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ssherie_

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I usually just grab whatever Greek olive oil I can find and I always keep it on hand. But, how do you really choose? I did some research on the different types, but that still doesn't tell me which to choose. What do you think? Here's my research:

1. Kalamata olive oil: This oil comes from Kalamata, a city on the Peloponnesian peninsula. It is a fruity and flavorful oil with a slight bitterness and a pungent aftertaste. Kalamata olive oil is perfect for salads, marinades, and drizzling over vegetables.

2. Koroneiki olive oil: The Koroneiki olive is one of the most common in Greece, and the oil made from them is considered one of the best in the world. It has a fruity aroma with a bitter and slightly spicy flavor. Koroneiki olive oil is perfect for dipping bread, cooking, and frying.

3. Manaki olive oil: This oil comes from the Manaki olive, a specific variety from the Peloponnese. It has a rich, buttery texture with a fruity aroma and a slightly sweet flavor. Manaki olive oil is perfect for baking, roasting, and sautéing.

4. Throumba olive oil: Throumba is an ancient and rare olive variety found only in the region of Crete. The oil made from these olives is a rare and unique product with a fruity aroma and a slightly bitter taste. Throumba olive oil is perfect with grilled meats, salads, and pasta dishes.

5. Megaritiki olive oil: This oil comes from the Megaritiki olive, a variety native to the region of Attica. It has a fruity and aromatic flavor with a mild bitterness and a slight pungency. Megaritiki olive oil is perfect for marinades, dressings, and dipping bread.
 
I always use koroneiko, or olive oil from kalamata. The majority of olive oil from kalamata is usually koroneiko. It has a dark green color and the taste has a peppery kick to it. Deeeeelish!
 
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It's very important to buy only extra virgin olive oil from one producer (which means no mix of olives of doubtful origin) and even better if it's cold-pressed. This is the only olive oil that retains its health benefits. It should also be in a glass or metal container not plastic and not see-through.
 
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f you're like me, you probably spend more time than necessary in the olive oil aisle, contemplating the sea of green and gold bottles. It's easy to be overwhelmed, but choosing a high-quality olive oil is crucial, especially when you're cooking with something as rich and robust as Greek cuisine. Greek olive oil isn't just an essential ingredient; it's a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet and praised globally for its flavor and health benefits.

When it comes to selecting authentic Greek olive oil, it's all about the details. Look for oils with the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), which ensures the product's origin and production standards are in line with Greek tradition. Additionally, consider the harvest date; fresh olive oil, within the past year ideally, is key.

For the most part, I stick to some known olive oil brands like Lakonika if I can find them. Otherwise, I do my best to buy the Greek olive oil at a store where I had the ability to taste it first. For me, the flavor is key. I can tell if it's gone a little rancid by the flavor, too.
 
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The best award winning olive oil is from Crete...Terra Creta.....
 
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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...

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What foods do you like to eat in Greece?

I thought I would make a list of all the foods I love eating in Greece. What are your favorites? Here's my list:
  • Saganaki - love this hot cheese dish!
  • Octopus (grilled) - I can't seen to find the good stuff outside of Greece.
  • Horta - love the mix of greens they use in Greece.
  • Fasolakia - the fresh ingredients make this stunning
  • Gyro - I love gyros in Greece the best
What do you love to eat in Greece?

Using Kataifi Pastry Dough

I just watched a video somewhere (I lost track of where I saw it) on using kataifi pastry dough to make a spanakopita-like bite. I then watched another one on tiro pita using kataifi dough.

Honestly, I had never thought of this. I only just use it to make "kataifi". I thought I'd collect a list of ideas. Do you guys have any ideas?

  1. Kataifi Shrimp: Wrapping seasoned shrimp in Kataifi strands and baking until golden. It makes for a delightful appetizer that's crunchy on the outside with succulent shrimp inside.
  2. Kataifi Tarts: Using small molds to shape the Kataifi into tart shells, then filling them with either savory fillings like spinach and feta or sweet fillings like lemon curd or chocolate ganache.
  3. Spanakopita. Make the regular spanakopita filling but instead, roll it between sheets of kataifi. Can do the same with tiro pita filling/
What are your ideas? Maybe cheesecake roles? I am not sure how to accomplish that.

Using Greek Yogurt in Cooking

I love eating Greek yogurt with a little honey and sometimes walnuts in the morning for breakfast. You an cook with it, too! I thought I'd make a list of some of my favorite ways to use it to share with you all. How do you like to cook with Greek yogurt?
  1. Marinades: Yogurt is a fantastic meat tenderizer. Mixing it with herbs and spices for a marinade not only imparts flavors but also ensures meats like lamb and chicken come out tender and juicy.
  2. Tzatziki: This classic Greek dip combines yogurt with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon vinegar or dill, creating a perfectly cool and refreshing side that pairs wonderfully with grilled meats.
  3. Baking: Yogurt can be added to cakes or pastries, providing moisture and a slight tanginess that complements the sweetness of the desserts.
  4. Soups: It’s also a thickening agent for traditional soups, adding a hint of tanginess and creaminess without overpowering the main ingredients.
  5. Sauces: Beyond tzatziki, yogurt serves as a base for various sauces, enhancing the flavors of vegetables and meats.

What is tsipouro?

Today, I'm curious to learn more about a Greek spirit that's caught my attention — Tsipouro. Often mentioned alongside other legendary beverages like Ouzo, Tsipouro seems to be a significant part of Greek culinary and social tradition, yet it doesn't seem to have the same international fame.

From what little I've gathered, Tsipouro is a strong distilled spirit made from grape pomace, the residue left after wine production. But my understanding barely scratches the surface. I am curious first of all if this is the same thing as Raki on Crete. Also, on Crete I had Raki with honey - can you do that with Tsipouro?

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