Corfu - Food, Greek Shops and Supermarkets
We often live with Greek people. They are VERY careful about what they eat.
It must be fresh. I have never seen canned food in a Greek house.
Some of the more traditional tavernas will let you watch them cooking,
not many English restaurants will let you do that. I like simple food
that tastes good. That's Greek food. They say that the sauce the meal
is cooked in is the most important part.
Supermarkets and Food
Supermarkets around Sidari are very small, really grocery shops, except for two
about a kilometre outside Sidari on the Corfu Town road at a large cross roads.
They are also a cheaper. They all sell a lot of the canned food, sausages, bacon
and meat we are used to as well as the more Greek style foods. Prices are much
higher now but non imported goods - like Ouzo, tomatoes, cucumbers and fruit,
Feta cheese etc are very reasonable. Some sell traditional style Greek cakes
and pastries which are very sweet and very nice.
Meat is above ours in price. At the risk of getting hung drawn and quatered I
think sometimes the butchering is not as good as it could be. You really
have to know where to buy and what to buy. £10 for a breast of lamb. He must
have seen me coming. The 'butcher' then proceeded to use a cleaver accross
the bones. It looked like.... never mind. I have been told that much of the lamb
now comes from New Zealand, especially for the fiesta's
Greek food is better for you than an average UK diet. It is simple and in
many ways like ours. The only difference is the high quality of the
fruit and vegetables and their use of olive oil instead of fat.
Many Greeks believe that tomatoes and potatoes are either Greek or come
from the Mediterranean area. They were quite shocked to find out where
they really came from. Greece was in fact one of the latter countries to grow
them. As about 90.0% of Greek cooking needs 'toms' or 'spuds' I wonder
what life before these was like.
Fruit and Vegetables
The tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, grapes, etc. are very good. The huge sweet
melons are out of this world and very cheap. Everything is very fresh and the
choice is something we rarely see.
Bread anywhere on Corfu was not like ours. 'Greek bread can be a little bit
sweet and may seem a little dry to our taste.' That was in the past. Now
there is more variety and just like ours, often better. It is fresh baked
and delivered daily, usually still warm.
Feta cheese is strong and slightly salty and you either love it or not. Most
love it. There is no comparison between home made feta and shop bought.
There are plenty or other cheeses, like Cheddar types, available but
generally in small packets. Dutch cheese and butter is common. Do not
forget to take some Feta home. It is a fraction of the price in the UK.
There is a butchers in Sidari about half way down where the road bends and
another near the turn off for Melitsa. The meat is very nice, especially the
mince and it is not over expensive. The lamb is very good. It IS lamb and
not a young sheep. Goat has a distinctive flavour and smell of it's own not
always appreciated by the English. Bit like an old wet wool carpet. I deny
I wrote that. Chicken seems very nice and definately free range.
Breast of lamb is considerd to be one of the best parts.
The Mediterranean has suffered from over fishing for quite some time and this
is reflected in the cost of the fish and lobsters etc. Compared to England
though it is still very good value. Some of the restaurants still price their
fish by the kilo uncooked, this tends to make it seem expensive when one
looks at the menu but of course you only buy the amount you want.
If you like squid then Corfu is the place for you. For those who have not tried
it I would recommend chewing a bicycle inner tube as a sort of dry run first.
I have also tried cuttle fish. It was different but not bad.
Ouzo is very cheap compared to other spirits which cost only a little less than
the UK. Metaxa is The Greek brandy. It ranges from 1* to 5* in quality. The 5*
is very drinkable and I have tried the 1* which was rather sharp.
The Greek Salad -
The Greeks eat a lot of salad, there is usually some form of salad with every
meal they eat. The traditional one of course is - The Greek Salad. Each taverna
does it a little differently but one thing will always be there - Feta cheese.
They make a nice mid-day snack with a lager when it's hot but sometimes
they are rather large. Usually you will get olives. Most English people are
not used to the rather dry taste but after a while they grow on you.
There are the island made Greek liqueurs at Kumquat
On the road to Corfu Town. A visit to this distillery is included in some coach
trips. Some of the liqueurs are very sweet and it might be best to go for the
more familiar ones like Cherry Brandy or try them first at the tasting bar.
Olive oil can be bought for a TENTH the cost in England,
so take some home. I took 2 x 5 litres home (a gift) wrapped and a stewardess
tried to ram one in an overhead locker despite my protests. It was in a plastic
container and didn't leak. I was OK, it was above the opposite row, but the
thought of all that oil bursting over her or sloshing up and down in those over
Note - Whilst on the subject of food there are certain sauces which many chiefs
use when preparing their food. One such sauce is used when frying or
barbecuing. It is based on Olive oil of course but also contains other
ingredients such as herbs. If you asked very nicely it might just be possible
to obtain a recipe. I have one which I'm not going to divulge on the Internet,
I like living. It makes the usual tasteless English sausage superb. Each chief
has his own recipe of course.
The English Breakfast -
The English Breakfast (Greek style) is probably the most cooked meal on Corfu.
It nominally consists of - fresh orange juice, an egg, 2 sausages, 2 rashers of
bacon, baked beans, tomato ( well I never ), toast, marmalade or jam and tea or
coffee. It will cost an average of about £2. There will be daily variations on
the contents depending on the whim of the 'chef' and what other English
Breakfasts are doing that day.
Greek bacon and sausages. They are no more. Now many tavernas serve bacon and
sausages that are sold as 'English'. They are near enough. Each year an 'English
Breakfast' gets nearer the real thing. Some do fried bread. When I see a piece
of black pudding I am going to emigrate.
Greek eggs. No problem. The Greeks do not feed chickens chicken, cows cow
or expect any other animal to be a cannibal as we do. Or did.
The Greeks don't mess about when they are eating. It is a bit like a medieval
banquet. The sauce is the most important part whatever your eating or cooking.
Slouvaki (Kebabs) is (are) liked very much. Slouvaki, chips, bread and Amstell
is probably their favourite snack and lamb their favourite meal.
One last point. If you fancy a good English meal there are plenty of places to
get one. Most good tavernas offer a wide range of 'English' meals. Boiled
potatos are not easy to find but apart from that steak pie, fish and chips,
mixed grill, etc. are no problem. Do try a few Greek meals though - PLEASE.
I cannot imagine any English person not liking stiffado.