To Greeks, garlic is eaten as a vegetable. It is used as a seasoner for meats, especially lamb, tomato sauces and every kind of vegetable. Mostly, garlic is used with lemon and olive oil.

Hippocrates classified garlic as sudorific drug which was bad for the eyes and should be used for medicinal purposes only. Many Greek peasants use mashed garlic as a poultice for chest colds.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil is deeply seated in Greek cooking and is used as the main cooking oil. Greece is the third largest producer in the world of olive oil with the best coming from Kalamata and Crete.

Olive Oil is made from fifty varieties of olives and similar to wine, its quality depends on where the olives are grown and how the oil is extracted.

Cold-pressed olive oil is made by spreading olive pulp on mats that are layered and placed in a wooden press. With a weight on the mats, the oil is released into a vat below. Extra-virgin olive oil is defined by low acidity (less than 1 percent) is made from the pulp of just-ripened olives. This oil has the best taste for salads. The extra-virgin oil is left for days--up to a week to settle. Virgin olive oil has an acid content of 3.3 percent or less. It is also cold-pressed but the olives are not always top quality. Pure olive oil is the lowest grade and is generally from later presses of the olives used in extra-virgin oil.


The Crusaders introduced lemon to the Greeks in the thirteenth century. Today lemon is the most used fruit flavoring in Greek cooking.

Lemon juice is the essence ingredient in many marinades and sauces and compliments well with olive oil. It is a favorite basting for grilled foods. It is the secret ingredient in dessert sauces and soups. It is often mated with oregano to flavor fish, meat and poultry.

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