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nadellii

Active member
I have been studying the "Blue Zone" concept and I am excited to see that an island in Greece made the cut. In my research about the island, I can see that some of the food is a little different than it is in the rest of Greece, and that it is very much tied to what is available on the island. I know other places in Greece are like this, too, such as Crete. Anyway, I wanted to research a bit about the cuisine of Ikaria. Please chime in with any feedback about this list, or if you have anything to add:
  • Like a lot of Greece, Ikarians seem to forage. I saw salad recipes with purslane and other wild greens
  • Lots of fresh food, like freshly picked veggies and fruits, fresh-caught fit
  • It seems that when an animal is used, they use as much of the animal as they can (organ meats, bones, the regular meat, etc)
  • I believe the food supply on the island is self sustaining?
  • They drink a lot of wine on the island
I am not 100% sure how this is any different from other places, like Crete. I think Ikaria made the list because of the life expectancy and overall health? Does anyone know of any good dishes I can try?
 

PemiKanavos

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Nadellii,
Ikaria produces a wonderful cheese from the goats that roam the mountains called Kathoura. Also their pine honey “peukomelo” is tooted to be one of the best honeys in Greece. One of their most famous dishes is called “Soufiko”. It is a medley of various vegetables.
 
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Vangelis

Active member
I went to Ikaria last year for a week. It was beautiful. The people were so much more relaxed and less money-focussed than the more touristy islands. The food was incredible! It was the best Greek food I have had at a restaurant anywhere in Greece. From what I could see, they eat a lot of fish and vegetables. They also dance a lot at paniyiria! It was a great experience and if you are interested in the blue zones, definitely worth a visit!
 
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nadellii

Active member
Hi Nadellii,
Ikaria produces a wonderful cheese from the goats that roam the mountains called Kathoura. Also their pine honey “peukomelo” is tooted to be one of the best honeys in Greece. One of their most famous dishes is called “Soufiko”. It is a medley of various vegetables.
Thank you! I will look for this these, and the honey and other foods, as well.
 

nadellii

Active member
I went to Ikaria last year for a week. It was beautiful. The people were so much more relaxed and less money-focussed than the more touristy islands. The food was incredible! It was the best Greek food I have had at a restaurant anywhere in Greece. From what I could see, they eat a lot of fish and vegetables. They also dance a lot at paniyiria! It was a great experience and if you are interested in the blue zones, definitely worth a visit!
These are some beautiful insights. It really sounds like they live such a healthy lifestyle. - it sounds like it doesn't matter which restaurant I visit, it's likely all good? Goes to show you that being a "blue zone" is about more than just the food. I can't wait to see it in action.
 
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Vangelis

Active member
These are some beautiful insights. It really sounds like they live such a healthy lifestyle. - it sounds like it doesn't matter which restaurant I visit, it's likely all good? Goes to show you that being a "blue zone" is about more than just the food. I can't wait to see it in action.
Not every restaurant is great. Stick to the traditional ones and you will be rewarded. We stayed in Armenistis and we drove up the mountain a little (10mins I think) and there we found Τα μπακαλιαρακια της Αθηνας

The food was amazing. Very unique too.
 

k_tsoukalas

Administrator
Not every restaurant is great. Stick to the traditional ones and you will be rewarded. We stayed in Armenistis and we drove up the mountain a little (10mins I think) and there we found Τα μπακαλιαρακια της Αθηνας

The food was amazing. Very unique too.
I agree with this advice not just in Ikaria, but everywhere in Greece. Stick with traditional places! Also, Vangelis, thank you for sharing the name of the restaurant. I have never actually been to Ikaria but have a list of "possibilities" for Greece and I tucked this away for when I go eventually.
 
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Getting to know the different Greek spirits

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!

What is Mahlepi Spice Exactly?

I have some Greek recipes that call for Mahlepi (in Greek) - also known as Maheleb and other names, depending on the language. I have recently found a source near me - a place where I can buy it - so I can try some of the recipes.

I also did some research about what it is! Thought I'd share:

This unique spice has its roots in the fragrant cherry plums of the Prunus mahaleb tree in the Middle East. The seeds inside these little fruits are ground to make the mahleb spice that we've come to love.

Mahleb hits you with a sweet, floral scent, and a flavor that's a mix of bitter almond and cherry, with just a touch of spice. It's a star player in Greek baked goods like tsoureki, a sweet bread that's a staple during Easter but is also used in many other pastries and breads.

Favorite Greek healthy foods

The first month of the new year is over and I still don't feel like I have a handle on healthy eating. It was one of my goals for the year! I eat far too much junk and when I sit down for a meal, it's a little more decadent than it should be for me to lose the ten pounds I gained since last summer.

I thought I'd make a list of some of my favorite Greek foods I plan to eat to slim things down a bit.

Greek Salad

Starting with the basics, a Greek salad is a combination of sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, green bell peppers, red onion, olives, and feta cheese, typically seasoned with salt and oregano and dressed with olive oil. It’s a dish packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich vegetables.

Horta and Hortopita

Hortopita, or wild greens pie, is a savory dish filled with a variety of nutritious greens like spinach, kale, chard, and dandelion greens. I can dial back on the cheese to make it healthier.

I also love Horta, or boiled greens. maybe I can steam it instead of boil and then use less olive oil than I normally would have.

Souvlaki

Traditionally served in pita bread with tzatziki, souvlaki can be made with chicken, pork, or lamb skewers, and they’re often grilled. High in protein and light on carbs, it’s perfect for a post-workout meal. As far as meat dishes goes, this one is on the lighter side and I can primarily choose chicken to trim things down a bit.

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?

Greek Cabbage Salad Recipe

I have been making a lot of Greek cabbage salad. I thought I'd share my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of green cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, grated carrot, sliced cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and parsley. Toss gently to mix.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat all the ingredients evenly.
  4. Let the salad sit for at least 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Serve in a large salad bowl or on individual plates and enjoy this refreshing and zesty Greek cabbage salad.
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