GREEK MEZE

Healthy & Delicious Meals from the Greek Table

 

Meze; if you look it up in a dictionary, you will find the following definitions: “small quantity of spicy, delicious food that is served as/and appetizer of/with drinks”. Also, “a small quantity of deliciously cooked food”. Descriptive, but plain explanations that leave out the connotations of the word, which are not few: meze brings to mind something delicious, something you have tasted and have not forgotten. It is food you taste at the seaside, under the bright sun or before – or instead of – dinner, after long hours of swimming and sightseeing.

 

Dictionary of Greek tastes :

 

Haloumi cheese : a semi soft cheese, not very salty; usually made from sheep’s milk

Myzithra cheese : traditional Greek whey cheese. Manufactured from whey derived from ewe’s, goats’ or cows’ milk or mixtures of milks. There are two types of Myzithra. Fresh Myzithra is unsalted or slightly salted and consumed a few hours of days after its manufacture and dried Myzithra is salted, dried and consumed as grated cheese.

Saganaki : a small doubled handled frying pan that can be used in the oven as well

Tzatziki : a garlic flavoured dip made from thick Greek yoghurt, cucumbers and garlic usually used to accompany meat dishes

Ouzo : classic Greek drink made from a precise combination of pressed grapes, herbs and berries including aniseed, licorice, mint, wintergreen, fennel and hazelnut, not produced by distillation. Made by mixing pure alcohol with water and small quantities of ethereal oils which have of late replaced the anise and fennel used in times past. When mixing Ouzo with water it will turn whitish and opaque. The reason is that the anise oil dissolves and becomes invisible when mixed with conventional alcohol content, but as soon as the alcohol content is reduced, the essential oils transform into white crystals, which you cannot see through.

Raki : a Cretan drink similar in taste to tsipouro but with a stronger aroma and made from anise and licorice. The term rakizio derives from the process used for distillation. Similar to the Indian drink Arrack.

Mavrodaphne wine : a fortified sweet wine, red-leaning-towards-dark-amber in colour, usually 15% alcohol and aged for about six years. This wine has a rich, raisiny, pleasantly bitter taste.

Kadaifi pastry : Greek stringy shaped, dry pastry dough, rather like shredded wheat in appearance

 

Information from the book “GREEK MEZE - Healthy and Delicious Meals from the Greek Table” - from the Chef Charalambos Georgiou from Tsitsilonis Editions ( 91 Ippokratous St. Athens, T: 210 360 41 69). It is a splendid book about Greek mezedes, with dictionary of Greek cuisine and “mouth-watering” pictures.

©2006 Info Editions