When visiting Greece, here is a quick list of what to bring back home.
It’s exactly what the name says: a sweet served on a spoon. Made from sugar and fresh fruit, sometimes vegetables and even rose petals, you can it eat plain from a spoon, on ice cream, yogurt, or even as a topping for cheesecake.
Sour cherry syrup that you can dissolve in a glass of cold water on a hot summer day or enjoy on ice cream or yogurt.
Honey and sesame bars: an ideal, rich in protein snack.
Known as “mountain tea” or in Greek tsai tou vounou. Translating into “made of iron”, several studies have shown that this tea contains potent antioxidants.
Try all varieties: from the well known juicy Kalamata olive, to the huge Amfissa, you’ll find one to suit your taste.
The real thing. You will find a huge variety in any Greek super market. If you are lucky enough try the homemade ones. Extra creamy and higher in protein than your average yogurt.
Sugar-based gel like morsels flavored with rose water or mastic with or without hazelnuts or walnuts.
Greeks are among the highest consumers of cheese in the world. Don’t limit yourself to the popular feta and graviera, there is huge variety and many are a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
You can’t go to Greece and not bring back home a few bottles of olive oil. Greek olive oil is among the best; the most common variety of olive used is the koroneiki, a variety originating from Greece and known for it’s high content of antioxidants. You can find olive oil for all tastes: mild, sharp, smooth, or buttery.
Helopites or trahanas
Greek square-shaped pasta and sweet or sour pellet-like pasta.
Greek Dried Figs
Sweet, succulent and an excellent source of fiber.
Natural gum from the matsiha tree. Studies have shown that it can treat bad breath and ulcers.
Greek saffron, considered one of the worlds finest.
Greece is known for it’s honey and has a huge range of honey types: sweet, not too sweet or even bitter, thyme, pine or flower honey. Buy them all.
Rusks from the island of Crete. Made from barley, paximadia are a healthy source of carbohydrates and go well with feta, olives and tomatoes, plus they have a long shelf life.
Not your average pistachio, high nutritional value but tastier. Straight off the tree from the island of Aegina.
Concentrated vanilla or Mastic confection packed in jars. Take a scoop with a long spoon and dip it in a tall glass of cold water, eat it right off the spoon while dipping it in the water.
Loutza, apaki or singlino
Smoked ham from different parts of Greece, sliced thinly and cured in Greek herbs and vinegar.
Much like molasses, this natural sweetener is made of the condensed juices of grapes.
Special thanks to my journalist/foodie sister Maria for her contribution.