The region of the Peloponnese is one of the most significant regions in Greece. As the mythical homeland of Ancient Greece, Peloponnese holds centuries of Greek traditions on its lands. The farmlands date back to historical times, and their rich soil has made the Peloponnese one of the top food destinations in the country. Ranging from traditional Greek food to regional cuisine, here are a few foods you must try while in Peloponnese.
Olive oil is a staple in the Greek diet, and Peloponnese is famous for producing a specific variety in Olympia. This extra virgin olive oil is produced using two varieties of olives, Koroneiki and Kollyreiki. Not only can you sample it in almost all dishes, but bringing a bottle of this EVOO makes a great gift!
Tsakoniki Melitzana Leonidiou (Eggplant)
This variety of eggplant is produced exclusively in Arcadia, just outside of the town of Leonidio. Harvested from May to November, this eggplant thrives in the region’s sandy soil and has an almost sweet taste. The eggplant is so highly regarded in the region that every August, there is a festival during which recipe competitions are held.
Cheese is another staple in Greek cuisine, and Peloponnese is home to a specific type of cheese called Sfela. Sfela is typically served as an appetizer, grilled, or combined with meat and vegetables. This semi-hard cheese is traditionally produced from goat or sheep’s milk. The livestock is traditionally raised in the Messinia and Lakonia region, where Sfela has been produced for more than 100 years.
Food is not the only thing Peloponnese is known for. Tentura is a traditional liquor made in Patras and dates back to the 15th century. This amber-colored liquor is prepared by infusing tsipouro, a distilled spirit produced from the residue of the wine press after the winemaking has been completed, with herbs and spices like cinnamon and clove. Tentura is traditionally served neat or over ice and is enjoyed as a digestif or aperitif.
The Peloponnese region is the largest grape-growing region in Greece. They are home to approximately 30 percent of the country’s vineyards. Within Peloponnese regions like Patras, Mantinia, and Nemea produce their own varieties of red and white wines that pair perfectly with traditional Greek cuisine.
Meli Elatis Menalou Vanilia (Honey)
Produced in the Arcadia prefecture of Peloponnese is the first Greek honey acknowledged by the European Union as a protected product. The world-famous honey is not just collected from blossoms, but rather from the trunk of the black fir in combination with mixed flowers.
If you are interested in learning more about the delicious regional foods to try while in Greece, contact me today!