Zante is the third biggest of the islands in the Ionian Sea. It’s been called the island of love and poetry…but what about Zante’s food?
When it comes to Greece, especially Zante, please don’t make the mistake to opt in for an all-inclusive resort. Because nothing brings you closer to knowing their traditions better than the quirky 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 is seafood, fresh grilled fish (swordfish is amazing), fried calamari and the most authentic one is the whole grilled octopus, which I loved 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. Most of the vegetables are grown by the locals in their own gardens. You will know straight away because they taste quite different, I think much better. They have all kinds of gorgeous salads like the classic Greek Salad (horiatiki) that consists of tomato slices, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, black olives and feta cheese. All of that sprinkled 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 favourite.
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 and the typical tzatziki. It also can be served on a plate, not rolled. But I prefer the one you get on the street… One of these gyros usually costs only 2 euros. That’s a bargain if I’ve ever seen one.
Souvlaki is pretty much the same as gyros only that the meat is grilled on a skewer. You can eat it the way it is or in grilled pitta bread. I’ve noticed they have a vegetarian option too. Yummy!
Zante, a Heaven for vegetarians
If you are vegetarian, then Zante is the right place for you. Unlike other holiday destinations, you won’t starve here but in fact, you won’t be able to decide what to grab first.
The variety is massive, their speciality when it comes to veggie are these wonderful meatballs( no actual meat in them) made of courgette or aubergines. Suitable for vegans too. Also, the vegetarian mousaka is a must, you have to try it!
Almost all of the starters are suitable for vegetarians. Like the fresh bread and tzatziki, aubergine salad and buns, olives and fresh bread, hummus and many different kinds of salsa dip too.
Because they do love growing their vegetables here, a lot of the main dishes are pure vegetarian. Like stuffed peppers, stuffed tomatoes or aubergines. Also, let’s not forget about the stuffed wine leaves. The stuffing is made of rice, spices and fresh herbs.
This is the kind of trip that might make you want to turn vegetarian or even vegan, in that case, you have to be willing to explore their local cuisine and traditional dishes.
Zante, the land of pastries and cakes
I suggest you try some of their pastries as they are just as good as Greggs, if not better. It’s mostly puff pastry filled with different kinds of local cheese, spinach, ham or meat.
Also, their sweet pastries are delicious. I like the ones filled with sweet vanilla cream and powdered with icing sugar on top. They’re just mouthwatering! 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 baklavas. Either with walnuts or pistachios, they are a good way to finish your meal. As a particularity that makes them different from the Turkish ones is having cinnamon in their composition.
Kataif is another greek dessert, made in the shape of a birds’ nest from a 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 freshly squeezed lemons).
I have to mention that while most of the places in the food industry here kept their traditions and originality, others( not too many but still painful to watch) turned out to be a complete kitsch or fiasco( call it how you like). I believe that the economic crisis they went through has pushed them to desperate solutions.
What can be worse than a greek kitchen serving and advertising English fast food?! (baked beans, sausages and nuggets..basically things you’re trying to get away from on holiday). I know many of you would say they are doing that just to welcome the English tourists. But with such a fabulous cuisine that they have, the fresh ingredients they use, how can you go for all that frozen or canned food? A big no from me…it doesn’t convey what Zante really is about.
Zante, a river of wellness…
Another blessing of this island is its olive trees, as they produce a lot of olive honey.
I am amazed by Zante’s treasure. A 24/7 all-natural spa, no wonder the locals are so beautiful. Inside and out.
Everywhere you look, lemon and orange trees are smiling in the sun. Loaded pomegranate trees and golden, juicy figs are waiting to be plucked. And last but not least, the vineyards that produce one of the sweetest wine I’ve ever tried.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about this Greek haven. Until next time!