Zante is the third in size of the islands of the Ionian Sea. It’s been called the island of love and poetry…but what about Zante’s food? What to expect?
When it comes to Greece, especially to Zante island, please don’t make the imprudence to opt for an all inclusive resort. Because nothing brings you closer to know their traditions better than the superb tavernas and the amazing street food stalls.
No matter what kind of dietary requirements you have, there is something to suit you and your needs.
On the majority of the Greek islands, the house speciality seem to be seafood, fresh grilled fish (swordfish is amazing), fried calamari and the most authentic one is the whole grilled octopus, which I loved it from the very first bite.
Fried calamari as a starter or on its own…
Do you fancy salads?
Because of the Mediterranean weather, salads are a beautiful option in this area. Mostly of the vegetables are grown by the locals in their gardens. You will know straight away they test different, actually if I think better, they do taste, an unusual particularity now in our days. All kind of gorgeous salads like the Greek salad (horiatiki) consists in wedges of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, black olives and feta cheese all dressed with their splendid island made olive oil and oregano. It’s impossible not to like! I personally prefer a richer salad with ham and their local yellow cheese.
Gyros and Souvlaki, family’s favorite.
Gyros is a fantastic Greek dish made of meat.
It is a sort of rolled pitta bread stuffed with meat, traditionally pork, chicken, or lamb, cooked on a vertical rotisserie, tomatoes, onions, fried potatoes, the typical tzatziki. It also can be served on a plate, not rolled. But I prefer the one you get it there in the street… One of this gyros usually cost 2 euros.
Souvlaki is pretty much the same just that the meat is grilled on a skewer. You can eat it like that or in a grilled pitta bread. I’ve noticed they have a vegetarian option also. Yammy…
Zante, a Heaven for vegetarians
If you choose to be a vegetarian, than Zante is the right place for you as not that you won’t starve but you can’t decide what to grab first.
The variety is massive, their speciality when it comes to veggie are some wonderful meatballs made of courgette or aubergines.
Than the vegetarian mousaka it’s “a must”, please I insist you to try.
Almost all of the starters are suitable for vegetarians. Like the fresh bread and tzatiki, aubergine salad and buns, olives and fresh bread, houmus and different kind of salsas also.
Because they do grow so much vegetables here, a lot of main dishes are pure vegetarian. Like stuffed peppers, stuffed tomatoes or aubergine. Also let’s not forget about the stuffed wine leaves. The stuffing is made from rice, spices and fresh herbs.
In order to enjoy your vegetarian status, you got to be willing to explore their cuisine and traditional dishes.
Zante, the land of pastries and cakes
If you want to skip any of these one day, I’ll suggest you to try some of their pastries as they “rule”. Mostly are puff pastry filled with different kind of local cheese, spinach, ham or meat.
Also the sweet pastries are delicious. I like the ones filled with a sweet vanilla cream and powdered with icing sugar on top. They’re just mouth watering! You find them early in the morning in almost any shop as the local bakery delivers them everywhere on the island. They are huge and they cost less than 2 euros.
And let’s not forget about the sweet baclavas. Either with walnuts or pistachios, they are a good way to finish your meal. As a particularity, that makes them different than the Turkish ones, is having cinnamon in their composition.
Kataif is another greek dessert, made in a shape of a nest from shredded crispy dough. I’m not entirely sure about the recipe but I can taste a lemon syrup, loads of honey and walnuts.
In almost every taverna, they offer you a local digestive drink, it’s like a sorbet made of limoncello ( an alcoholic drink made of fresh squezeed lemons).
I have to mention that while most of the places from this food industry kept their traditions and originality, others( not to many but still painful to watch) turned up to be a complete kitsch or fiasco( call it how you like). I believe that the economic crisis they went through have pushed them to desperate solutions.
What can be worse than a greek kitchen serving and advertising English fast food?!(baked beans, sausages and nuggets). I know many of you would say they are doing that just to welcome the English tourists. But with such a fabulous cuisine they got, the fresh ingredients they use, how can you go to all those frozen or canned food? A big no from me…it doesen’t represent your ethnicity and your culture.
Zante, a river of wellness…
Another blessing of these island for having so many olive trees, is that they produce a lot of olive honey.
I am amazed of this island’s treasury. A river of wellbeing, no wonder why the locals are so beautiful. Inside and outside.
Everywhere you look, lemon and orange trees are smiling in the sun, loaded pomegranate trees waiting to be harvest, golden and juicy figs. I’m not forgetting about the vineyards, that produce one of the sweetest wine I’ve ever tried.