Halal Consumer - Issue 54

WWW.IFANCA.ORG 16 CHEF INSIGHTS Greece, which is surrounded on three sides by water, has always been a seafaring nation throughout its history. Its landmass includes 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 227 are inhab- ited. As seafarers, they traveled and traded throughout the Mediterranean. The first traces of human settlements in Greece appeared during the Paleolithic Age (approximately 120,000 to 10,000 BC) and were organized into various independent city-states that colonized much of the ancient world from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece is considered the “cradle of Western civilization,” being the birthplace of democracy and Western philosophy, as well as the creator of the Olympic Games. The Greek cuisine is diverse, with an abundance of seafood, chicken, sheep, goat, fresh vegetables, and a multitude of herbs and spices. It is not uncommon for a dish to be made several different ways, as each region’s cuisine is based on the ingredients grown in that area. For example, By Chef Demetrios Haralambatos spanakopita (spinach and feta cheese wrapped in phyllo) is made only with spinach in northern Greece. In the south, however, leeks are added to the spinach. The Greek diet is considered one of the healthiest and has been heavily documented, including in the Deipnosophis- tae (“The Dinner Sophists/Philosophers/Experts”), an early Greek work from 3rd century AD. Written by Athe- naeus of Naucratis, it is sometimes called “the oldest sur- viving cookbook.” The cuisine of Greece is also a cuisine that features mezze (small plates). It is not uncommon to enter a restaurant and ask for four, eight, or twelve depending on the number of mezze plates desired. Any main dish can be turned into a mezze. OPA! For additional recipes, download the PDF here. The Cuisine of Greece