With its organic produce markets, prolific wild herbs and island seafood hauls, Greece is an unintentional leader of the world’s most sustainable food locales. Kalí orexí! (bon appétit!)
Greece may not be known worldwide for implementing formal initiatives surrounding sustainable practices, but informally, Greeks have been green for centuries. The age-old habit of growing vegetables, harvesting olives and preparing silky oil, and cooking up a storm with tomatoes, fresh fish and wild greens is the norm for most folk whether they live on an island or the mainland. If a village doesn’t whip up a unique dish using a wild herb or vegetable prolific to their area, you can be sure they’ll have their own take on a more traditional, national dish.
But nothing is more genuine than the massive serving of filoxenia (hospitality) extended to anyone and everyone; it’s a way of life for the Greeks. It’s embedded in their DNA, and throughout the country, generous and passionate locals share their knowledge with travelers, coupling fantastic fresh cooking with back-to-nature activities such as trekking through diverse landscapes.
Hikers can wander the mountains of Kalymnos with Kalymnos Experiences and learn about the intricacies of fragrant herbs. Or take a seat by a historic windmill at Mylos Fish Restaurant, Leros, and nibble on octopus carpaccio (sourced that morning from the fisher’s docks). And don’t miss the tasty, organic cuisine of Crete.
After exploring the delights of the archaeological site of Ancient Delphi, get your teeth into locally sourced lamb, fresh horta (mountain greens) and homemade desserts at Taverna Vakhos (a zero-waste, plastic-free eatery). In the Peloponnese’s remote region of the Mani, rest your head at the beautiful Antares Guesthouse. Allow time to savor the scrumptious breakfast, yogurt, breads and cheese pies made from 100% local produce.
By Kate Armstrong