Ancient Greek cuisine was characterized by its frugality for most, reflecting agricultural hardship, but a great diversity of ingredients was known, and wealthy Greeks were known to celebrate with elaborate meals and feasts.:95(129c) The cuisine was founded on the "Mediterranean triad" of cereals, olives, and grapes, which had many uses and great commercial value, but other ingredients were as important, if not more so, to the average diet: most notably legumes. Research suggests that the agricultural system of Ancient Greece could not have succeeded without the cultivation of legumes.
Modern knowledge of ancient Greek cuisine and eating habits is derived from textual, archeological, and artistic evidence.
The Greeks had three to four meals a day. Breakfast (ἀκρατισμός akratismós) consisted of barley bread dipped in wine (ἄκρατος ákratos), sometimes complemented by figs or olives. They also ate pancakes called τηγανίτης (tēganítēs), ταγηνίτης(tagēnítēs) or ταγηνίας (tagēnías), all words deriving from τάγηνον (tágēnon), "frying pan". The earliest attested references on tagenias are in the works of the 5th century BC poets Cratinus and Magnes.
Tagenites were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk, and were served for breakfast. Another kind of pancake was σταιτίτης (staititēs), from σταίτινος (staitinos), "of flour or dough of spelt", derived from σταῖς (stais), "flour of spelt". Athenaeus in his Deipnosophistae mentions staititas topped with honey, sesame and cheese.
A quick lunch (ἄριστον ariston) was taken around noon or early afternoon. Dinner (δεῖπνον deipnon), the most important meal of the day, was generally taken at nightfall. An additional light meal (ἑσπέρισμα hesperisma) was sometimes taken in the late afternoon. Ἀριστόδειπνον / aristodeipnon, literally "lunch-dinner", was served in the late afternoon instead of dinner.
Men and women took their meals separately. When the house was too small, the men ate first, the women afterwards. Slaves waited at dinners. Aristotle notes that "the poor, having no slaves, would ask their wives or children to serve food." Respect for the father who was the breadwinner was obvious.
The ancient Greek custom of placing terra cotta miniatures of their furniture in children's graves gives us a good idea of its style and design. The Greeks normally ate while seated on chairs; benches were used for banquets. The tables, high for normal meals and low for banquets, were initially rectangular in shape. By the 4th century BC, the usual table was round, often with animal-shaped legs (for example lion's paws). Loaves of flat bread could be used as plates, but terra cotta bowls were more common.
Dishes became more refined over time, and by the Roman period plates were sometimes made out of precious metals or glass. Cutlery was not often used at the table: use of the fork was unknown; people ate with their fingers. Knives were used to cut the meat. Spoons were used for soups and broths. Pieces of bread (ἀπομαγδαλία apomagdalia) could be used to spoon the food or as napkins to wipe the fingers.
As with modern dinner parties, the host could simply invite friends or family; but two other forms of social dining were well documented in ancient Greece: the entertainment of the all-male symposium, and the obligatory, regimental syssitia.
The symposium (συμπόσιον symposion), traditionally translated as "banquet", but more literally "gathering of drinkers", was one of the preferred pastimes for Greek men. It consisted of two parts: the first dedicated to food, generally rather simple, and a second part dedicated to drinking. However, wine was consumed with the food, and the beverages were accompanied by snacks (τραγήματα tragēmata) such as chestnuts, beans, toasted wheat, or honey cakes, all intended to absorb alcohol and extend the drinking spree.
The second part was inaugurated with a libation, most often in honor of Dionysus, followed by conversation or table games, such as kottabos. The guests would recline on couches (κλίναι klinai); low tables held the food or game boards. Dancers, acrobats, and musicians would entertain the wealthy banqueters. A "king of the banquet" was drawn by lots; he had the task of directing the slaves as to how strong to mix the wine.
With the exception of courtesans, the banquet was strictly reserved for men. It was an essential element of Greek social life. Great feasts could only be afforded by the rich; in most Greek homes, religious feasts or family events were the occasion of more modest banquets. The banquet became the setting of a specific genre of literature, giving birth to Plato's Symposium, Xenophon's work of the same name, the Table Talk of Plutarch's Moralia, and the Deipnosophists (Banquet of the Learned) of Athenaeus.
The syssitia (τὰ συσσίτια ta syssitia) were mandatory meals shared by social or religious groups for men and youths, especially in Crete and Sparta. They were referred to variously as hetairia, pheiditia, or andreia (literally, "belonging to men"). They served as both a kind of aristocratic club and as a military mess. Like the symposium, the syssitia was the exclusive domain of men — although some references have been found to substantiate all-female syssitia. Unlike the symposium, these meals were hallmarked by simplicity and temperance.
In ancient Greece, bread was served with accompaniments known as opson ὄψον, sometimes rendered in English as "relish". This was a generic term which referred to anything which accompanied this staple food, whether meat or fish, fruit or vegetable.
Wheat grains were softened by soaking, then either reduced into gruel, or ground into flour (ἀλείατα aleiata) and kneaded and formed into loaves (ἄρτος artos) or flatbreads, either plain or mixed with cheese or honey. Leavening was known; the Greeks later used an alkali (νίτρον nitron) and wine yeast as leavening agents. Dough loaves were baked at home in a clay oven (ἰπνός ipnos) set on legs.
Bread wheat, difficult to grow in Mediterranean climates, and the white bread made from it, were associated with the upper classes in the ancient Mediterranean, while the poor ate coarse brown breads made from emmer wheat and barley.
A simpler baking method involved placing lighted coals on the floor and covering the heap with a dome-shaped lid (πνιγεύς pnigeus); when it was hot enough, the coals were swept aside, and dough loaves were placed on the warm floor. The lid was then put back in place, and the coals were gathered on the side of the cover. (This method is still traditionally used in Serbia and elsewhere in the Balkans, where it is called crepulja or sač). The stone oven did not appear until the Roman period. Solon, an Athenian lawmaker of the 6th century BC, prescribed that leavened bread be reserved for feast days. By the end of the 5th century BC, leavened bread was sold at the market, though it was expensive.
Barley was easier to produce but more difficult to make bread from. It provided a nourishing but very heavy bread. Because of this it was often roasted before milling, producing a coarse flour (ἄλφιτα alphita) which was used to make μᾶζα maza, the basic Greek dish. Many recipes for maza are known; it could be served cooked or raw, as a broth, or made into dumplings or flatbreads. Like wheat breads, it could also be augmented with cheese or honey.
Millet was growing wild in Greece as early as 3000 BCE, and bulk storage containers for millet have been found from the Late Bronze Age in Macedonia and northern Greece. Hesiod describes that "the beards grow round the millet, which men sow in summer." And millet is listed along with wheat in the 3rd century BCE by Theophrastus in his "Enquiry into Plants"
Legumes were essential to the Greek diet, and were harvested in the Mediterranean region from prehistoric times: the earliest and most common being lentils - which have been found in archeological sites in Greece dating to the Upper Paleolithic period. As one of the first domesticated crops to be introduced to Greece, lentils are commonly found at archaeological sites in the region from the Upper Paleolithic. Lentils and chickpeas are the most frequently mentioned legumes in classical literature.:375
In ancient Greece, fruit and vegetables were a significant part of the diet, as the ancient Greeks consumed much less meat than in the typical diet of modern societies. Legumes would have been important crops, as their ability to replenish exhausted soil was known at least by the time of Xenophon.
Vegetables were eaten as soups, boiled or mashed (ἔτνος etnos), seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, herbs or γάρον gáron, a fish sauce similar to Vietnamese nước mắm. In the comedies of Aristophanes, Heracles was portrayed as a glutton with a fondness for mashed beans. Poor families ate oak acorns (βάλανοι balanoi). Raw or preserved olives were a common appetizer.
In the cities, fresh vegetables were expensive, and therefore, the poorer city dwellers had to make do with dried vegetables. Lentil soup (φακῆ phakē) was the workman's typical dish. Cheese, garlic, and onions were the soldier's traditional fare. In Aristophanes' Peace, the smell of onions typically represents soldiers; the chorus, celebrating the end of war, sings Oh! joy, joy! No more helmet, no more cheese nor onions! Bitter vetch (ὄροβος orobos) was considered a famine food.
Fruits, fresh or dried, and nuts, were eaten as dessert. Important fruits were figs, raisins, and pomegranates. In Athenaeus' Deipnosophistae, he describes a dessert made of figs and broad beans. Dried figs were also eaten as an appetizer or when drinking wine. In the latter case, they were often accompanied by grilled chestnuts, chick peas, and beechnuts.
Meat is much less prominent in texts of the 5th century BC onwards than in the earliest poetry, but this may be a matter of genre rather than real evidence of changes in farming and food customs. Fresh meat was most commonly eaten at sacrifices, though sausage was much more common, consumed by people across the economic spectrum. In addition to the flesh of animals, the ancient greeks often ate inner organs, many of which were considered delicacies such as paunches and tripe
Of paunches and of tripe from gelded beasts,
And love a fragrant pig within the oven.
Hippolochus (3rd Century BCE) describes a wedding banquet in Macedonia with "chickens and ducks, and ringdoves, too, and a goose, and an abundance of suchlike viands piled high... following which came a second platter of silver, on which again lay a huge loaf, and geese, hares, young goats, and curiously moulded cakes besides, pigeons, turtle-doves, partridges, and other fowl in plenty..." and "a roast pig — a big one, too — which lay on its back upon it; the belly, seen from above, disclosed that it was full of many bounties. For, roasted inside it, were thrushes, ducks, and warblers in unlimited number, pease purée poured over eggs, oysters, and scallops":95(129c)
Spartans primarily ate a soup made from pigs' legs and blood, known as melas zōmos (μέλας ζωμός), which means "black soup". According to Plutarch, it was "so much valued that the elderly men fed only upon that, leaving what flesh there was to the younger". It was famous amongst the Greeks. "Naturally Spartans are the bravest men in the world," joked a Sybarite, "anyone in his senses would rather die ten thousand times than take his share of such a sorry diet". It was made with pork, salt, vinegar and blood. The dish was served with maza, figs and cheese sometimes supplemented with game and fish. The 2nd–3rd century author Aelian claims that Spartan cooks were prohibited from cooking anything other than meat.
The consumption of fish and meat varied in accordance with the wealth and location of the household; in the country, hunting (primarily trapping) allowed for consumption of birds and hares. Peasants also had farmyards to provide them with chickens and geese. Slightly wealthier landowners could raise goats, pigs, or sheep. In the city, meat was expensive except for pork. In Aristophanes' day a piglet cost three drachmas, which was three days' wages for a public servant. Sausages were common both for the poor and the rich. Archaeological excavations at Kavousi Kastro, Lerna, and Kastanas have shown that dogs were sometimes consumed in Bronze Age Greece, in addition to the more commonly-consumed pigs, cattle, sheep, and goats.
Herodotus describes a "large fish... of the sort called Antacaei, without any prickly bones, and good for pickling," probably beluga found in Greek colonies along the Dnieper River. Other ancient writers mention skipjack tuna (pelamys); tuna (tonnoi, thynnoi); swordfish (xifiai); sea raven (korakinoi); black carp (melanes kyprinoi), porpoise (phykaina), mackerel (scomber).
In the Greek islands and on the coast, fresh fish and seafood (squid, octopus, and shellfish) were common. They were eaten locally but more often transported inland. Sardines and anchovies were regular fare for the citizens of Athens. They were sometimes sold fresh, but more frequently salted. A stele of the late 3rd century BC from the small Boeotian city of Akraiphia, on Lake Copais, provides us with a list of fish prices. The cheapest was skaren (probably parrotfish) whereas Atlantic bluefin tuna was three times as expensive. Common salt water fish were yellowfin tuna, red mullet, ray, swordfish or sturgeon, a delicacy which was eaten salted. Lake Copais itself was famous in all Greece for its eels, celebrated by the hero of The Acharnians. Other fresh water fish were pike-fish, carp and the less appreciated catfish. In classical Athens, eels, conger-eels, and sea-perch (ὈρΦὸς) were considered to be great delicacies, while sprats were cheap and readily available.
Ancient Greeks consumed a much wider variety of birds than is typical today. Pheasants were present as early as 2000 bce. Domestic chickens were brought to Greece from Asia Minor as early as 600 bce, and domesticated geese are described in The Odyssey (800 bce). Quail, moorhen, capon, mallards, pheasants, larks, pigeons and doves were all domesticated in classical times, and were even for sale in markets. Additionally, thrush, blackbirds, chaffinch, lark, starling, jay, jackdaw, sparrow, siskin, blackcap, Rock partridge, grebe, plover, coot, wagtail, francolin, and even cranes were hunted, or trapped, and eaten, and sometimes available in markets.:63
Greeks bred quails and hens, partly for their eggs. Some authors also praise pheasant eggs and Egyptian Goose eggs, which were presumably rather rare. Eggs were cooked soft- or hard-boiled as hors d'œuvre or dessert. Whites, yolks and whole eggs were also used as ingredients in the preparation of dishes.
Butter (βούτυρον bouturon) was known but seldom used: Greeks saw it as a culinary trait of the Thracians of the northern Aegean coast, whom the Middle Comic poet Anaxandrides dubbed "butter eaters".
Greeks enjoyed other dairy products. Πυριατή pyriatē and Oxygala (οξύγαλα) were curdled milk products, similar to cottage cheese or perhaps to yogurt. Most of all, goat's and ewe's cheese (τυρός tyros) was a staple food. Fresh cheeses (sometimes wrapped in Drakontion leaves to retain freshness) and hard cheeses were sold in different shops; the former cost about two thirds of the latter's price.
Cheese was eaten alone or with honey or vegetables. It was also used as an ingredient in the preparation of many dishes, including fish dishes (see recipe below by Mithaecus). However, the addition of cheese seems to have been a controversial matter; Archestratus warns his readers that Syracusan cooks spoil good fish by adding cheese.
The first spice mentioned in Ancient Greek writings is cassia: Sappho (6th-7th Century BCE) mentions it in her poem on the marriage of Hector and Andromache:#44,ln 30 The ancient Greeks made a distinction between Ceylon cinnamon and cassia.
Ancient Greeks knew used at least two forms of pepper in cooking and medicine: one of Aristotle's students, Theophrastus, in describing the plants that appeared in Greece as a result of Alexander's conquest of India and Asia Minor, listed both black pepper and long pepper, stating "one is round like bitter vetch...: the other is elongated and black and has seeds like those of a poppy : and this kind is much stronger than the other. Both however are heating...".
Homer describes the preparation of a wine and cheese drink: taking "Pramnian wine she grated goat's milk cheese into it with a bronze grater [and] threw in a handful of white barley meal." (Book 11 of the [Iliad])
One fragment survives of the first known cookbook in any culture, it was written by Mithaecus (5th Century BCE) and is quoted in the "Deipnosophistae" of Athenaeus. It is a recipe for a fish called "tainia" (meaning "ribbon" in Ancient Greek - probably the species Cepola macrophthalma),
The most widespread drink was water. Fetching water was a daily task for women. Though wells were common, spring water was preferred: it was recognized as nutritious because it caused plants and trees to grow, and also as a desirable beverage. Pindar called spring water "as agreeable as honey".
The Greeks would describe water as robust, heavy or light, dry, acidic, pungent, wine-like, etc. One of the comic poet Antiphanes's characters claimed that he could recognize Attic water by taste alone. Athenaeus states that a number of philosophers had a reputation for drinking nothing but water, a habit combined with a vegetarian diet (cf. below). Milk, usually goats' milk, was not widely consumed, being considered barbaric.
The usual drinking vessel was the skyphos, made out of wood, terra cotta, or metal. Critias also mentions the kothon, a Spartan goblet which had the military advantage of hiding the colour of the water from view and trapping mud in its edge. The ancient Greeks also used a vessel called a kylix (a shallow footed bowl), and for banquets the kantharos (a deep cup with handles) or the rhyton, a drinking horn often moulded into the form of a human or animal head.
The Greeks are thought to have made red as well as rosé and white wines. Like today, these varied in quality from common table wine to valuable vintages. It was generally considered that the best wines came from Thásos, Lesbos and Chios.
Cretan wine came to prominence later. A secondary wine made from water and pomace (the residue from squeezed grapes), mixed with lees, was made by country people for their own use. The Greeks sometimes sweetened their wine with honey and made medicinal wines by adding thyme, pennyroyal and other herbs. By the first century, if not before, they were familiar with wine flavoured with pine resin (modern retsina). Aelian also mentions a wine mixed with perfume. Cooked wine was known, as well as a sweet wine from Thásos, similar to port wine.
Wine was generally cut with water. The drinking of akraton or "unmixed wine", though known to be practised by northern barbarians, was thought likely to lead to madness and death. Wine was mixed in a krater, from which the slaves would fill the drinker's kylix with an oinochoe (jugs). Wine was also thought to have medicinal powers. Aelian mentions that the wine from Heraia in Arcadia rendered men foolish but women fertile; conversely, Achaean wine was thought to induce abortion.
Outside of these therapeutic uses, Greek society did not approve of women drinking wine. According to Aelian, a Massalian law prohibited this and restricted women to drinking water. Sparta was the only city where women routinely drank wine.
Wine reserved for local use was kept in skins. That destined for sale was poured into πίθοι pithoi, (large terra cotta jugs). From here they were decanted into amphoras sealed with pitch for retail sale. Vintage wines carried stamps from the producers or city magistrates who guaranteed their origin. This is one of the first instances of indicating the geographical or qualitative provenance of a product.
The Greeks also drank kykeon (κυκεών, from κυκάω kykaō, "to shake, to mix"), which was both a beverage and a meal. It was a barley gruel, to which water and herbs were added. In the Iliad, the beverage also contained grated goat cheese. In the Odyssey, Circe adds honey and a magic potion to it. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, the goddess refuses red wine but accepts a kykeon made of water, flour, and pennyroyal.
Used as a ritual beverage in the Eleusinian Mysteries, kykeon was also a popular beverage, especially in the countryside: Theophrastus, in his Characters, describes a boorish peasant as having drunk much kykeon and inconveniencing the Assembly with his bad breath. It also had a reputation as a good digestive, and as such, in Peace, Hermes recommends it to the main character who has eaten too much dried fruit.
Food played an important part in the Greek mode of thought. Classicist John Wilkins notes that "in the Odyssey for example, good men are distinguished from bad and Greeks from foreigners partly in terms of how and what they ate. Herodotus identified people partly in terms of food and eating".
Up to the 3rd century BC, the frugality imposed by the physical and climatic conditions of the country was held as virtuous. The Greeks did not ignore the pleasures of eating, but valued simplicity. The rural writer Hesiod, as cited above, spoke of his "flesh of a heifer fed in the woods, that has never calved, and of firstling kids" as being the perfect closing to a day. Nonetheless, Chrysippus is quoted as saying that the best meal was a free one.
Culinary and gastronomical research was rejected as a sign of oriental flabbiness: the inhabitants of the Persian Empire were considered decadent due to their luxurious taste, which manifested itself in their cuisine. The Greek authors took pleasure in describing the table of the Achaemenid Great King and his court: Herodotus, Clearchus of Soli, Strabo and Ctesias were unanimous in their descriptions.
In contrast, Greeks as a whole stressed the austerity of their own diet. Plutarch tells how the king of Pontus, eager to try the Spartan "black gruel", bought a Laconian cook; 'but had no sooner tasted it than he found it extremely bad, which the cook observing, told him, "Sir, to make this broth relish, you should have bathed yourself first in the river Eurotas"'. According to Polyaenus, on discovering the dining hall of the Persian royal palace, Alexander the Great mocked their taste and blamed it for their defeat. Pausanias, on discovering the dining habits of the Persian commander Mardonius, equally ridiculed the Persians, "who having so much, came to rob the Greeks of their miserable living".
In consequence of this cult of frugality, and the diminished regard for cuisine it inspired, the kitchen long remained the domain of women, free or enslaved. In the classical period, however, culinary specialists began to enter the written record. Both Aelian and Athenaeus mention the thousand cooks who accompanied Smindyride of Sybaris on his voyage to Athens at the time of Cleisthenes, if only disapprovingly. Plato in Gorgias, mentions "Thearion the cook, Mithaecus the author of a treatise on Sicilian cooking, and Sarambos the wine merchant; three eminent connoisseurs of cake, kitchen and wine." Some chefs also wrote treatises on cuisine.
Over time, more and more Greeks presented themselves as gourmets. From the Hellenistic to the Roman period, the Greeks — at least the rich — no longer appeared to be any more austere than others. The cultivated guests of the feast hosted by Athenaeus in the 2nd or 3rd century devoted a large part of their conversation to wine and gastronomy. They discussed the merits of various wines, vegetables, and meats, mentioning renowned dishes (stuffed cuttlefish, red tuna belly, prawns, lettuce watered with mead) and great cooks such as Soterides, chef to king Nicomedes I of Bithynia (who reigned from the 279 to 250 BC). When his master was inland, he pined for anchovies; Soterides simulated them from carefully carved turnips, oiled, salted and sprinkled with poppy seeds. Suidas (an encyclopaedia from the Byzantine period) mistakenly attributes this exploit to the celebrated Roman gourmet Apicius (1st century BC) — which may be taken as evidence that the Greeks had reached the same level as the Romans.
Orphicism and Pythagoreanism, two common ancient Greek religions, suggested a different way of life, based on a concept of purity and thus purification (κάθαρσις katharsis) — a form of asceticism in the original sense: ἄσκησις askēsis initially signifies a ritual, then a specific way of life. Vegetarianism was a central element of Orphicism and of several variants of Pythagoreanism.
Empedocles (5th century BC) justified vegetarianism by a belief in the transmigration of souls: who could guarantee that an animal about to be slaughtered did not house the soul of a human being? However, it can be observed that Empedocles also included plants in this transmigration, thus the same logic should have applied to eating them. Vegetarianism was also a consequence of a dislike for killing: "For Orpheus taught us rights and to refrain from killing".
The information from Pythagoras (6th century BC) is more difficult to define. The Comedic authors such as Aristophanes and Alexis described Pythagoreans as strictly vegetarian, with some of them living on bread and water alone. Other traditions contented themselves with prohibiting the consumption of certain vegetables, such as the broad bean, or of sacred animals such as the white cock or selected animal parts.
It follows that vegetarianism and the idea of ascetic purity were closely associated, and often accompanied by sexual abstinence. In On the eating of flesh, Plutarch (1st–2nd century) elaborated on the barbarism of blood-spilling; inverting the usual terms of debate, he asked the meat-eater to justify his choice.
The Neoplatonic Porphyrius (3rd century) associates in On Abstinence vegetarianism with the Cretan mystery cults, and gives a census of past vegetarians, starting with the semi-mythical Epimenides. For him, the origin of vegetarianism was Demeter's gift of wheat to Triptolemus so that he could teach agriculture to humanity. His three commandments were: "Honour your parents", "Honour the gods with fruit", and "Spare the animals".
Aelian claims that the first athlete to submit to a formal diet was Ikkos of Tarentum, a victor in the Olympic pentathlon (perhaps in 444 BC). However, Olympic wrestling champion (62nd through 66th Olympiads) Milo of Croton was already said to eat twenty pounds of meat and twenty pounds of bread and to drink eight quarts of wine each day. Before his time, athletes were said to practice ξηροφαγία xērophagía (from ξηρός xēros, "dry"), a diet based on dry foods such as dried figs, fresh cheese and bread. Pythagoras (either the philosopher or a gymnastics master of the same name) was the first to direct athletes to eat meat.
Trainers later enforced some standard diet rules: to be an Olympic victor, "you have to eat according to regulations, keep away from desserts (…); you must not drink cold water nor can you have a drink of wine whenever you want". It seems this diet was primarily based on meat, for Galen (ca. 180 AD) accused athletes of his day of "always gorging themselves on flesh and blood". Pausanias also refers to a "meat diet".
In the ancient Greek myths, ambrosia (, Ancient Greek: ἀμβροσία, "immortality") is the food or drink of the Greek gods, often depicted as conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever consumed it. It was brought to the gods in Olympus by doves and served by either Hebe or Ganymede at the heavenly feast.Ambrosia is sometimes depicted in ancient art as distributed by a nymph labeled with that name. In the myth of Lycurgus, an opponent to the wine god Dionysus, violence committed against Ambrosia turns her into a grapevine.Ancient Greece and wine
The influence of wine in ancient Greece helped ancient Greece trade with neighboring countries and regions. Many mannerisms and cultural aspects were associated with wine. It led to great change in Ancient Greece as well.
The ancient Greeks pioneered new methods of viticulture and wine production that they shared with early winemaking communities in what are now France, Italy, Austria and Russia, as well as others, through trade and colonization. Along the way, they markedly influenced the ancient European winemaking cultures of the Celts, Etruscans, Scythians and ultimately the Romans.Chian wine
Chian wine was a product of the Greek island of Chios. It was among the most prized wines in classical antiquity and, according to Theopompus and Greek mythology, was the first red wine, then called "black wine".Cretan wine
Cretan wine is wine from the Greek island of Crete. It has a long history since wine was certainly being made by the Minoans since the Bronze Age. Wines from Crete are not listed among those specially prized in classical Greece, but under the Roman Empire in the 2nd century AD Crete was known for a sweet wine, protropos, which was exported to Italy. In late medieval Europe, in the 14th to 16th centuries, vino di Candia (Heraklion is modern day Candia) and Crete are wine names listed as highly valued in several sources from western and northern Europe; they were sweet and "hot" wines (hot in a dietary sense). Within the current classification of Greek wine there are several Cretan appellations, including Peza, Archanes, Dafnes and Sitia.Deipnosophistae
The Deipnosophistae is an early 3rd-century AD Greek work (Ancient Greek: Δειπνοσοφισταί, Deipnosophistaí, lit. "The Dinner Sophists/Philosophers/Experts") by the Greco-Egyptian author Athenaeus of Naucratis. It is a long work of literary, historical, and antiquarian references set in Rome at a series of banquets held by the protagonist Publius Livius Larensis for an assembly of grammarians, lexicographers, jurists, musicians, and hangers-on. It is sometimes called the oldest surviving cookbook.Fruit syrup
Fruit syrups or fruit molasses are concentrated fruit juices used as sweeteners.
Fruit syrups have been used in many cuisines:
in Indian cuisine, drakshasava;
in Ancient Roman cuisine, defrutum, carenum, and sapa;
in Ancient Greek cuisine, epsima;
in Ottoman cuisine, pekmez;
in Greek cuisine, petimezi;
in Arab cuisine, rub, jallab.Some foods are made using fruit syrups or molasses:
Churchkhela, a sausage-shaped candy made from grape must and nutsIn modern industrial foods, they are often made from a less expensive fruit (such as apples, pears, or pineapples) and used to sweeten more expensive fruits or products and to extend their quantity. A typical use would be for an "all-fruit" strawberry spread that contains apple juice as well as strawberries.Garum
Garum was a fermented fish sauce used as a condiment in the cuisines of ancient Greece, Rome, Carthage and later Byzantium.
Liquamen was a similar preparation, and at times they were synonymous. Although it enjoyed its greatest popularity in the Western Mediterranean and the Roman world, it was earlier used by the Greeks.Like the modern fermented soy product soy sauce, fermented garum is a rich source of umami flavoring, including monosodium glutamate. It was used along with murri in medieval Byzantine and Arab cuisine to give a savory flavor to dishes. Murri may well derive from garum.Kakavia (soup)
Kakavia (Greek: κακαβιά) is a Greek fish soup.
Its name comes from the kakavi, the tripod cooking pot used by ancient Ionian fishermen. Kakavia is described as the most ancient of Greek fish soups, and related to lineage to the French bouillabaisse; like that stew, kakavia is made with a flexible variety of fish and is associated with fishing villages.It was traditionally made from the smallest fish caught by fishermen, along with olive oil, onions, and saffron.One modern recipe calls for filleted and chunked whitefish (such as cod, goliath grouper, or snapper), prawns, fish or vegetable stock, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, and a garnish of flatleaf (Italian) parsley. Another calls for three or four kinds of fish cleaned and sliced for poaching (bass, cod, hake, haddock, halibut, trout, pollock, snapper, rockfish, whiting), plus shrimp and perhaps lobster or scallops, along with onions, scallions, or leeks; olive oil; tomato; stalk fennel or celery; fresh parsley; fresh thyme; bay leaf; ground black pepper; white wine and water; and toasted croutons.Kakavia is similar to other types of Mediterranean fish stew, such as the French bouillabaisse, Italian cacciucco, Spanish zarzuela, and Portuguese caldeirada.Kykeon
Kykeon (Gr. κυκεών - kykeōn, from κυκάω, "to stir, to mix") was an Ancient Greek drink of various descriptions. Some were made mainly of water, barley and naturally occurring substances. Others were made with wine and grated cheese. It is widely believed that kykeon usually refers to a psychoactive compounded brew, as in the case of the Eleusinian Mysteries. A kykeon was used at the climax of the Eleusinian Mysteries to break a sacred fast, but it is also mentioned as a favourite drink of Greek peasants.
Kykeon is mentioned in Homeric texts: the Iliad describes it as consisting of Pramnian wine, barley, and grated goat's cheese (XI, 638–641). In the Odyssey, Circe adds some honey and pours her magic potion into it (X, 234). In The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 210, the goddess refuses red wine but accepts kykeon made from water, barley and pennyroyal.
It was supposed to have digestive properties. Hermes recommends it in Aristophanes' Peace (v. 712) to the hero who ate too much dry fruit and nuts. Aristocrats shunned it as a peasant drink. Theophrastus depicts in his Characters (IV, 2–3) a peasant who goes to the Ecclesia drunk with kykeon.
In an attempt to solve the mystery of how so many people over the span of two millennia could have consistently experienced revelatory states during the culminating ceremony of the Eleusinian Mysteries, it has been posited that the barley used in the Eleusinian kykeon was parasitized by ergot, and that the psychoactive properties of that fungus triggered the intense experiences alluded to by the participants at Eleusis.For more on the possibilities of kykeon's psychoactive properties, see entheogenic theories of the mysteries.Kylix
In the pottery of ancient Greece, a kylix ( KY-liks, KIL-iks; Ancient Greek: κύλιξ, pl. κύλικες; also spelled cylix; pl.: kylikes KY-li-keez, KIL-i-keez) is the most common type of wine-drinking cup. It has a broad, relatively shallow, body raised on a stem from a foot and usually two horizontal handles disposed symmetrically. The main alternative wine-cup shape was the kantharos, with a narrower and deeper cup and high vertical handles.
The almost flat interior circle of the base of the cup, called the tondo, was generally the primary surface for painted decoration in the black-figure or red-figure pottery styles of the 6th and 5th century BC, and the outside was also often painted. As the representations would be covered with wine, the scenes would only be revealed in stages as the wine was drained. They were often designed with this in mind, with scenes created so that they would surprise or titillate the drinker as they were revealed.
The word comes from the Greek kylix "cup," which is cognate with Latin calix, the source of the English word "chalice" but not related to the similar Greek word calyx which means "husk" or "pod". The term seems to have been rather more generally used in ancient Greece. Individual examples and the many named sub-varieties of kylix are often called names just using "cup". Like all other types of Greek pottery vessels, they are also covered by the general term of "vase".Lesbian wine
Lesbos wine is wine made on the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. The island has a long history of winemaking dating back to at least the 7th century BC when it was mentioned in the works of Homer. During this time the area competed with the wines of Chios for the Greek market. An apocryphal account details one of the brothers of the poet Sappho as a merchant trading Lesbos wine with the Greek colony of Naucratis in Egypt. The most noted Lesbos wine was known as Pramnian which draws similarities today to the Hungarian wine Eszencia. The popularity of Lesbos wine continued into Roman times where it was highly valued along with other Aegean wines of Chios, Thasos and Kos.Loukaniko
Loukániko (Greek: λουκάνικο) is the common Greek word for pork sausage, but in English it refers specifically to Greek sausages flavored with orange peel, fennel seed, and various other dried herbs and seeds, and sometimes smoked over aromatic woods. Greek sausages are also often flavoured with greens, especially leeks.
Loukaniko is often served as a mezze, sliced and fried, sometimes with saganaki. It is also cooked into a variety of dishes.
Pigs were the principal meat-yielding animals in traditional Greek farm economy, as they were easy to feed with scraps and leftovers, and sausage was an important way of preserving their meat.
The name 'loukaniko' is derived from ancient Roman cuisine's lucanica (from Lucania regiono of Southern Italy) and has been used in Greek since at least the 4th century.Moustalevria
Mustalevria (Greek: μουσταλευριά) is a traditional Greek kind of pudding made of grape must mixed with flour and boiled until thick.Nectar
Nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants in glands called nectaries, either within the flowers with which it attracts pollinating animals, or by extrafloral nectaries, which provide a nutrient source to animal mutualists, which in turn provide antiherbivore protection. Common nectar-consuming pollinators include mosquitoes, hoverflies, wasps, bees, butterflies and moths, hummingbirds, honeyeaters and bats. Nectar plays an important role in the foraging economics and overall evolution of nectar-eating species; for example, nectar and its properties are responsible for the differential evolution of the African honey bee, A. m. scutellata and the western honey bee.
Nectar is an ecologically important item, the sugar source for honey. It is also useful in agriculture and horticulture because the adult stages of some predatory insects feed on nectar. For example, the social wasp species Apoica flavissima relies on nectar as a primary food source. In turn, these wasps then hunt agricultural pest insects as food for their young. For example, thread-waisted wasps (genus Ammophila) are known for hunting caterpillars that are destructive to crops. Caterpillars however, do eventually become butterflies and moths, which are very important pollinators.Nectar secretion increases as the flower is visited by pollinators. After pollination, the nectar is frequently reabsorbed into the plant.Pita
Pita ( or US: ) or pitta (British English), is a family of yeast-leavened round flatbreads baked from wheat flour, common in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and neighboring areas. It includes the widely-known version with an interior pocket, also known as Arabic bread (Arabic: khubz Arabi), Syrian bread, and other names, as well as pocketless versions such as the Greek pita, used to wrap souvlaki. The Western name pita may sometimes be used to refer to various other types of flatbreads that have different names in their local languages, such as numerous styles of Arab khubz (bread).Retsina
Retsina (Greek: Ρετσίνα) is a Greek white (or rosé) resinated wine, which has been made for at least 2,000 years. Its unique flavor is said to have originated from the practice of sealing wine vessels, particularly amphorae, with Aleppo Pine resin in ancient times. Before the invention of impermeable glass bottles, oxygen caused many wines to spoil within the year. Pine resin helped keep air out, while infusing the wine with resin aroma. The Romans began to use barrels in the 3rd century AD, removing any oenological necessity for resin, but the flavor itself was so popular that the style is still widespread today.Rose water
Rose water is a flavoured water made by steeping rose petals in water. Additionally, it is the hydrosol portion of the distillate of rose petals, a by-product of the production of rose oil for use in perfume. It is used to flavour food, as a component in some cosmetic and medical preparations, and for religious purposes throughout Europe and Asia. Rose syrup (not to be confused with rose hip syrup) is a syrup made from rose water, with sugar added.Sesame seed candy
The term "sesame candy" may also refer to sesame halva.Sesame seed candy is a confection of sesame seeds and sugar or honey pressed into a bar or ball. It is popular from the Middle East through South Asia to East Asia. The texture may vary from chewy to crisp. It may also be called sesame (seed) candy/bar/crunch; sesame seed cake may refer to the confection or to a leavened cake or cookie incorporating sesame.Tarhana
Trahanas (Τραχανάς) or tarhana is dried food ingredient based on a fermented mixture of grain and yoghurt or fermented milk found in the cuisines of Southeast Europe and Middle East. Dry tarhana has a texture of coarse, uneven crumbs, and it is usually made into a thick soup with water, stock, or milk. As it is both acidic and low in moisture the milk proteins keep for long periods. Tarhana is very similar to some kinds of kishk.
The Armenian tarkhana is made up of matzoon and eggs mixed with half of wheat flour and half of starch. Small pieces of dough are prepared and dried and then kept in glass containers and uses mostly dry soups, dissolving in hot liquids. The Greek trahanas contains only cracked wheat or a couscous-like paste and fermented milk. The Turkish tarhana consists of cracked wheat (or flour), yoghurt, and vegetables fermented then dried. In Cyprus, it is considered a national specialty, and is often served with pieces of haloumi cheese in it. In Albania it is prepared with wheat, yoghurt and butter and it is served with hot olive oil and feta cheese.