Guest Author - Liz Stevenson
In Greece, mezedes are a major culinary focus. In America, we call them “appetizers”, and to the Greeks, they are a major focus of every day meals. Americans typically order an appetizer when dining out, then proceed to have a salad, a main course, and then maybe even dessert and coffee.
Greeks rarely eat breakfast, and in the summer months they have even been known to skip lunch. Mezedes can be eaten throughout the day and some dinners are made up solely of mezedes and Poton-(meaning wine and water). Dinner rarely starts before 10:30 pm in many Greek homes, and sometimes several mezedes are served. When this happens before dinner, the appetite may already be satisfied.
In Greece, dining is considered a social celebration, and it is rare to hear of someone eating alone. Most Greeks start by inviting many family, friends, and sometimes strangers. Story-telling, music, and even debates are accepted at their everyday dinners and the concept of conversation and togetherness is important.
Greek food is comprised mainly of fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, and fish, and one can’t help but wonder if the Greeks got things right with their Mediterranean diet. Millions of books and articles have focused on the Mediterranean diet, and although I do not support or endorse any particular “diet”, I really think the Greeks are onto something. Here is a super-easy enticing mezedes that is hearty enough to survive on its own. Try a few mezedes at your next meal, and no American way of adding an entrée, or extra processed foods will be needed.
Greek Honey, Fruit, and Cheese Plate
Ingredients (choose small or large quantities of all ingredients, depending on how many people are being served).
Fresh Grapes (I prefer red grapes to green).
Fresh Figs cut in quarters
Feta Cheese (make sure it is plain, not flavored such as tomato basil).
Phyllo triangles (baked according to instructions)
Wheat or Soda crackers
Drizzle honey all over large cheese plate or platter. Arrange Grapes, Figs, crackers, Phyllo triangles, and Halloumi Cheese in center of platter. Sprinkle Feta Cheese and blackberries all over. Add a few figs to center of platter, top with more honey and one blackberry in the center for presentation. (Or arrange the platter to your own liking).
You can make this platter for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and it is sure to be enjoyed. Gather the simple ingredients, get out your favorite platter, and start arranging. Besides the easy phyllo triangles, no cooking or baking is even required!