A still unknown kitchen
For many of us, Greek cuisine is limited to moussaka or, worse, pita… However, Charlotte Deprez, Belgian blogger (@thetinynomad) and editor of the @greece.please account on Instagram, encourages us to look further: “10 years ago, in the collective imagination, Greek cuisine was limited to vine leaves and restaurants with Doric columns. But with the craze for Greece as a tourist destination and the opening of high-quality Greek restaurants in Belgium, I observe an incredible evolution of the offer and the interest for this gastronomy so rich and nuanced. Moreover, Greek cuisine has always given pride of place to fruits and vegetables, legumes and olive oil, which makes it surprisingly modern today! And don’t get me started on Greek wines, totally underrated and, too, in the midst of a renaissance…”
Indeed, if Greek cuisine is qualified as Mediterranean cuisine, it differs from Italian cuisine: we taste specialties such as tarama, bread with olive oil, spanakopita, saganaki (a fried cheese, to die for) and eggplant fritters… So there’s no pasta here, apart from the small Greek pasta, often cooked in the oven and gratinated with feta.
A verified boom
It is not surprising that Greek cuisine is currently experiencing a real boom. A study by Deliveroo spotted this trend last year, when the delivery service identified 65% new Greek restaurants. In two years, the number of Greek restaurants present on the platform has increased from 30 to 83. Most of them are located in Brussels, but Flanders is also seduced by Greek gastronomy; and not just by gyros pitas. In Brussels, establishments like Notos give pride of place to Greek gastronomy in high-end fashion. Here, no pitta, but dishes like this carpaccio of langoustines or a hake from the shellfish market… As it seems absurd to us today to limit Italian gastronomy to pizza and spaghetti bolognese, it is time to ( re)discover Greek cuisine and its secrets.
If Greek restaurants abound in Brussels, learn to read the menu and dare to vary from the simple Greek salad: don’t miss the tarama (when it’s homemade), grilled fish, or the famous youvetsi, a dish of simmered lamb, served with a gratin of Greek pasta with feta and tomatoes. Also test the haloumi grilled with vegetables (a cheese to die for, served grilled) and of course, octopus and squid in all their forms, an undisputed specialty of Greek chefs…
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