Greece is a meeting place between East and West, its cuisine mixing classical Mediterranean cooking with "oriental" influences from the Middle East. Greek food remains true to its roots, like ancient philosopher Epicurus' dictum to "live well and enjoy the simple things in life."
Throughout history, Greece has been a country that has repeatedly conquered and been conquered, creating a broad variety of cultural influences on its cuisine. The Greeks are credited with laying the foundation for the culinary arts. When the Byzantine Empire absorbed Greece in 330 BC, Balkan and Turkish influences blended into Greek cooking. In successive invasions, Slavs, Franks, Serbs, and Venetians introduced their culinary traditions. For more than 400 years, Greece was part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. As a result, many classic Greek dishes still have Turkish names today.
Research and recipes provided by Chef Mimi Rippee, Judy McCann and the foodwine.com staff.