Greece is famous for the delicious Gyros, the Greek fast food, full of meat and grease. However, the economic crisis has brought back one of the very good Greek habits: the Mediterranean diet! Cheap and healthy, the Mediterranean diet has a lot to offer to all Greeks as well as tourists willing to try a taste of the Greek diet.
What is best than extra virgin olive oil? Widely used in Greece, olive oil is loaded with antioxidants and healthy monosaturated fats. It has a lot of health benefits such as reducing inflammation in the body, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and even reducing cancer risk. Even though Greece ranks third (behind Spain and Italy) in world olive oil manufacturing, it is actually the top world olive producer. More than half of Greece’s land is cultivated with olive trees and can offer 50 different species of olives. In AthenStyle hostel, the owners produce their own olive oil from their trees in Kalamata, which is used for cooking at the AthenStyle restaurant as well as in breakfast and it is also available in reception in case you want to take a bottle with you.
Greece is surrounded by sea, so what would you expect to eat? Seafood of course! Greece is certainly seafood paradise According to a legend Poseidon, the god of the sea, blessed the Athenians with a plentiful array of fish and seafood and in return the Athenians built the Temple of Poseidon in tribute. Very close to AthenStyle hostel, you can find the central market, where you can always find the day’s fresh catch, bursting with omega-3 fatty acid, which helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and assists in reducing blood clots. There are also strict rules underpinning trade as per Greek Commercial Law: all fish and freshly cut meat must be sold on the same day, so it’s not unusual to find chefs from nearby restaurants and taverns coming for a deal as the clock veers towards 6pm. There is an incredible variety of produce on offer, a lot cheaper than at supermarkets, so here is your chance to get some fresh fish or prawns!
Another big part of the Greek diet are fruits and vegetables: right next to the fish market you can find the vibrant Fruit and Vegetable market! Everyone knows how important fruits and vegetables are for a healthy diet, as they are a vital food source on their own and Greeks keep up to this by eating even as much as six servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Honey has been used by countless cultures all around the world over the past 2,500 years. While the numerous health benefits of honey have made it an important element of traditional and modern medicines. In Greece, you can find the delicious loukoumades and all kinds of sweet pastry covered with honey.
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products: Greece has more than 100 products that have been awarded as PDO, most of them cheeses, olive oils, olives, varieties of honey as well as different types of fruits and vegetables. All of them are manufactured traditionally and entirely within Greece ensuring their unique qualities and protecting the reputation of authentic, regional foods. The most famous Greek PDO is of course the world wide known feta cheese.
Masticha is the mastic oil, gathered from the resin of the mastic tree, a small evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region. Mastiha produced on the island of Chios is one of the Greek products awarded with as PDO. In Greece, it is used to make a healthy chewing gum, a sweet liqueur or different sweets. The sap forms droplets that harden into crystals that are odorless and essentially tasteless, but can be softened in the mouth and chewed like gum.