These dishes with local variations can be found everywhere in Greece and of course in the Ionian region. However the Ionian has a special place in the history of Greek cuisine and for good reason. Given its history of occupations -
There is also a range of sweets that are relatively unique to the Ionian region: Spoon sweets, Koum kouat preserves (a citrus fruit predominantly grown in Corfu), Loukoumi (Turkish delight), Mandoles (roasted almonds with caramel), Mandolato (nougat), Pastelli (sesame, honey and almonds) and Rizogalo (rice pudding),
In addition to the above each island in the Ionian has other fascinating culinary traditions. Corfu for example produces ginger beer -
Epirus on the Greek mainland has been less exposed to Italian influences and has interesting culinary delights of its own. Rich in mountains and rivers, it is very much a dairy producing region and produces excellent yogurts and cheese including the famous Metsovone -
Last but not least, the Ionian and Epirus have a remarkably varied tradition of wine making ranging from the home made wine found in many tavernas to estate quality wines from major regional producers. In Corfu look out for Theotoky wines and Grammenos Family wines. Kefalonia is famous for its Robola wines; look out for the Robola Cooperative wines, Gentilini wines, Metaxas wines, Si Roke wines, Foivos wines and in Eprirus look out for the Zitsa wines and Katogi wines.
Greek cuisine in its various forms has a history dating back 4000 years. In fact the first cookbook in history was written in 320 BC by Archestratos the Greek poet from Syracuse who wrote about fish, appetisers and wine in his search for the best food in the Mediterranean. A kind of early good food guide!
The diet of the ancient Greeks was pretty close to the famous Mediterranean Diet of modern times -
Loukoumades (fried doughnuts, Galaktoboureko (phyllo pastry filled with vanilla cream), Yoghurt & honey, Spoon sweets (made from different fruit and vegetables soaked in honey or syrup), Kolobina (a sweet bread made for Easter with dyed red egg in centre), Tsoureki (a kind of sweet bread), Christopsomo, (a kind of tsoureki eaten at Christmas), Diples (fried phyllo pastry with nuts and syrup), Mosaiko (biscuits with chocolate cream left to set in freezer), Fontan (small balls of chocolate, nuts or coconut), Ypovrichio (submarine) (a thick sweet paste made of mastic resin, served on a table spoon dropped into a glass of water) and Amigdalota (macaroons), Kourabiedes (a kind of shortbread biscuit made with almonds eaten over the Christmas period), Melomakarona (sweetmeats made with semolina and walnuts with syrup eaten over the Christmas), Halva (semolina), Ravani (semolina cake with cinnamon scented syrup) and Vasilopita (a New Year cake with a coin in it to bring good luck in the year for the finder).
Corfu & Ionian