Imagine a palette of ever-changing blues and greens, dotted with jewels of emerald and sapphire. Welcome to the Ionian Islands, a chain of isles off the west coast of Greece that combines Italian flair, Parisian style, and unmistakably Greek hospitality.
This sparkling chain of seven islands off the west coast of Greece includes Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira, each home to rustic, traditional cuisine that you must taste.
Don’t leave the Ionian Islands without trying…
This thick, Corfiot pasta dish has the telltale mark of the Venetians (who once occupied the islands). Like many familiar Italian sauces, the tomato sauce is cooked down with veal, beef, rooster or even fish. But in a Corfiot twist, it is flavored not only with garlic, minced onion, and white wine but also with cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves. Like any good traditional dish, the variations are legion – some use nutmeg, cumin, and allspice.
This classic dish from Corfu gets its name from the Italian fritto, meaning fried. Thin slices of veal are dredged in flour and fried, then incorporated into a tart sauce created with loads of garlic and parsley cooked in white wine and vinegar. The tasty concoction is ladled over mashed potatoes or rice
Kefalonian Meat Pie:
This meat pie from Kefalonia is a perennial favourite for its rich, well-spiced flavours, using bay leaf, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and marjoram. Usually, it’s prepared with a mixture of veal and lamb, which are cooked in a tomato wine sauce with vegetables like carrots, potato, leeks, then it’s all baked into a pie.
Their local dessert of Lefkada, Lefkaditiki ladopita, literally translates as ‘oil pie.’ But it’s nothing like that name makes it sound! Prepared with olive oil, yes, it is a cake of semolina and simple syrup which is pressed with sesame seeds and almonds on the top, then baked in the oven. Hot from the baking, it’s sliced into wedges and dusted with cinnamon and sugar.
Prepared in a saucepan – you can’t be too shy with the olive oil – the aubergines are cooked down with tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots. The vibrant red sauce is seasoned with paprika, vinegar and loads of garlic cloves, hence its name, which derives from the Greek word for garlic (skordo). In Zakynthos, they also dot the dish generously with cubes of ladotyri, a cheese preserved in oil, but feta is a tasty substitute.
Today many of the traditional dishes are severed in many island’s restaurants making easy for the visitors becoming acquainted with the Ionian Islands gastronomy wealth. Therefore if you wish to satisfy your cravings for new flavors, spice up your travel experience with delicious stories, and most of all, make you feel like part of the city, just like a local.