One of the highlights while visiting Athens, Greece was heading to the home of a Greek housewife to cook a traditional meal with her. What better way to immerse yourself into a culture than through its food? The tour was booked through “Athens Walking Tours” and our hostess for the evening was Fofi. I was able to take advantage of this tour as a post-Tbex tour that was included with the purchase of my ticket for the popular travel blogging conference.
When we arrived at Fofi’s beautiful apartment she was ready for us to dive right in to preparing dinner. We were served some appetizers of cheese and sausages paired with a small aperitif of Raki. Never heard of Raki? It’s kind of like Ouzo but less anise taste and more alcohol taste. Very strong for my weak Canadian palate. The aperitif and appetizers gave us a chance to get to know each other. My mother and I were joined by Toronto blogger Jenna that is currently travelling Europe and calling Germany home, and a gentleman who works with a travel excursion company whose name has slipped my mind.
The first item we made was Tzatziki. I was surprised to learn that Fofi prefers her tzatziki WITHOUT garlic! Huh? I know right? No worries… the tzatziki we put together had garlic in it. I never realized how easy it is to make. No more buying pre-made stuff in my house. More on that in a blog post… coming soon.
Next on our list was the traditional Greek Salad. There is a huge difference in eating this salad in Greece. Let’s start with the ingredients. Fofi makes her own olive oil, olives, grows her own oregano and tomatoes so you can imagine the flavors that were happening there. Oh and she also picked the lemons fresh in her neighborhood. The feta is very different from the feta we have in Canada. The REAL Greek feta is more creamy and less harsh tasting.
Savory pies are available in every cafe and restaurant in Greece. A favorite mid morning snack or appetizer with dinner. The pies we made were filled with cheese and spinach and topped with sesame seeds. We had some pies with sausages, mushrooms, just cheeses, there are so many varieties. Learning to make this basic pie has given me ideas on many more to create.
Such a treat fresh out of the oven. Great for lunch the next day too.
Zucchini is huge in Greek cuisine. We prepared zucchini two ways for our dinner. The top photo is of Fifo frying up some of her zucchini balls (which is amazing with the homemade tzatziki!) and the next photo is of Fifo adding the egg and lemon sauce to her zucchini stuffed with meat and rice. When we hollowed out the zucchini for the second dish we saved the innards for the first dish. Love how there is no waste. Fifo shared a cute story about how her Grandmother would whistle to the sauce so that the eggs would not scramble. She swears it helped the sauce turn out perfectly every time. I believe her.
Here it is, the main dish. Called “Rooster in Barduna Style, with Greek Noodles”. I ate rooster y’all! And I hate to say it but… it tasted like chicken but more tender. This dish was amazing! Garlic, cinnamon, feta cheese and tomatoes are the base to this dish. I ate so much, I just could not help myself!
Here is the result of all our hard work. A traditional Sunday meal in a Greek household. The flavours, wine, chatter and smells were amazing. I ate and drank too much. I forgot about dessert!
A Greek favourite. Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts. Out of this world. Oh and by the way Fofi makes her own honey on her rooftop terrace. Amazing! I will be sharing MY version of some of these recipes very soon but don’t expect homemade olive oil or honey…. I wish!
If you are ever wanting to hear local stories and eat like a local, definitely consider taking a cooking class on your next trip. You will not regret it.