Exploring the Greek food culture in Athens

AthensGreek Gastronomy

For the average resident of Athens food is much more than simple sustenance. It is a hobby, a part of history, an endless passion.

I have to admit that my experience of a personalized private food tour of Athens gave me a much greater insight into the local culture than the mainstream city highlights and the museums. In this 4-hour food-tour, I had the opportunity to walk in neighbourhoods off the beaten track, interact with locals, taste original recipes and learn about emblematic products.

Koulouri is the Athenian breakfast Photo Credit: Greece Insiders

My food-wise personal guide was very knowledgeable and provided me with great stories about the origin of the food we sampled, the way it is cooked and the cultural significance for the locals.

Traditional cuisine is passed down from one generation to the next. It also operates as an expression of cultural identity. Immigrants bring the food of their countries with them wherever they go and cooking traditional food is a way of preserving their culture when they move to new places. Athens is a cultural crossroads between the West and the East and that is strongly expressed and reflected through the local cuisine and its flavours.

Loukoumades – The Greek Donuts with honey Photo Credit: Greece Insiders

Athens Food tour

Within just 4 hours I had the chance to indulge in mouth-watering sweet and savoury delicacies, I visited specialized food stores sourcing the best products from all over Greece and of course the city’s vibrant central food market where local vendors exhibit their produce from across the country. I learned how to select the best products by the way they look, smell or feel and enjoyed a cup of traditional Greek coffee, while listening to stories about its rich and interesting history. Check here for more things to see and do in Athens, or places to eat.

The Athens Central Food Market Photo Credit: Greece Insiders

After this yummy and fulfilling food experience, I came to realize that it’s not only the ingredients that make Greek cuisine unique; the belief in sharing meals with others, focusing on nutrition, and celebrating life are the main characteristics that define the dining experience.

My advice to all fellow travellers who visit Athens, is to definitely include this unique food-exploring experience in their itinerary. It is undoubtedly the best way to get a real taste of Greece!

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