Pasto, meaning ‘salt-preserved meat,’ a traditional Greek meze. Swine, salted, smoked over wood, infused with aroma, boiled, and preserved in olive oil. Perfect with wine or ouzo.

Slices of Greek ‘pasto’

Pasto means “salt-preserved meat”.

The lack of refrigeration in earlier times meant that people, faced with having to deal with large quantities of meat, had to invent methods for its preservation.

Shortly before or after Christmas, swine were traditionally slaughtered, skinned and chopped into smaller pieces, followed by being salted and left for a few days to dry.

Portions of the meat were then smoked in the fireplace over low heat for two or three days so as to become infused with the aromatic smoke of wood from olive, cypress or even orange trees. Coriander, savory or rosemary add to the aroma and further help with the drying process.

The meat was then boiled in oil or fat until it took on a golden brown hue and, after cooling, was sliced for storing in jars, where it was covered with olive oil to preserve it for consumption during the winter.

Pasto is a traditional meze consumed either by itself or with a glass of wine, ouzo, raki or beer, or again used for traditional dishes like omelets and strapatsada (or kagiana).


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