Traditional Avgolemono Recipe

Many countries around the world have their own rendition of chicken soup, and it’s always considered a deeply soothing food everywhere.

For Greeks, kotosoupa (also known as Avgolemonois proven that when combined and cooked, the ingredients in this soup offer a powerhouse of health for treating colds, flu, and light fevers. It is considered especially beneficial for abating respiratory problems, sore throat and sniffles.

Hot chicken stock, made with the (ideally organic, free range) chicken meat and bones, is extremely hydrating and rich in proteins, B vitamins and minerals. It’s also rich in tryptophan, an antioxidant that boosts the production of feel-good serotonin in the brain. In combination with pasta or rice, which are rich in carbohydrates, the soup offers energy too.

The other ingredients in Greek chicken soup are carrots, celery and onion. Carrots are
high in vitamin A and K, as well as potassium and antioxidants, celery is packed with antioxidants and has an anti-pyretic effect because it’s anti-inflammatory and alkalizing, and onion has antibacterial properties among many other benefits.

Finally, Greek kotosoupa is classically made with the addition of avgolemono at the end, which just adds to the health-boosting goodness of this dish. Avgolemono is made by beating two egg yolks or a whole egg plus one yolk and then adding the freshly squeezed juice of a lemon. Egg yolks are rich in Omega 3s, vitamins D, A and B12, folate, phosphorus and selenium, all essential components for strengthening the body’s immune system. Lemon is high in antioxidants and especially vitamin C, promotes hydration and aids digestion.


  • 1 whole chicken
    (ideally organic, free range), cut into pieces
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 stems of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil


  • Wash chicken thoroughly.
  • Chop carrots, celery, onion and garlic.
  • Place chicken in large stockpot and fill 3/4 of the way with water. Bring to rapid boil, then lower heat to medium/low. 
  • Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil. Cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add rice and boil for another 30 minutes. 
  • Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, gradually adding the lemon juice. Add about 2 ladlefuls of stock and whisk it into the eggs. 
  • Return the egg mixture into stockpot and cook over low heat until soup starts to thicken, without letting it boil.

*Recipe & Image by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

How to Be Savvy & Satisfied at a Greek Fish Taverna

Whether you find yourself at a Greek fish taverna (Psarotaverna) with knowledgeable local friends or totally unaccompanied by accommodating translators/explainers of mysterious-sounding things on the menu, it helps to have a decent knowledge of what you’re eating.

As a rule, the best fish tavernas and restaurants overall are those that have only the freshest dishes available – the more pages on the menu, the more you can be certain that half the foods are frozen and microwaved as opposed to whisked out of the fisherman’s bucket and cooked. Usually fish taverns and other Greek restaurants divulge whether a fish on their menu is fresh or frozen by including an asterisk next to the name of the said
fish, but it’s better to be gratified by fresh catch than have your senses dulled by something that’s edible but tastes blah. Here we offer you a guide to the most commonly found delights served up in fish taverns around the country.

What it is:
A tiny fish (sand smelt in English) that’s dipped in batter and deep fried to a delicious crispy consistency.

How it’s eaten: With your fork or, for the Boho-beach-carefree ones among you, with your hand, and entire. Some people chop off the heads due to psychological reasons (especially with the thicker, larger types of atherina fish) but really, it makes no difference to the overall taste. Served with a sprinkling of salt and squeeze of lemon.

Insights Greece - How to Be Savvy & Satisfied at a Greek Fish Taverna

Kalamarakia Tiganita
What it is:
Calamari that is cut into rings and tentacles, dipped in batter and deep fried to a crisp. When cooked properly the calamari will be only very slightly chewy and not at all rubbery. It will have an almost creamy consistency when masticated that mixes perfectly with the crunch of its batter.

How it’s eaten: With a sprinkling of salt and lemon, using a fork and often very fast as this is one of the most popular fish tavern delights.

Kalamari Stin Schara
What it is:
Calamari cooked on the grill with a little olive oil and salt, usually half-sliced along its length. As with all calamari, the fish should not be too rubbery, although the grilled version is usually a little more al dente than the fried rendition.

How it’s eaten: With a squeeze of lemon.

What it is
: Small to medium-sized Red Mullet that’s passed through flour before being pan-fried. The skin becomes crispy and the flesh should be juicy and tender.

How it’s eaten: First cut off the head. Next, be cut it open by slicing it across the middle and opening into two fillets. Remove the spine and bones, sprinkle with salt and lemon and enjoy.

Insights Greece - How to Be Savvy & Satisfied at a Greek Fish Taverna

What it is: Octopus, which is usually beaten to death on a rock upon being caught in order to soften its texture.

How it’s eaten: Most commonly the octopus tentacles are cooked on the grill and served with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and salt, or it can be marinated with lemon and vinegar and in more recent years has become trendy in a carpaccio rendition.

What it is
: Sea urchin eggs. The word ‘salata’ can be a little misleading as there is no lettuce (or anything else for that matter added). The bright orange insides of the urchin are usually scopped into a bowl, sometimes with a little drizzle of olive oil added.

How it’s eaten: With (hopefully good) bread and (optional) lemon. Note: this is one of thise love or hate tastes. Either you will find it slimy and disgusting or you will want to slug the whole thing down alone because it tastes of the sea like nothing else.


What it is: Cod that is cut into steaks or chunks, dipped in batter (of often flour mixed with either soda or beer foe extra fluffiness) and deep fried or pan fried.

How it’s eaten: Traditionally (and especially on March 25th, when Greeks celebrate Independence Day as well as the second day in the religious fasting tradition leading up to Easter (for those who follow the 40 day fast), called Evangelismos tis Theotokou, when they are allowed to break their fast) bakaliaros is accompanied by two very complimentary friends – skordalia (a puree with tons of garlic in it) and boiled beetroots. But it’s just as tasty with some lemon.

Garides Saganaki
What it is: Shrimps slow-cooked with cheese, usually feta, and tomato sauce, with various seasonings and spices, and often in a clay pot.

How it’s eaten: It needs nothing added to it. Just scoop onto your fork and enjoy. If no one is looking, go ahead and dip your bread into the remnants and finish it off!

Insights Greece - How to Be Savvy & Satisfied at a Greek Fish Taverna

Gavros Marinatos
What it is: Anchovies that are marinated in salt, vinegar and spices. The texture is tender and juicy and the flavour is pungent.

How it’s eaten: Ideally accompanied a few sips of ice cold ouzo and maybe a few forkfuls of grounding fava to balance out the sharp yet delicious taste.

Mydia Achnista

What it is: Steamed Mussels that are cooked either in wine a la moulles marinier or even with tomato and spices.

How it’s eaten: When you serve yourself, make sure to also scoop some of the sauce onto the mussels. Pluck the mussel out with your fork, dip into the sauce and enjoy.

It’s not over ‘til it’s over…. And next of course, comes the fish of the day…

A proper dinner at a fish tavern involves sharing several of the above-listed dishes as starters, and then moving on to the actual fish of the day. Usually restaurant owners will happily (read proudly) invite you into the kitchen area to see the catch of the day and convince you to order some, which will usually be cooked on the karvouna (coals) and served with an olive-oil and lemon sauce. Don’t worry, regardless how stuffed you may feel after all the starters, there is always space for a few delicate pieces of beautifully cooked super-fresh and tender fish, which Greeks like to call “frouto”. You got that right, fruit, as in dessert. This is often the most expensive part of the meal, by the way, as a good quality, freshly caught, large fish is worth its sea salt.

Classic Pastitsio Recipe

Pastitsio is a classic and traditional Greek dish, full of richly flavoured meat, pasta and béchamel sauce.

Here is our delicious family recipe for Greece’s ultimate comfort food!


The Meat Sauce

– 1/2 kilo of beef mince

– 1 x white onion, chopped

– 2 x cloves of garlic

– 2 x tablespoons chopped parsley

– 5 x freshly grated tomatoes

– 1 x tablespoon tomato paste

– 1/3 cup of olive oil

– salt and pepper to paste

The Pasta

– 6oo grams pasta

– 2 x eggs

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

– salt

The Béchamel Sauce

-1.2 litres of full cream milk

– 1 cup of all purpose flour

– 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

– 3 x eggs

– salt and pepper to taste


– Heat olive oil in a large pan and sauté the diced onion over medium heat. Add the beef mince to pan and break it up thoroughly. Keep stirring constantly over a medium/high heat for 5 minutes or until meat is browned.

– Once the meat is ready, add the garlic, grated tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan along with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Bring to a boil and make sure to immerse them in the sauce, then reduce the heat to medium/low. Simmer for about 30 minutes or so. Stir the sauce occasionally. When ready, the meat will have absorbed the liquid.

– Bring a large pot of water with a tablespoon of salt to a boil, add the pasta to water and boil until soft but not fully cooked (about 3/4 of the suggested cooking time on the package).

– While the pasta is cooking, make the béchamel sauce. Start by melting the butter in a deep saucepan filled with the milk over a medium heat, then, using a whisk slowly incorporate the dissolved flour (dissolve with a dash of milk) by adding it to the melted butter in stages while stirring continually to avoid the formation of lumps. Continue to constantly stir the butter and flour to ensure a smooth consistency. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the grated Parmesan cheese and eggs while continuing to rapidly stir the mixture. Set aside when smooth.

– Drain the water completely from the pasta pot and return pot with pasta to the heat, add olive oil to the pasta and mix well. Remove the pot from the heat, let stand for a few minutes to cool and then add the egg to the pasta, along with the ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese and mix well, then set aside.

– Rub a little olive into the sides and bottom of your baking dish, and then add about two-thirds of the pasta to the dish to form a bottom layer. Make sure to spread the pasta evenly in order to completely cover the bottom of the dish, make sure not to leave any empty spaces.

– Spread the meat sauce over the pasta layer, ensuring to distribute it evenly and right to the edges of the dish.

– Add the remaining pasta over the top of the meat layer.

– Pour the béchamel sauce over final pasta layer, make sure to cover the entire surface area of the dish.

– Place the dish uncovered in a pre-heated oven (180°C) and bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until the béchamel sauce is golden brown.

– Allow it to cool before cutting and serving.

*Recipe & Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Hilopites With Chicken Recipe

Hilopites (Greek egg pasta) with chicken is a delicious rustic dish, which originated in the Peloponnese region and is traditionally served with Mizithra (hard goat’s cheese). 


1 x large free-range chicken
5 x ripe tomatoes, blended into sauce
1 x tablespoon tomato paste
1 x Spanish onion, chopped
2 x cups Hilopites (egg noodles)
1/4 x cup olive oil
1 x cinnamon stick
2 x cups water
3 x cups boiling water
salt and pepper to taste
Mizithra cheese, to garnish (optional)


– Wash and cut chicken into serving pieces. You should have 2 x breast pieces, two x thigh pieces, 2 x wings pieces, 2 x leg pieces. Remove skin and discard.
– Add olive oil to large pot and allow to heat up. Reduce to medium heat and add chopped onion. Saute for a few minutes and place all chicken pieces into pot. Saute chicken for a few minutes on each side, or until chicken becomes whitened.
– Add tomato paste and stir. Add blended tomatoes, cinnamon stick and 2 x cups water.
– Add salt and pepper and stir. Cover with lid and allow to cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.
– Remove chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside.
– Add 3 x cups of boiling water to pot with sauce and place egg noodles to cook for about 15 minutes or until soft.
– Transfer to serving plates and garnish with grated Mizithra.

*Recipe & Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)

Top 10 Traditional Dishes You Must Try in Greece

Greek gastronomy focuses on authentic ingredients of high quality, and there is no denying the passion Greeks have for their cuisine. With so much tempting Greek food to choose from, we’ve rounded up the Top 10 traditional dishes we recommend you try when visiting! 


Healthy and bursting with fresh and vibrant flavours and colours, Gemista are stuffed tomatoes- and other vegetables- including capsicums, eggplant, and zucchinis, that are baked, until soft and nicely browned. The vegetarian version is filled with rice, chopped vegetables, and baked in a tomato-based sauce and the meat version is rice with minced beef or pork. 


Often referred to as the Greek version of lasagne, this dish consists of three layers: pasta; meat sauce; and a topping of creamy smooth béchamel. Pastitsio is the ultimate Greek comfort food and the trick is the pasta being mixed with egg white and cheese to bind it together before being topped with the rich meat sauce. 


Similar to Pastitsio as there is both mince and béchamel, Moussaka is one of Greece’s most popular and well-known dishes. Packed with layers and layers of eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, and mincemeat, it is topped with a creamy béchamel sauce. Many taverns will use lamb however some recipes include beef mince. 


Greek Fava is different from fava bean dip- it’s not even made from fava beans- it’s made using yellow split peas. This delicious traditional vegan dish originated from the island of Santorini. Creamy and super tasty, the split peas are cooked with garlic and onion, then blended into a smooth and creamy puree that is served with a drizzle of olive oil, diced onion, and cappers.


These fried and crispy Greek zucchini fritters are a perfect pairing of zucchinis, Feta, and an array of fresh herbs, including parsley, dill, and mint. Over the summer, this is a very popular vegetarian dish that’s served with a dollop of refreshing yoghurt. 

Gigantes Plaki

Greek cuisine has several bean dishes as sides and mains. One of them is Gigantes Plaki. Gigantes are a type of large white bean, ‘Plaki’ refers to the method of cooking, which means baking in the oven with a homemade sauce consisting of tomato, onion, garlic, and parsley. Packed with plenty of fresh flavours as well as protein and fibre, it’s a healthy and delicious vegan dish.


This is one of Greece’s most popular pies! The savory pastry is made of perfectly crispy layers of homemade phyllo dough and a comforting filling of spinach and Feta. This classic pie makes a perfect light lunch or dinner and has such a fabulous combination of flavours. You will find it in every Greek bakery you come across.

Prawn Saganaki

A simple dish of fresh prawns that are cooked in a beautiful tomato sauce, Feta, and a dash of Ouzo! You will find it on the menu at most Psarotavernas (fish taverns) and it’s likely to be served with chunks of freshly made bread so you can dip it into that irresistible sauce!


Stuffed grape leaves, is one of the most well-known Greek recipes. They are traditionally stuffed with rice as a vegetarian option or more commonly served ground meat, rice, and herbs. Some places include an egg and lemon sauce (avgolemono), while others prefer to pair them with a dollop of Greek yogurt. They can be eaten as a side dish, meze, or as a main. 

Psari Plaki 

This delicious recipe features fresh fish baked in the oven with vegetables, olive oil, and fresh tomatoes, as well as onions, garlic, leeks, and celery- to round out the flavours. 


Inspiring People Around the World to Cook Greek

Australian born with Greek heritage, Kelly Michelakis, founder of The Hellenic Odyssey, is a passionate home cook and travel enthusiast.

Accompanied by her photographer husband, Xenophon, they make the perfect team-  sharing discoveries of authentic Greek food and travel on their social media pages and popular blog, which is reached by thousands of followers. 

Having to put their 2020 culinary and travel tours on hold due to the pandemic, Kelly has turned her focus to online cooking classes, which launched a few weeks ago and has already become a worldwide hit.

Insights Greece - Inspiring People Around the World to Cook GreekKelly is currently hosting weekly classes and sharing her beautiful and traditional Greek recipes with people from all around the globe who are keen to discover how to make authentic Greek dishes from scratch. This includes entrees such as Greek pita and dips, a variety of mains like Gemista and Pastitsio, as well as Greek sweets such as Bougatsa and Ekmek Kataifi.

With the aim of inspiring people all over the world to try Greek food and to visit Greece, Kelly recently spoke with us about living in Greece, her passion for Greek cuisine and culture, plus her love of sharing her knowledge about the origins and philosophy of Greek gastronomy.

Tell us which part of Greece are you from and when did you first visit?

I’m from the island of Crete, the largest of all the Greek islands. My family originates from Chania, the prefecture on the western side of Crete. My grandparents grew up in the region known as Keramia in the village of Kontopoula. I first visited Greece when I was eight, but I didn’t just visit. I lived there for two years in the prefecture of Heraklion, the capital city of Crete. Since then, I have been back to Greece five times.

Insights Greece - Inspiring People Around the World to Cook GreekWhat part of Greek culture do you connect with most?

I connect mostly with the food of Greece and the traditions and customs surrounding that- music, dance, celebrations, festivals, the land, cultivation and harvesting. Learning about how our elders lived provides great insight into our history and ensures their stories are not lost among the generations. It enables their recipes, their food and their ways to be remembered and passed on.

When did you launch The Hellenic Odyssey and what was the vision behind it?

We started The Hellenic Odyssey as a project created from the heart, driven by a passion for food and inspired by a love for travel. We launched in 2018 with the intention of providing culinary travel tours to Crete and hosting cooking classes here in Melbourne. Our vision was to continue to learn about our own culture while sharing what we love with others; Greek food and travel.

When did your passion for cooking begin and what do you love making?

It began at an early age. I remember in primary school being told that we could go to the library to borrow a book and I would find myself in the childrens’ cooking section browsing cookbooks. I love cooking sweets the most, and this too has been with me from a young age. I recently found a cookbook from 1995 that was all about classic cakes and upon browsing through the pages, I recall having baked the majority of the recipes from it (and I would have only been about 13 years old).

What are some of your favourite Greek dishes and as a ‘foodie’ what regions in Greece do you enjoy visiting?

My favourite would have to be Cretan and they include Dakos, Boureki, and Kaltsounia. I think Crete is a foodie haven but so too are many other islands and regions such as Naxos, Santorini, the Peloponesse (Kalamata), Athens and Thessaloniki of course! There is such a diverse range of foods and the flavours vary on what that region is known for. The island of Chios for example has its mastiha while Corfu features a lot of Kumquat liqueur.

How would you describe the Greek gastronomy scene in 2020 and what do you think people would be most surprised about?

There is so much more on offer in Greece than travellers could ever expect when it comes to gastronomy. Local boutique suppliers of products such as cheese and yogurt, baked goods, wine, olives, jams, preserves and honey, herbs and botanicals, olive oil, nut based products, distilled spirits such as raki, and even beer are earning a reputation. Travellers would be surprised at the variety of unique food experiences to be had and the exceptionally high quality of the product.

What has been your most memorable A) Breakfast in Greece? B) Lunch in Greece? C) Dinner in Greece?

The most enjoyable breakfast for me are those that you have in a small boutique family owned hotel. There is not a huge selection on offer but what is served is always 10/10. Fresh seasonal fruit, homemade jams, cheese and paximadia, freshly baked bread, local yogurt and honey, and a moist delicate sponge cake.

Lunch! Being served a Greek salad with vine ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, mountainous oregano that seems to smell so different in Greece, topped with a local soft white cheese, plus a plate of hand cut olive oil fried patates and a glass of homemade wine (as most restaurants have their own supply) while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, with old Greek music softly heard in the background at a local taverna on the lesser-visited island of Skiathos. It is the simplicity of the place, the meal and the atmosphere that makes such an experience memorable.

As for dinner, it would be in Santorini on the cliff face of Andronis Luxury Hotel at Lycabettus restaurant, overlooking the caldera with nothing to obstruct your view. Santorini’s best delicacies are served with matching wine during sunset with soothing music in the background on a balmy night. There is a sense at that moment, that nothing else matters, time is non-existent, thoughts do not enter your mind, you are purely there in the present moment without a single thing bothering you.

Insights Greece - Inspiring People Around the World to Cook GreekTell us about the one and a half years you spent in Greece. What was it like, and how much travelling did you do during that time?

We spent the majority of our time in Greece living in Corfu and in Crete. We intended on living there more permanently but due to the economic crisis Greece was experiencing at the time, we had to return earlier than expected. Living in Greece is completely different from life here in Australia. There is no real order, it is exactly as they say ‘organised chaos’ and you have the choice to either join in and become one of them or be left out with your Australian ways. You have to act and live the way they do in order to get anything done. You must drive like them, speak like them, act like them, eat like them, party like them, and live like them. It is then that you are truly a local.

It was one of the most memorable times of my life. There is a sense of freedom and free spiritedness I feel there that I just can’t get here. We travelled extensively towards the end of our time in Greece, by island hopping during the quieter season. We departed Crete in May and travelled until August. We chose to do this without pre-booking any destinations or hotels. We would board a ferry, arrive at our destination and choose how long to stay there once we got a feel for the place.

What is your advice for anyone planning on travelling through Greece for a long period?

I would recommend buying a cheap car in Athens as it gives you so much freedom to travel. I also recommend you try to travel outside of the peak season, either May/June or September are great months. 

You were meant to start travel tours this year, however, that didn’t go ahead due to Covid. Tell us more about those?

The culinary and cultural travel tours in Crete are based in the region of Chania for the whole time. The reason for this is that we want our travellers to become immersed in one destination. We don’t want to rush from one place to the next simply to tick it off a list. We instead want people to have a slow travel journey, to really get to know the locals, to settle in, to experience Cretan life the way locals do. Our tours have an immersive live like a local feel.

Insights Greece - Inspiring People Around the World to Cook GreekWhat do you want visitors to experience with your tours when they commence?

Tours are aimed at those who are seeking an off the beaten track experience based on a slow travel style. We want to showcase our ancestral history through culinary and cultural travel experiences. We want to share the love we have for Crete and show others what makes it so special. Our tours are unique because they provide the freedom to venture off the beaten track. They are not driven by set times, they operate on Greek time. For example, if our group finds itself having an amazing time with the locals at a winery visit, we would not want to interrupt that because its time to go, or if we stumble across a local festival, we would actually stop so the group could experience that. Our tours are about taking travellers to places that they would not be able to find on their own in the short time they would be there. We take them to the best of the best hidden local gems.

You are inviting people to your home in Melbourne, where you will host cooking classes. What can people expect to learn? 

Our cooking classes in Melbourne are in themselves a trip to Greece. I welcome guests into my own home which is surrounded with fruit trees, olive trees, a veggie patch and fresh herbs with an indoor and outdoor dining area so guests can feel like there are in an authentic Greek kitchen, home and garden. Classes are hands on so guests can learn by doing it themselves, we prepare and cook as a group followed by sharing our cooking creations together. Cooking classes in Melbourne will commence once restrictions are lifted.

In the meantime, you’ve launched your popular online cooking classes. 

Yes, this is ideal for anyone interested in taking part in an online Greek cooking class as now you can do so from anywhere in the world. I can also conduct one on one sessions, or group Zooms for your special event, family get togethers or work team meetings. You can learn to make Galaktoboureko, Pastitsio, Gemista, Cretan Bougatsa, as well as vegan and vegetarian dishes.

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Paximadi: The Richly Nutritive ‘Poor Man’s Bread’

By today, paximadi rusks are produced and enjoyed throughout the country and come in many sizes, shapes (and prices) and with varying flavourings. It’s now even used in powdered form to flavour dishes at gourmet restaurants. Basically, the humble paximadi, with its millennia-long history, has come a long way!

The paximadi was once a daily staple food for farmers, seamen and labourers, whose wives baked 2-3 days-old stale bread to harden and preserve it. In older times it represented both hardship and the solution to hardship and was used in trade deals alongside coins and preserved meat during the Venetian occupation periods in Greece because of its durability and sustenance.

Regional Variations

In Crete, the dakos rusk is traditionally made with barley or wheat and used as the base of the by now famous dakos salad, served at almost every modern Greek taverna. The large, rock-hard Cretan dakos are briefly soaked in water to soften before being topped with tomatoes, goat’s cheese, sliced onions and a healthy dollop of rich extra virgin olive oil.

For decades, barley rusks are widely produced in Mykonos, Kythnos, Paros and other islands. In Santorini and Anafi they are sometimes flavoured with saffron, while in Kalymnos the round rusks called mirmizeli are flavoured with anise and cumin. In Kythera they are rich in olive oil and in Lefkada they’re more slender slices and flavoured with fennel seeds, clove and cumin.

Insights Greece - Paximadi: The Richly Nutritive ‘Poor Man’s Bread’

Why it’s better than bread

Regardless of what type you use, Paximadi adds a crunchy, grounding texture and flavour to all kinds of dishes – as crouton-style bites in salads, soups, stews or ladera dishes; as a base for scooping up dips like taramosalata and melitzanosalata; as a base for toppings like soft cheeses, olive paste, chutneys and more. The added bonus is that it offers plenty of health benefits too.

It’s safe to say that the darker and denser the rusk appears, the higher it will be in nutritive value. White-flour rusks may be made with olive oil or no salt, but will still be lower in fibre, which is one of the paximadis’ greatest attributes. Generally aim for the 100% barley or whole-wheat and /or carob rusks if you want to reap the most health benefits, which include the following: B vitamins (especially B1 and B6), folic acid, iron, magnesium and high fibre. Carob rusks also contain vitamins A, C and D.

What’s in a name?

Known as “dipiritis artos” – or twice-baked bread, rusks have been a staple part of the Greek diet since ancient times. Meanwhile its current name ‘paximadi’ is said to come from the name of a gastronomy expert and writer, Paxamos, who lived in Rome. In his book Siren Feasts Andrew Dalby writes that the work paximadi was later morphed into the Arabic bashmat or basquimat, Turkish beksemad, Serb-Croatian peksimet, Romanian pesmet and Venetian pasimata.

My favourite rusk by far: To Paximadi Tis Katohis. For hard-core paximadi-lovers, this highly nutritive, organic rusk’s name ‘the rusk of the occupation’ says it all. It contains 70%, barley flour, carob flour, oat flour, sourdough and olive oil.

*Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

100% Superfood Dish: The Everyday Greek Salad

Discover why this humble salad is not only a gratifying and balanced meal in itself on a hot summer’s day but a super healthy one too.

The Greek salad, or Horiatiki, which translated in Greek means ‘village salad’, was ironically born in the Greek capital rather than a Greek village. It is said to have been the invention of taverna owners in Plaka during the 1960s and ‘70s, who according to government standards were not allowed to charge for cucumber and tomato salad (much as there’s no charge for tap water today), so they added a piece of feta to the mix and voila! – a dish tourists had to pay for was invented.

With the passing of time, the salad was embellished with Kalamata olives, strips of green bell pepper and a sprinkle of oregano (today it’s common for it to be served with a sprinkle of capers and a bed of barley rusks too). There cannot be a Greek salad without slatherings of olive oil, which by the end of the meal becomes a sauce at the bottom of the plate that’s beautifully mixed with crumbs of feta, cucumber and tomato seeds and salt. At this point, it’s considered almost unorthodox not to grab a piece of a hunk of bread and dip it indulgently into the juices, in a ritual beloved to most Greeks that’s called ‘papara’. And it gets even better. This salad is a superfood dish!

Insights Greece - 100% Superfood Dish: The Everyday Greek Salad
image via My Greek Dish


Tomatoes, which originated in central America, reached Greece as recently as the early 1800s, along with potatoes. Red, juicy, plump tomatoes sprinkled with salt are a sensory delight on a hot summer’s day and offer significant health benefits. They’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins C, K, B3, B5, B6 & B7, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and potassium. When cooked they are also high in lycopene, known for its cancer-preventative qualities. They’re good for the skin, boost heart health and balance blood sugar levels. They’re ideally eaten at room temperature.


Cucumbers are high in water content, which makes them wonderfully hydrating on a hot summer’s day, especially if they’ve been chilling in the fridge. They contain fisetin, an anti-inflammatory substance that helps protect from age-related neurological diseases of the brain, as well as polyphenols called lignans, which are also anti-inflammatory. They also contain vitamin K and are high in insoluble fibre, which aids digestion. Tip: Don’t throw away the peels. Use them as a refreshing, pore-tightening face toner by rubbing them on well-cleansed skin.


Nutrient-dense and packed with antioxidants (with 25 varieties of flavonoid), onions are known for their medicinal properties, as is garlic, also from the Allium family. They are high in potassium, Vitamins C, B9 (folate) and B6 (pyridoxine, known for alleviating melancholy) and have strong anti-inflammatory properties that are said to prevent heart disease and lower blood pressure. They’re thought to prevent cancer, increase bone density and are considered a great antibacterial food, especially good when accompanying meat dishes as they’re said to help break down fats and clean the blood.

Green Bell Pepper (optional)

Sometimes left to the side of the plate, green bell peppers are high in fibre, Vitamins C and E.

Greek Feta

Low in fat, feta cheese is made from sheep’s and goat’s milk and is high in probiotics, which help strengthen gut health. It’s high in vitamins K, B and A, magnesium, calcium and iron so it’s good for your eyesight and boosts bone density.

Kalamata Olives

High in antioxidant phenolic compounds, which also give them their distinctively sharp flavour, these olives are also high in vitamins E, C, A, B and K, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.


Anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial oregano is strong not only in its flavour but in its antioxidant effects. This anti-inflammatory herb is also thought to be good for soothing congestion.

Olive Oil

Global scientific research has repeatedly touted the numerous health benefits of Greece’s antioxidant-rich ‘liquid gold’. The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil (oleic acid) protect from oxidative stress, help prevent cardiovascular diseases and have anti-cancer properties. Olive oil also helps the re-mineralisation of the bones, lowers cholesterol and helps keep brain function strong while balancing hormone levels.

Carolina Doriti: I Can’t Help Falling in Love… With Greek Food

Carolina Doriti, chef, food stylist and food writer extraordinaire, has made a big impact on social media and beyond with her many Greek culinary talents.

Insights Greece - Carolina Doriti: I Can’t Help Falling in Love... With Greek Food

As soon as she could read, Carolina’s mother gave her a recipe book that sent her cooking fantasies rocketing; concepts both simple and complex, profoundly cultural and edgily independent, that have formed her art and presence today. Growing up in Athens in a home where the kitchen was always alive with action, in a family that was directly involved with food, she started writing her own recipes at the age of 12. She studied Media and Cultural Studies and then an MA on Arts Administration Cultural Policy and Curating in the UK, starting her career as a curator at notable museums before returning to her native Athens in 2004.

“I’ve always liked the idea of being strong and independent and dedicated and productive; so I always worked hard! In 2005 I decided to quit my job and turned my hobby into my work. I started cooking professionally, and that’s when my work became my life,” she says. Although she was still in her 20s, she put parties and play aside to dedicate herself to cooking.

In 2013 she gave birth to her son Apollo, which led to a lifestyle change and a new collaboration with Culinary Backstreets, a company that runs gastronomy tours and has a successful web presence showcasing global cuisine. It was then that Carolina started writing about Greek food and gastronomy.

“The more I discovered, the more passion was awakened. I wanted to do the best I could to Insights Greece - Carolina Doriti: I Can’t Help Falling in Love... With Greek Foodlet the world know about Greek food traditions and recipes that were almost lost in time. Also, the products of Greece are such a treasure. I feel so grateful to be in a country that is so “rich” in products, with so much history behind them!” she says.

Her work as a food writer soon led to other avenues. “I started collaborating with magazines by writing recipes, food styling, writing reviews on chefs … an experience that has helped me view this profession from every angle.”

In 2016 Carolina began working for Greek American chef and food writer Diana Kochilas, with whom she collaborates on the show ‘My Greek Table’ as a Culinary producer. This proved to be an invaluable experience: “This gave me the opportunity to travel around Greece and learn so much more. I spent time with shepherds in Epirus, milked goats and tasted raw, fresh milk thistle from the fields, learned how to make different types of cheese, baked rusks on Cretan mountains, learned from Mrs Margarita making the best tomato fritters in Santorini with the authentic native seeds she’s preserved (now I also own some too), collected honey with beekeepers in Ikaria, learned about Greek wines from some of the best producers, and much more. This made me love Greece even more, I am one of Greece’s biggest honest fans,” Carolina says.

Insights Greece - Carolina Doriti: I Can’t Help Falling in Love... With Greek Food

Her experiences were rewarding in her role as a mother too. “The biggest challenge in this work is being a single mom at the same time. When people ask me how I do it I honestly don’t know. But I manage. And I can proudly admit that my seven-year-old Apollo is a real food connoisseur!”

For three years, Carolina has been working on a few projects where she can share her knowledge and experiences that she has gathered throughout the years – the discovery of Greece’s cuisine from multifaceted perspectives. “I love the way they grow vines in Santorini; it’s fascinating to learn about how these vines are not actually water, that they’ve been grown in that shape for centuries to protect them from the microclimate. I love Greek saffron. Greece is so rich in mushrooms that Greeks don’t even know much about. I am also a huge fan of Mastiha and have written a lot about it, having cherished the experience of collecting it. I love a ‘Kariki’ cheese from Tinos – it’s a type of blue cheese that’s not actually blue and matures in a gourd. Above all, I love how from one humble ingredient you can create dozens of creative recipes.”

Carolina keeps herself involved in the food scene in various ways, such as through her collaboration with WISE Greece, an NGO that supports Greek food producers, and recently also started the Culinary Backstreets Athens Wine Club. She is also currently working on writing her own book, while also being near to completing another book she’s been writing with a friend.

One of Carolina’s greatest aspirations is to evoke in those who follow her work “the love, passion, appreciation, and excitement I share for food and cooking, in a simple and humble way. I hope to educate them the way I am trying to educate myself!”

Insights Greece - Carolina Doriti: I Can’t Help Falling in Love... With Greek Food

Greeks are slowly but surely discovering more and more about their complex, sophisticated, multiculturally-influenced, and deeply historical culinary heritage, but there is still a way to go, Carolina says. As for how foreigners connect with Greek cuisine, she says “I believe most Greek restaurants abroad fail to represent the real Greek gastronomy. Of course, this has been improving a lot during the recent years but still… there are so many clichés that need to be overcome. Greek cuisine goes far beyond moussaka, souvlaki, Greek salad, and baklava! That’s how for decades this country had been marketing it’s gastronomy, often leaving visitors with the impression that Greek food is greasy and fried and heavy. I mean come on!”

Follow Carolina on Instagram: @carolina_doriti