Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Holiday Trip To Greece

Holiday fare is always special.There are always traditional foods and drinks to sample and savor.One of the oldest inEurope, and perhaps the world is Greece.It is millennia old and full of interesting ingredients as well as stories.Both Christmas and New Year's are no different. Christmas in the Greek Orthodoxy comes after a forty day fasting period.The dishes are well thought out and celebratory.Since eggs and dairy were forbidden during the fast Christmas Eve dishes are loaded with eggs and dairy.One is Sesame Baklava ,redolent with honey and sesame seeds.Meat include pork and the ever present lamb.The last has been used in feasts and dinners since antiquity.With it comes Christ's bread or Christopsomo.It's sort of like fruitcake with the added boost of red wine and brandy.Spice cookies or melomakarona share the spotlight too.This is an orange cinnamon cookies that are soaked in a honey based syrup after baking.The Northern Greeks have contributed stuffed cabbage to the dinner table as well. Christmas is surprisingly a minor holiday in the Greek calendar.New Year's Dayr or the Feast of St Basil is the star.Here young men dive into icy waters in his name to retrieve a gold crucifix that Orthodox priests have previously tossed into either bay ,ocean or river.There is the traditional cake with his name.A coin is baked into it and it brings good luck to the one who finds it.Greek shortbreads or kourapiedes are made too.Nuts and fresh fruit are also put out on the table too, symbolizing hope for a prosperous new year.Pork is also served ,usually roasted for the meal of the day. Greece is a country long on holiday traditions as well as foods.They celebrate with gusto as they create time honored dishes.They make both Christmas and New Year's memorable with aromas and flavors.

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