A brief guide to Greek delights

Many believe that no holiday is complete without a taste of a locality’s culinary favourites. If you’re travelling to Greece on one of the ten weekly flights leaving our airport to Athens this summer, you should know that Greek food is as delightful to pronounce as it is to savour.

Air Malta

 x2 weekly (until 28th July)
Aegean

x5 weekly (July & August)

x4 weekly (rest of summer)

Ryanair

x3 weekly (all year round)

When it comes to ordering mezethes and orektika (appetisers) you might find your tongue tripping over dolmathakia and tzatziki, especially if your head is already spinning from a couple of ouzos and tsipouros!

If this sounds Greek to you don’t worry, as we’ve picked a couple of popular dishes and drinks – along with their pronunciation – to help you get your order right without having to point at the menu. Are you ready to get your digestive juices going?

Dolmathakia (dohl-mah-THAHK-yah)

These small parcels of meat, rice, and herbs wrapped in vine leaves are ideal to share as appetisers before a main meal. The name comes from the Turkish word dolma meaning “stuffed” so be careful not to eat too many before your mains.

Halloumi (ha-loo-mee)

This semi-hard chewy, white cheese originates from Cyprus and is made from cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk, or a combination of all three. It has a mild salty flavour and is usually grilled and drizzled with a dash of Greek olive oil. Yumm!

Moussaka (moo-sah-KAH)

Perhaps one of the most widely-recognised Greek dishes, classic Moussaka is a casserole made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling and then topping it off with a creamy bechamel sauce and baked to golden perfection. Eggplant is sometimes replaced by layers of potatoes, zucchini, or other vegetables. Dig in those layers!

Souvlaki (soo-VLAH-kee)

These little skewers of pork, chicken, beef or lamb are left in a red wine marinade for around three hours to fully absorb the flavour, and then grilled. Souvlakia are traditionally wrapped in pita bread and then topped with a variety of condiments such as lettuce, tomato, onions, and of course tzatziki (zat-ZEE-key) to make a gyro sandwich. Tzatziki is a refreshing sauce made from a blend of cucumber, dill, yoghurt, and olive oil. In putting together this brief guide, we even discovered that the correct pronunciation of gyros, according to Greek natives, is yee-ROSS!

Loukoumades (loo-koo-MAH-thez)

Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, loukoumades are golden puffs of fried dough, drizzled with sweet syrup and topped off with cinnamon and walnuts. Go slow on the appetisers if you have a sweet tooth and want to leave enough room for these bite-size delights.

Ouzo (oo-zoh) & Tsipouro (tsi-poo-roh)

These two fiery drinks are definitely not for the faint hearted, considering that their alcohol levels are in the region of 40 – 45%. Ouzo is an aniseed-flavoured aperitif, which can be diluted with water if you find that it is too strong to down. Tsipouro, on the other hand, is a wine-based liquor made from the pomace that remains after wine has been made. Whichever drink you order, remeber to raise the glass and make a toast to health with the customary stin uyeia sou (steen ee-YEE-ah soo).

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