When you think of Greek cuisine, you might think of gyros, souvlaki, and moussaka. However, one of the most beloved culinary traditions in Greece and on the island of Crete is the practice of mezedes (Μεζέδες), small plates of food that are meant to be shared amongst friends and family while enjoying a drink or two.
Mezedes come in all shapes and sizes, from simple dips and spreads to more elaborate dishes like grilled octopus or stuffed vine leaves. The variety of mezedes is truly impressive, and there is something to please everyone’s taste buds.
One of the most iconic mezedes in Greece is tzatziki, a dip made from yogurt, garlic, and cucumbers. It is typically served with bread or vegetables and it is the perfect accompaniment to a glass of ouzo or raki.
Another popular meze is melitzanosalata, a roasted eggplant dip that is flavored with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. It has a smoky flavor and a creamy texture which makes it irresistible.
For seafood lovers, grilled octopus is a must-try meze. The tender, charred octopus is served with lemon juice and olive oil, and is bursting with flavor.
Stuffed vine leaves, or dolmades, are another popular meze in Greece. The vine leaves are filled with a mixture of rice, herbs, and spices, and are typically served cold with a bit of tzatziki on the side.
One of the most unique mezedes you’ll find in Crete is snails, or hohlioi, which are typically served stuffed with a mixture of rice, herbs, and spices. They have a chewy texture and a rich, meaty flavor that pairs perfectly with a glass of raki or wine.
Other delicious mezedes that are popular in Greece and Crete include fava, a dip made from split yellow peas, taramasalata, a creamy dip made from fish roe, and saganaki, a fried cheese dish that is served hot and crispy.
Mezedes are more than just a culinary tradition – they are a way of life. In Greece and Crete, they are typically enjoyed in a relaxed, social setting, with friends and family gathered around a table, sharing stories and laughter over plates of delicious food and glasses of wine or ouzo.
So, if you ever come to Greece or Crete, make sure to enjoy the culinary delights of mezedes. From tzatziki to grilled octopus to stuffed vine leaves, the variety of mezes is sure to leave you satisfied and happy.
When it comes to mezedes, the possibilities are endless. These small plates of food are not only delicious but also a great way to experience the flavors and culture of Greece and Crete. Here are five more mezedes to tantalize your taste buds:
- Spanakopita – Spanakopita is a savory pastry made with spinach and feta cheese. The filling is wrapped in layers of phyllo pastry and baked to golden perfection. The result is a crispy, flavorful meze that is perfect for sharing.
- Keftedes – Keftedes are Greek meatballs made with ground beef or lamb, onions, and herbs. They are typically fried until crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and served with tzatziki sauce. Keftedes are a classic meze that are sure to satisfy any meat lover’s appetite.
- Revithada – Revithada is a vegan meze made with chickpeas, onions, and olive oil. The dish is slow-cooked in the oven until the chickpeas are tender and the flavors have melded together. Revithada is a hearty and flavorful meze that is perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
- Kalamari – Kalamari, or fried squid, is a popular seafood meze in Greece and Crete. The squid is typically coated in seasoned flour and fried until crispy and golden brown. Kalamari is typically served with lemon wedges and a side of tzatziki sauce.
- Dakos – Dakos is a Cretan meze made with barley rusk, tomatoes, feta cheese, and olive oil. The barley rusk is moistened with water and olive oil, then topped with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions, and feta cheese. The result is a fresh and flavorful meze that is perfect for sharing on a hot summer day.
No matter what your taste buds are craving, mezedes are sure to satisfy. From crispy spanakopita to juicy keftedes to hearty revithada, there is a meze for everyone. So, grab a glass of ouzo or wine and enjoy the delicious flavors of Greece and Crete.