Greek Food : More than just Moussaka

Greek food is known for the freshness of its ingredients. That hasn’t changed but the variety and quality of dishes has improved recently.

When we first arrived here in 2000 we were impressed by the taste of the food but disappointed by the lack of variety. Greeks are traditional and it seemed to us that every restaurant and taverna had identical menus. As much as we liked tzatziki, fava, Greek salad, saganaki and calamari, you grow tired of them after a while.

Over the past 15 years things have changed. Many tavernas now offer delicious daily specials. Among my favourites are pies with a vareity of interesting things inside, stuffed mussels, aubergine flowers, feta with honey and sesame, and home-made beefburgers filled with cheese.

Don’t expect the same food year round, though. Greeks will serve what is in season so the specials change throughout the year.

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Here”s some information about your food when you come on a sailing course with us.

FOOD ON BOARD

At the start of the week we put food on board for continental breakfasts and salad lunches for the first couple of days. Typically you’ll find cereal, fruit, Greek yoghurt, jam, fresh bread, cooked chicken, cold meats and cheese, and a variety of salad ingredients.

We can provide items for those with gluten or lactose intolerance but Greek islands are limited in what specialist supplies are available.

We don’t put food on board for the whole week. We like you to have fresh food and some choice in what you eat. Your instructor will have a kitty from which you can buy food as needed. This also covers mooring dues, electricity, and emergency repairs any replacements that may be needed. There should be plenty of money for food but we ask you please not to buy more than you will eat. It is disappointing to have to throw out wasted food at the end of the week.

The kitty is also not for alcoholic drinks or lots of snacks but you can certainly buy packets of biscuits if you wish.

Some people love to sit in a cafe by the harbour in the morning and have omelettes with ham and cheese and a cappuchino for breakfast. If you prefer this to eating in the cockpit or saloon that’s fine and you’re welcome to do so, but please note that, if you choose to drink coffee or eat any of your daytime meals ashore, this will be at your own expense.

FOOD ASHORE

On the first night we arrange a meal for all the crew at a local restaurant next to the harbour that specialises in seafood (they have other things for those who do not like fish).

It’s a great ice-breaker as you will meet everyone who is sailing that week. You can compare notes, worries, hopes and fears … You’ll be served a selection of local dishes so you can try everything. The meal costs 18 euro a head, including wine and a tip. (beer may be charged extra)

On the other evenings you’ll eat ashore at the various places you visit. We don’t recommend cooking on board as it makes the yacht hot. Your instructor can suggest places to eat where the quality and quantity of food will be good but you are completely free to eat anywhere you wish.

Vegetarians will find plenty of choice in Greece. Those with other requirements will generally find enough to eat but you may choose to bring some items with you as specialist food is not readily available on Greek islands.

If you want to explore and find somewhere to eat on your own, that’s fine. Your instructor will be happy to have a quiet evening. If you choose to eat with your instructor they will normally receive a complimentary meal from the restaurant, if it’s one they use regularly, but some places may charge for the instructor’s food. As your instructor will still be ‘on duty’ if they eat with you, it is normal that the price of their meal is shared by the students, if the restaurant charges them.

You should budget for 18-20 euro a head for your evening meal, including wine and a tip. Some fish may cost more and beer is more expensive than drinking carafes of wine.

In Greece, unlike northern Europe, it is common for food to be ordered for the whole party. This may either just be the starter (meze) and everyone orders their own main course, or it may be both starters and main course and people serve themselves to whatever they want. The bill is usually divided equally but if you have ordered something expensive or had a lot of beer or bottled wine, rather than local wine, it is thoughtful if you contribute a little more towards the total cost.

If you are uncomfortable with the price of evening meals being shared equally among the crew or if you do not want to contribute to your instructor’s meal, you may prefer to make your own eating arrangements. You are completely free to do this any evening.

IF YOU HAVE A SWEET TOOTH

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Greek restaurants will not normally have a selection of desserts. You’ll probably be offered a complimentary sweet. This may be watermelon (which has the lovely Greek name of karpousi), oranges, yoghurt with a sweet sauce (often pistachio here on Aegina0, or something more substantial such as walnut cake.

If you want to try a Greek dessert you should leave plenty of room after your main meal and go to a specialist confectioners, a zacharoplasteio.

They normally also service alcohol and a selection of coffess. There you can indulge yourself and sit as long as you want, watching the world go by.

FOOD FOR PRESENTS

If you’re looking for a gift to take back, why not consider a Taste of Greece – maybe some wonderful Aegina Pistachios, Greek olive oil, or loukoumia (the Greek version of Turkish Delight)

and finally …

You’ll often hear your waiter say something as you start your meal. It will be Kalí óreksi (Καλή όρεξη), the Greek equivalent of ‘Bon Appetit’. If you want to use the phrase yourself, click below to hear how it sounds.

 

 

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