Most of us, when we visit a country, we don’t want just to see some places and leave, we want to expose ourselves to the culture as much as possible. That’s the beauty of traveling, after all, you get to dive into a different world with different smells, tastes, sounds, and images. The more you get yourself lost in this new world, the richer and more memorable the experience will be.
In bicycle touring, this is even truer because the slow speed makes the experience denser and leaves more room for things to try. That’s why I wanted to prepare a list of Greek products that you can buy and try while on the bike in Greece. Greek food is famous for being very healthy and tasty and full of energy hence perfect for bicycle trips.
I have compiled a list of all these Greek foods that could be essential for the bicycle tourist who travels in Greece and wants to taste some local products!
So here we go:
Makethonikos Halvas: One of my favorite things in the world. It’s made out of sesame seeds and that’s why it will give you lots of energy. I’d recommend the one with honey instead of sugar, and almonds.
Tahini: It’s actually Halva without the sugar in liquid form. Very very healthy stuff that you can mix it with honey and spread it on your bread for a great breakfast.
Stafitha (dried grapes): You can find two types: Ksanthia and Mavri. Both taste great. I don’t remember going on a bike trip without having stafitha with me. You can combine it with any type of nuts possible and especially with Stragalia (roasted chickpeas) and make a truly delicious superfood that will keep you energetic for days!
Olive paste: You can spread it on your rusks or your bread for a quick snack. Very healthy and super tasty. I personally eat it daily!
Melitsanosalata paste: Also healthy and tasty paste from eggplant for your rusks or bread.
Pasteli (Sesame Bar): Most of the Greek cyclists carry some Sesame bars in their pocket. You can easily find them everywhere, even in the small kiosks (‘periptera‘) you see in every corner of the Greek cities. It can make a huge difference in your energy levels! And it is delicious!
Paksimadia Kithiron (Oil Rusks from Kithira): They will change forever the way you see Rusks. Incredibly useful stuff for your travels. You can combine them with yellow cheese for supreme taste. The most famous brand here is called ‘ The Mana’ and they are very tasty.
Olive Oil: The famous Greek Olive Oil. It is considered the best in the Mediterranean region. You can use it in your food or straight on your bread along with oregano and some salt. Minimal and incredibly tasty. You can read what I wrote about it here.
Elies (Olives): There is a big variety of them in the market, my favorite is the ‘Kalamon’ kind but ‘Tsakistes’ is also great. You can eat them as a quick snack or as a side dish with your meal or breakfast.
Loukoumia or Turkish Delight: This one is not healthy but it works wonders in big climbs. A friend of mine always bring them along on bicycle trips and offer us some after a stranuous part of the route. Very sweet, they offer a huge boost.
Trahanas (try to find the traditional one from Women’s associations in Villages ): Greek mothers consider this the ultimate remedy for all sicknesses. Super heathy food that can wake up the dead. You can read more about it here and read how to prepare it here.
Fava (from Santorini Island): Another true superfood, perfect for trips. It’s very high in carbohydrates and protein. They usually combine it with fish or salad. You can read here how you can prepare it.
Apoksiramena Sika (Dried Figs – From Evia Island): Delicious snack that you just can’t stop eating. I usually have them in a basket or somewhere accessible and eat them while on the bike. The most popular ones called ‘Sika Evias’.
Gliko tou Koutaliou (Spoon Sweets): There is a big variety of this kind of sweets. You can find Sour Cherry (Vissino) which is my favorite and the most popular, Bitter orange (neratzaki), firiki (apple), watermelon (karpouzi), grapes (stafili), quince (kithoni) and many many others. You can try some, all of them are very tasty.
Mpougatsa (Cream Pie): I could buy and eat them every day, but I try to avoid it. It’s a pie filled with a sweet cream. Many friends from different countries have tasted and all of them liked it. You can find them almost in every bakery in the country.
Spanakopita (Pinach Pie): Again, you can find them in every bakery in the country. I recommend the one with feta cheese inside. Delicious and very healthy!
Ntolmathakia (canned): They are stuffed grape vine leaves and you can order them in a restaurant or, If you eat in your tent, you can have them in a can. In Greece we usually serve them as an appetizer but on a trip, they can be the main meal along with some fava!
Υigantes (Giant Beans -canned): When my girlfriend makes them I am happy! These giant beans are full of energy! They are infamous here for making people fart, so if you are not afraid to leave some loud noises, take some cans of Giant Beans with you to help you with the climbs!
Piperies Florinis (Peppers from Florina – pickled): Very popular traditional healthy snack that you can find easily in every supermarket of the country. Healthy and delicious. One pepper contains more Vitamin C than a full glass of orange juice!