A Greek bakery is a sight to behold at the best of times. But Christmas is a different experience entirely. The window displays are adorned with piles of decadent desserts dusted with icing sugar or drizzled with honey. The faint smell of fresh baking wafts from the entrance, so you need only follow your nose to find what you are looking for. Traditional Greek Christmas food. While many different sweets fill the bakeries there are also incredible savoury dishes that make up the abundant spread in family homes. Recipes that have been passed down for generations. This is the food you need to try to experience the joy of Christmas in Greece! If you are here in December, these can’t be missed.
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These are probably one of the most well known of all Greek Christmas food. Melomakarona are oval shaped cookies made out of semolina flour, oil and honey. Once cooked, they are sprinkled with chopped walnuts. This delicious treat has hints of orange and spices, making them the perfect addition to the holiday season!
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Coming in a close second are kourabiedes, another well known Greek Christmas food. These cookies are like the Greek version of shortbread and are also known as shortbread cookies. The secret? Plenty of butter, almonds and rosewater give them a deliciously distinctive taste. But the most exciting element of these cookies is the thick dusting of icing sugar, making them melt in your mouth!
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As you can probably tell from this list, desserts are a much loved traditional Greek food! This is why Greek Christmas food is dominated by many sugary delicacies that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Karithopita is no exception. This is a cake made with a unique combination of breadcrumbs, cinnamon, cloves and walnuts. Once cooked this cake is drizzled with a honey and orange syrup.
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While not exactly a Greek Christmas food, vasilopita is a cake that is made and eaten on New Year’s Day. There is a special Greek tradition that happens in Greece around this time. When the clock strikes midnight and the New Year has begun, the cake is cut. Inside the cake is a coin. If you are the one that finds the coin, you are said to have good luck for the rest of the year!
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Diples, also known as honey rolls, are a typical dessert from the Peloponnese. This deep-fried dish is made on special occasions such as Christmas. It’s also another Greek Christmas food with a hint of citrus. This is because the zest of lemons and oranges are put into the dough. The dough is then rolled out and folded into the oil to be fried. After they are fried this dessert is dowsed in a honey-citrus syrup!
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Christopsomo or Christ-bread is a round loaf decorated with a cross and served with dinner. The reason for the cross is that the letter ‘X’ is the first letter for Christ in Greek. Traditionally people make it the day before Christmas and it’s eaten on the 25th to celebrate Christ, as is Greek Orthodox tradition. Only the finest ingredients are used to make this bread and a blend of special spices give it a distinct taste.
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If you are around Greece at Christmas a you will see that pork is the traditional meat of the season. The way it is served varies depending on what region you are in. For example, on the island of Cephalonia, in the Ionian Sea, a traditional Greek Christmas food is poutrida, which is pork served with cauliflower or cabbage. While on the island of Crete the pork is served with lemon.
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Yiaprakia is another pork meal and a common Greek Christmas food. While in Northern Greece this dish is called yiaprakia, it is called lahanodolmades elsewhere. This dish consists of minced pork meat stuffed inside rolled cabbage leaves. As a final touch, the meal is topped with a lemon sauce!
On a cold winter’s day, clasp your hands around a warm cup of krasomelo, the Greek version of mulled wine. ‘Krasi’ meaning wine and ‘méli’ meaning honey, gives you a good hint as to what makes this drink so delicious. The Greek recipe is usually simplistic, cloves, cinnamon and, of course, honey. Some people like to add star anise, ginger or orange juice. Whatever version you try, this is a drink that is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit!
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