Easter cookies (koulourakia)If you have ever visited Greece and especially a Greek home, you most certainly have come across koulourakia. Koulourakia are Greek traditional cookies, that come in a great variety of tastes and shapes and are something that is never missing from a Greek household, either homemade or bought from the bakery or pastry shop.

Vegan tsoureki with tahini and orangeEaster is the most important religious holiday of the Orthodox Church and food, naturally, plays a starring role.  Let's see what culinary traditions are associated with Greek Easter.

easter eggsOne of the most popular Easter customs in Greece is dying eggs red, traditionally on Holy Thursday (or on the morning of Holy Saturday if for some reason you haven't managed to on Holy Thursday) which are to be consumed after the Resurrection.

Φασόλια ΠιάζιThe period of Lent before Easter is called by the Orthodox Church, Tessaracoste (Quadragesimal), which comes from the word forty (the 40 days of "fasting").  The purpose of Great Lent is to prepare the faithful to not only commemorate, but to enter into the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.

CleanmondayClean Monday (Kathara Deftera) also known as Koulouma, symbolizes the start of the Great Lent which is called "Sarakosti" and occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Easter. The term "Clean Monday" refers to the cleansing of the body and spirit.  

Kalamata OlivesThe olive has been an essential part of Greek history, agriculture and cooking for over 3500 years. According to Greek mythology, the olive tree was a gift from the goddess Athena to the people of Athens.  In fact, olive trees were cultivated in Crete and Assyria over 5000 years ago.

Kalamata olives, also known as "Kalamon" or "Calamata olives" or even just "Greek olives", get their name from Kalamata, their city of origin in the southern Peloponnese.  

AvgolemonoAvgolemono or egg-lemon sauce, is a sauce made with eggs and lemon juice mixed with broth or soup. The idea is pretty simple: just beat the eggs with the lemon juice, add broth and then mix this into the rest of the food in the pot.

GreekXmasChristmas is an important cultural and religious event in Greece and food during the holiday season plays a major role!  The Christmas menu differs from region to region across the country with every region adding its own twist to the traditional recipes.

spoon sweetsSpoon sweets (glyka koutaliou) are made from sugar and fruit or vegetables and they are called "spoon sweets" because they are served by the teaspoon.  They are served to guests as a gesture of hospitality along with Greek coffee and a glass of cold water.

In order to make spoon sweets, some fruits and vegetables need to be immature, some slightly under-ripe and some fully ripened.  Some fruits like cherries, are first pitted and others like quince and carrot, scraped. 

For Greeks, feta is like bread!  It will be on every table regardless of what is being served!  In fact, Greeks are the highest consumers of cheese, with feta making up for over half of the cheese consumed! 

The name feta, literally meaning "slice", originated in the 17th century, and probably refers to the practice of slicing up cheese to be placed into barrels.

Recipe of the day