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Snacking in Greece
Is your stomach growling but is still not lunch or dinner time yet? Do not panic... you will never starve in Greece
Exploring the ancient sites is hungry work! When you’re out and about in a city or on an island, you may not have time for a sit-down meal. Never fear. You can get fantastic snacks at bakeries, cafes, and street vendors – both traditional Greek fare and more modern treats.
If you’re just looking for a quick nibble, split a koulouri with your family. A koulouri is like a large, super-skinny bagel covered in sesame seeds. It’s flavored with a hint of anise and served up warm and toasty.
For something a little sweeter, try loukoumades – Greece’s answer to the donut. There are the warm loukoumades – my daughter’s favorite – and the cold ones. You will find the warm loukoumades in ‘loukoumatzidiko‘ (local cafe that typically sells only that). If you happen to be out in the morning, you can probably find street vendors selling koulouria and cold loukoumades – otherwise, any bakery will have them!
Fruits and nuts are also widely available, depending on what’s in season. Don’t miss out on the local pistachios while you’re here – they’re grown on many islands, most famously Aigina. In fact, pistachios are typically called fistikia Aiginis because the island produces so many. You can get them roasted or fresh. They’re a little smaller than what you’re probably used to, but they’re much tastier and sweeter, too.
If you’re looking for something sweet, try bougatsa –that’s a traditional custard pie with lots of powdered sugar. Bougatsa originally comes from the city of Salonica, but you can get it all over Greece. It’s a little messy, but definitely worth it.
Crepes are another sweet option. They’re not very traditional, but they are widely available and make a safe bet for picky youngsters! Nutella with sliced banana is a classic – and deservedly so! But there are lots of other options to explore – both sweet and savory. I personally love the spinach with feta combination… so delicious.
Amygdalota are marvelous almond pastries – buy some for a snack, and take the rest home for presents. Almost every island will have its own special variation.
On the savory side, you have turnovers or pasties with endless fillings to choose from. Any bakery will have tyropita (a cheese “pie” or turnover, usually with feta), and most places will have spanakopita (spinach “pie”). After that, look for hortopita (wild greens), kolokythopita (zucchini), and prasopita (leek). Some more unusual fillings include mushrooms and tomatoes. We couldn’t possibly pick our favorite – they’re all fabulous. We recommend “Ariston” in downtown Athens, just off Ermou Street (10 Voulis Street). Stop by to sample the enormous variety of traditional Greek turnovers. Just make sure you get there early in the day – they run out fast.
Local bakeries usually bake their own bread – grab some while it’s hot and fresh from the oven. Pair it with some kasseri cheese for a light snack at your hotel. We think that the simplest things are often the best things, and this is no exception.
If you’re really hungry, go for a pita gyro from a souvlatzidiko (or souvlaki joint) – that’s roast pork or chicken (think of shawarma, doner, or even pulled pork) wrapped in a warm pita with tomatoes, french fries, onions, and lots of tzatziki (yoghurt with garlic and cucumbers). A gyro is easy to eat while you’re walking around town. And, in case you were wondering, it’s pronounced YEE-roh!
There’s a whole world of street food waiting to be explored. You’ll find all kinds of exotic flavors and tasty nibbles tucked away here and there. We hope you get the chance to sample as much as possible during your vacation.
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Kids Love Greece has a network of trusted partners which organize cooking lessons and food tours. See all our food related tours HERE.