While Greece may be renowned for its picturesque islands and iconic blue and white architecture, a trip to the country is incomplete without savoring its timeless cuisine. Greek gastronomy, one of the world's oldest culinary traditions, is distinguished by its devotion to fresh, top-notch ingredients and Mediterranean flavors, resulting in a delightful fusion of simplicity and hearty tastes.
Set on the captivating island of Paros, the boutique MINOIS Hotel embodies the region's rich heritage in every aspect. With breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, the hotel's restaurant, Olvo, overseen by Michelin-starred chef Alexander Tsiotinis, delivers authentic and distinctive Greek dishes to its guests. For travelers looking to embark on an authentic Greek culinary journey of their own, Chef Tsiotinis and Manolis Leka, Chef de Cuisine at Olvo, share their top three insider tips:
1 - In Moussaka we (don’t always) trust: Moussaka, a celebrated Greek dish, is widely available, but its authentic preparation can be elusive. According to Chef Alexander, it's best to avoid ordering moussaka from restaurants that lack travelers’ trust, as it often loses its bold flavors due to reheating from the freezer. He recommends travelers seek out local and smaller eateries, where they can observe a skilled chef, often a "nice lady behind the stove," who respects the culinary traditions.
2 - Fish out of the box: While in Greece, the chefs recommend travelers skip meat and savor the richness of seafood instead. Foodies are recommended to go beyond the usual options of sea bass and bream, often farm-raised, and trying dishes like grouper, scorpion fish, or dentex to experience Greece's traditional culinary specialties.
3 - Meze the moment: Greece's dining philosophy revolves around "meze," a Mediterranean term for appetizers. It is recommended that travelers break away from the traditional mentality of first and main courses and, instead, embrace a diverse array of smaller portions. Dishes such as fried zucchini, dolmas, tzatziki, marinated octopus, and Horta (wild greens) as essential for fully experiencing the Mediterranean dining traditions.