Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
This week we find ourselves in a country that tops thousands of bucket lists, including mine. Greece is known as the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and the Olympic Games; and aside from all that, it’s insanely beautiful. From Santorini to Mykonos to Athens, islands to cities, rural to urban settings, Greece has so much to offer in its culture, history, and natural environment. Post-pandemic, I cannot wait to explore this country.
Greek food is an incredibly popular cuisine all around the world. Greece has several official national dishes. According to GreekReporter.com, the national dishes are gyro, moussaka, souvlaki, magiritsa, kokoretsi and fasolada; and each of these dishes are prepared differently based on the region or island. On this list, I spotted a dish made from yellow split peas, one of my favourite traditional NL ingredients, called Fava dip. I decided to give this a try as an appetizer, with gyros and souvlaki as the mains– we couldn’t just try one dish from such an epic country!
We followed these recipes from RealGreekRecipes.com and they were easy to follow and super delicious:
We started with the fava as an appetizer. In Newfoundland, we make a split pea pudding (called pease pudding) that is really similar. I thought it would be really interesting to compare one of my favourite comfort foods with its equivalent from another cuisine. The fava was really easy to make and had a hearty composition with a distinct lemony flavour that made it fresh and tasty. We served it with warm pita bread and olives. It was great! We cleaned out the bowl– I would absolutely make this again, especially if I were having company.
Our main course consisted of gyros and souvlaki. While these weren’t nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the fava, they made up for it with twice the flavour. Both dishes featured pork as the protein and both were marinated differently. While the pork marinated, I prepared the tzatziki spread, the pitas, the fries, and the veggies for the gyros.
I don’t always like pork because I tend to overcook it, but these two recipes gave us juicy, flavourful meat. Our souvlaki was absolutely delicious; the lemon flavour was spectacular and I actually soaked up the leftover sauce with some pita bread. It may not be traditional, but the souvlaki pork would taste amazing on the gyros. That said, the gyros were fun to assemble and super tasty. I loved how the tzatziki tasted on the pita and I think I’ll add fries to my wraps from now on because that was a great touch. I’d make gyros again in a heartbeat– perhaps with chicken, fish, or falafel. Yum.
Have you tried any of these dishes before? What is your favourite Greek dish? Let us know if you try any of these recipes or what we could have done differently.