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12 Fundamental Characteristics of Greek food

Painting by Lisa Lorenz

By George Gkekas*
Greek cuisine has been spreading around the world with many restaurants opening up in many cities while the Mediterranean diet is gaining points for our well-being. Here we gathered the 12 main characteristics that make Greek food tasty, healthy and simply awesome:
1. Sun, Water and Earth
These three elements compose the unique Greek climate, where agricultural products, like olive oil, wines and a great variety of fruits, are yield.
2. Rich taste
Greece is a melting pot of cultures. Placed among Europe, Asia and Africa, Greek cuisine is full of olive oil, fruits, cheeses, wines, spices and so much other flavors, that amazingly compose the traditional recipes.
3. Great variety of choices
There is a great fragmentation thus diversity in the Greek agricultural production. High diversification comes also from climate and local environment, and from the process of production developed  in specific places. Thus encouraging the local, very local, farming and a high diversification of ingredients and recipes.
4. Uniqueness
Throughout Greek land many indigenous herbs, fruits and vine varieties are flourishing. Some of them are unique worldwide.
5. Tradition
Specific foods, like local cheeses & spoon sweets for example, keep the traditional production process through centuries. Some recipes are so local that the average Greek of a different area may not even be aware of it.
6. Authenticity
Some recipes often found in many versions throughout Greece. However, each one has developed a unique version thanks to the alternative local ingredients used, or the variation in the cooking process. The original is always hard to copy.
7. They have a story
Every Greek food product, every recipe is connected with a unique story or many stories depending on the location. Most of them go back to ancient Greece.
8. It is Mediterranean
Of course.
9. Healthy
Many scientists have argued that the well-known Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world. To mention only a couple of examples: The average life expectancy in Ikaria island is over 80 while Cretans demonstrate extremely low percentages in heart disease.
10. Made with “meraki”
This is one of a few Greek words that can’t be translated in English. It means doing something with great passion, experimental know-how, skills, and delight together. Have you ever seen a Greek farmer collecting olives, a shepherd milking a goat, or a wine maker taking care of the must before turns into wine?
You will experience the meraki when you realize the dedication of these farmers.
11.Translated” in many languages.
Greek food ingredients can easily adapt to many national cuisines. Think, Greek yogurt, feta or mastiha.
12. Sacred
Some foods are not just “food,” especially for ancient Greeks. They were sacred elements like the olive tree, bread, or wine which were considered gifts offered to humans by the Gods. They are also accompanied with lots of symbolisms and legends.
*George Gkekas is a Brand & Business Development specialist, you can visit his website here.

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