Unique Greek Products for food lovers

This is a very useful guide of Greek products you can taste and/or purchase while exploring. It aims to provide you with information about the important Greek products with some hints and tips.

Traveling extensively and knowing Greece in great detail, we have first-hand friendly contacts to many local businesses and their people that can assist us to access “real” Greek products for you to either consume while in this country or take back home if possible.

food feta honey

For those that know better, Greece is not only about history, the sun & the sea, but the food & drink! Read on about the important Greek products you can look for while touring and exploring.

[ 1 ] WINE, BEER, OUZO, MASTIHA

Local Drinks

WINE TASTING

If you are familiar with Napa valley (California), then in Greece the corresponding location is Nemea. It is an ancient site famous for the great wine and of course wine tasting. Nemea is a location near ancient Corinth and in the region of the Mythical Peloponnese which you will be visiting anyway!wine people

Nemea is an ancient site dedicated to Zeus from his son Hercules. You will also be familiar with one of the most famous Hercules’ Labors, the “Nemea Lion”.

nemea [Temple of Zeus]

nemea lion hercules mythology[The Nemea Lion]

Wine tasting will give you a great chance to purchase amazing wine at “stupid-cheap” pricing. And even if you can’t take it back home, you will definitely enjoy it at your hotel room.

food wine

wine

wine

The tours associated with this area are:

Mycenae – Epidaurus – Nafplio (opt Ancient Corinth) Day Tour

Cave of Lakes, Ancient Corinth & Canal, Odontotos Rack Railway Day Tour

☼ Corinth Canal & Ancient Corinth Half-Day Tour

☼ 3-Day Tour to Mycenae, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Cosmopolitan Hydra & Spetses Islands

BEER

Tourists will always start with the “Greek” beers: Fix, Alfa, Mythos. They were Greek but like it often happens, when the local beers become popular, the big (multinational) boys step in and buy the companies.

But luckily, we will find a local beer at any place we visit out of Athens. Like Mamos, Sparta, Mykonos, Katsika, Mainalon, Nissos, etc.

food beer

When ordering a beer ask the waiter to bring the coldest beer in the fridge, as most Greeks do.

Check our “Which Greek Beer? How Do Greeks Drink their Beer?” post for more details about beer drinking in Greece.

food beer drinks

OUZO

Ouzo is probably the “national” drink of Greece. This does not mean we drink more Ouzo than wine or beer.

There are a few things to remember if you like to taste Ouzo the proper way:

☼ The best time to have Ouzo is between 12:00 – 13:00, i.e., before lunch!

☼ Always add ice and maybe an additional 25%-50% water too. It will go cloudy! Say NO THANKS to Athenian restaurants offering warm Ouzo after food! But, say yes to Mastiha!

☼ Yes, Ouzo has a licorice taste which some people don’t like! But most drinks have a non-delicious taste! You get used to it, and it is all about the experience (see below).

☼ Always have a snack with it! Very small but something to go with it! Olives, tomatoes, cheese (friend cheese – Saganaki?), anything non-sweet you’ll find in the refrigerator will do.

☼ For the Greeks, going out for an Ouzo is all about the food, the location & good company! This is true for all drinking activities.

☼ Do you want to make it perfect? Try Ouzo with Octopus, squid, or small fish with a table next to the water!

Lunch with Ouzo at a local

food wine ouzo

The most established ouzo brands are Ouzo 12,  Matis, Plomari or Mini. In Nafplio you will find a family-owned distillery like Karonis.

Tours associated with Ouzo? If you and we are in the mood … all of them!

MASTIHA

Mastiha or Mastic … is a resin obtained from the mastic tree. It is also known as tears of Chios, being traditionally produced on the island Chios (or Mitilini), and, like other natural resins, is produced in “tears” or droplets. The veritable wonder resin has been distilled into alcoholic spirits, called mastiha, since around 600 BC, providing a refreshingly sweet, light taste with an aromatic woodiness (with notes of tree bark) and a nutty finish.

mastiha liquor

When dining out in Athens and offered Ouzo after your dinner, say NO, and ask for a cold Mastiha sweet liquor instead!

mastiha liquor

In Nafplio you will find a family-owned distillery like Karonis with great Mastiha liquor.

[ 2 ] LOCATIONS & PRODUCERS

Olives & Olive Oil

AT THE OLIVE PRESS

There are several tours that can include a stop/visit to an olive press during production and this can typically happen each year between October and February. But there are also many local producers that will sell great olive oil all year round.

olive There are three tours of ours that can possibly include an olive-press visit:

Delphi, Arachova mountain village and Hosios Loukas Unesco Monastery Day Tour

3-Day Tour to Mycenae, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Cosmopolitan Hydra & Spetses Islands

Mystras Castle Town, Sparta & Museum of Olive Oil – Day Tour. olive press

olive press

[At the olive press]

olive oil

[2,000 years old Olive tree]

olive oil You can read more on the real color of authentic olive oil in our post: Coronavirus vaccine comes in olive-green color!

Or watch our “A day of olive picking” video:

OLIVE OIL MUSEUM

The Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil, in Sparta (Peloponnese), transports you to the culture, history and technology of the olive and olive oil production in the Greek realm, from prehistoric times to the early 20th century.

olive museum

The Museum’s objective is to highlight the ineffable relation of the olive with the identity of our country and, more generally, the Mediterranean basin. The olive and olive oil are presented here from different optical angles: the economy, nutrition and the olive’s uses, religious worship, art and technology.

olive museum

Although the famous olives you know are the Kalamata (city) ones which is right next to Sparta, it is both Kalamata and Sparta that produce excellent olives and olive oil. And these locations are not the only ones. So, if you make it to Sparta, look out for olive oil outlets of the local producers. You can contact us if you would like to know more.

olive

There are three tours of ours that can take you to this museum located in Sparta:

Mystras Castle Town, Sparta & Museum of Olive Oil – Day Tour

5-Day Tour of Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate Greek Experience: 7-Day Tour to Real Greece of the Mythical Peloponnese, Unique Locations, Food & Drink, plus Delphi and Meteora

You can read more on the real color of authentic olive oil in our post: Coronavirus vaccine comes in olive-green color!

KALAMATA OLIVES

Kalamata is a very nice coastline city in south Peloponnese and not far from the famous Sparta. Kalamata olives and olive oil are very famous as they are very well marketed. Still, both the olives and olive oil are excellent. Located in the south part of the Peloponnese automatically makes these products very good. However, all the Lakonia region (Sparta, etc) is equally good for purchasing your olive products.

olive oil

The Kalamata olives are almond-shaped, plump, dark purple olives from a tree distinguished from the common olive by the size of its leaves, which grow to twice the size of other olive varieties.

Green vs Black olives! As you see them in the photo, there is both a green and a black, and a green/black on the same branch of the tree. So there is green or black olives only in the supermarket. All olives start from green and will end up black if you don’t pick them earlier.

Where to Buy? Like all products and while in Athens, you will see them in a supermarket or even in a souvenir shop (but choice for a purchase). If you want better quality and price the tours that take you to the best olive producing locations are the following:

Delphi, Arachova mountain village and Hosios Loukas Unesco Monastery Day Tour

3-Day Tour to Mycenae, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Cosmopolitan Hydra & Spetses Islands

Mystras Castle Town, Sparta & Museum of Olive Oil – Day Tour

5-Day Tour of Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate Greek Experience: 7-Day Tour to Real Greece of the Mythical Peloponnese, Unique Locations, Food & Drink, plus Delphi and Meteora

OLIVE OIL

The Greek olive oil is probably the number one product you will be tasting anyway with every decent meal you have in Greece.

Some people look for olive-oil tasting but we thing that there is nothing better than tasting olive-oil through food tasting. And the places to taste real Greek food is not Athens. Exploring the countryside of Greece offers everything; the food, the drink, the people, the landscape, the islands, the mountains, the culture, the best sites and the authenticity!

food olive oil

Where to Buy?

You will have several chances to purchase real Greek olive oil during your tours. If you let us know in advance of your interest, it will be easier!

olive oil

Maybe you know the Kalamata olives which come from Kalamata city next to Sparta! The Kalamata olives are great but they are very well marketed in your countries which makes them “better” than other ones. While in Greece you will have a great opportunity to try them but also enjoy many more. The best olives and olive oil comes from the Peloponnese, Crete and some special locations like Lakonia, Kalamata, Kranidi, and Delphi!

olive-oil-300

olive oil

These are the tours associated with Olive Oil for possible stops at an olive press or for purchasing from local producers:

Mycenae – Epidaurus – Nafplio (opt Ancient Corinth) Day Tour

Mystras Castle Town, Sparta & Museum of Olive Oil – Day Tour

☼ 3-Day Tour to Mycenae, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Cosmopolitan Hydra & Spetses Islands

Delphi, Arachova mountain village and Hosios Loukas Unesco Monastery Day Tour

5-Day Tour of Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate Greek Experience: 7-Day Tour to Real Greece of the Mythical Peloponnese, Unique Locations, Food & Drink, plus Delphi and Meteora

[ 3 ] VANILLA HONEY & OREGANO

Feta Cheese

FETA CHEESE

Goats and Sheep are everywhere in the countryside of Greece. They are the feta cheese producers. Feta is a Greek brined curd white cheese made from sheep’s milk or from a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. It is a soft, brined white cheese with small or no holes, a compact touch, few cuts, and no skin. It is formed into large blocks, and aged in brine.

Kalavrita animal

The Greeks love Feta cheese and use it traditionally with the famous Greek salad but also for making many other delicious dishes. To name a few:

  • cheese pie
  • grilled feta with tomatoes, peppers and chili-pepper spice.
  • honey-cheese pie

Where to Buy? Everywhere! But if you are touring and want to purchase half a kilo or more, you will have the chance to taste the real thing.

food feta

Since 2002, within the European Union, feta has been a protected designation of origin product. According to the relevant EU legislation (applicable within the EU) only those cheeses produced in a traditional way in particular areas of Greece, which are made from sheep’s milk, or from a mixture of sheep’s and up to 30% of goat’s milk from the same area, can be called feta. food

food

food

food

Some of the tours where you’ll be able to find really good feta:

Cave of Lakes, Ancient Corinth & Canal, Odontotos Rack Railway Day Tour

Mycenae – Epidaurus – Nafplio (opt Ancient Corinth) Day Tour

☼ 3-Day Tour to Mycenae, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Cosmopolitan Hydra & Spetses Islands

Delphi, Arachova mountain village and Hosios Loukas Unesco Monastery Day Tour

5-Day Tour of Mythical Peloponnese

HONEY & OREGANO

Honey is something that can easily be faked and you’ll end up tasting sugar and not bee-honey! So avoiding buying while at faceless Athens is highly suggested.

In the countryside, you will find different types like Theme, Pine, Flower, etc. However, the one to look for in the Vanila honey which is rear, in high demand and almost double the price per kilo. This is a special honey produced from the Christmas pine trees of the Arcadia and the Corinthian mountains. It has a great taste (not really Vanila taste which is just a name) but very smooth and not “sickly” sweet like other honey.

food

food honey

There are just a couple of tours during which you may be able to find this unique honey:

Cave of Lakes, Ancient Corinth & Canal, Odontotos Rack Railway Day Tour

Cliff-hanging Monasteries, Mountain Villages of Peloponnese, Lousios Gorge & River

Oregano

is something you can find and won’t matter if you buy it even from a souvenir shop. On the other hand, there are places we visit and you only need to know and spent 5 minutes to collect it by yourselves!

For The Greeks

FOOD AND DRINK IS A WAY OF LIFE

food water