cooking Greek Style Octopus

One of the things I like about Greek cuisine is the octopus! It's so tender and flavorful. I get it a lot when I am in Greece and only a few times in the United States. I want to learn how to do that. In particular I want to know:
  • Choosing the Right Octopus: What should I look for when buying octopus? Are there any specific types or sizes that work best?
  • Tenderizing Process: I’ve heard that tenderizing the octopus is crucial. What methods do you recommend? I’ve heard of everything from beating it to simmering it in a pot. What works best?
  • Cooking Techniques: Should I grill it, bake it, or cook it in a stew? I'm aiming for something that's traditionally Greek.
  • Marination and Seasonings: What are the best herbs, spices, or marination techniques to use? I know olive oil and lemon are staples, but are there any other must-have seasonings?
Any advice you can give is welcome!

What are your favorite Greek olives?

I love Kalamata olives but I am trying to branch out to different ones. Which Greek olives do you like best? I did some research about the different types:

Kalamata Olives: Perhaps the most renowned Greek olives, Kalamatas, are recognized by their dark purple color and almond shape. They are often preserved in wine vinegar or olive oil, which further accentuates their rich and fruity flavor.

Halkidiki Olives: These are large, pale green olives from the Halkidiki region of Northern Greece. Known for their crisp flesh and slightly peppery taste, Halkidiki olives are commonly stuffed with various fillings, from feta cheese to almonds, making them a good choice for appetizers.

Amfissa Olives: Cultivated primarily in Central Greece, near the ancient oracle of Delphi, Amfissa olives can range in color from green to black, depending on their ripeness. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a meaty texture.

Throumba Olives: Unique to the island of Thassos, these olives are naturally sun-dried on the tree. They have a wrinkled appearance and a savory taste with a hint of vinegar, due to their natural fermentation.

I have never had any of these olives other than Kalamata and I am sure there are others, too.

greek-olives.jpg
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