As our Typical Spanish Supermarket post was so popular we decided to take a few photos in a Greek supermarket. The food in Greece is fantastic, Gyros kebabs, cheese and spinach pastries, meze spreads and mouth-watering sweets and the supermarkets do not disappoint. This post is dedicated to the food available in a typical Greek supermarket.
Mezes are a huge part of Greek cuisine. For those of you who don’t know they are small plates of different dips, vegetables and other dishes served together to form a large meal. A typical Greek supermarket will have a selection of chilled dips such as hummus, tzatziki and aubergine dip. They are all tasty and can make a great meal simply served with some warm pitta bread. Alternatively they can form the basis of a grand Greek feast.
Pittas are easy to find in a typical Greek supermarket. They are usually frozen and are the sort that you will find if you go to a Gyros takeaway, warmed up on a griddle and served with gyros meat, tzatziki and salad.
I think it is a fair generalisation to say that Greeks love nuts. They are usually found in sweet dishs such as baclava or simply covered in honey to form a sort of sweet nutty bar. You will also find plenty of snacking nuts in the supermarket such as cashews and walnuts salted and roasted. These nuts are also often served in bars with a cold glass of Mythos beer.
Halva is very common as an after dinner snack in restaurants and can be found in most Greek supermarkets. It is either ground semolina or sesame paste sweetened with sugar or honey. The varieties found in Greek supermarkets come with all sorts of added flavours like vanilla and chocolate. The crumbly, almost dry texture of halva and its bittersweet taste make it somewhat of an acquired taste.
Olive oil is serious business in Greece. We were told by a local producer the importance of having extra virgin olive oil with a certain rating and that there is always fierce competition between neighbouring olive groves. In a typical Greek supermarket there will always be a huge choice of olive oil. Virgin, extra virgin and “table” oil are all available. The prices are quite high when considering that the oil is produced locally but it is quality that is worth paying for.
There is always a good selection of frozen fish in the local supermarkets but if you want fresh “catch of the day” seafood then the local fishongers cannot be beaten. The simplicity of fishmongers in Greek seaside towns is ideal. Simply turn up and see what the local fishermen have caught that day. The supermarkets always have frozen mullet, bream, squid and bass.
As well as ample beer, Greek supermarkets also offer Ouzo and Raki. As with all of the best alcholic drinks it is thought to have been invented by monks. Both are aniseed flavoured spirits normally served as an apertif. Greek wine is also gaining a good reputation and there is a wide choice available in all supermarkets.
Pastries, both sweet and savoury are common in Greek supermarkets. The savoury varieties usually contain feta cheese and/or spinach with puff pastry. A common sweet pastry is Baklava: puff pastry soaked in honey and topped with nuts. The pastries are found in supermarkets frozen and ready to be baked at home or freshly baked and ready to eat.
Gas cannisters like these, some with fancy designs, are common in Greek supermarkets. We assumed they were because Greeks like to eat outside and these little hobs are good for keeping dishes warm. They are also handy for cooking on the beach.
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