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Jun 4, 2008 09:03 PM

Specialty Food to bring back from Greece?

I am going to Greece later this summer and I wanted to see if anyone had recs on things/food items/specialties to bring back. I will be in Athens, Naxos, and Santorini.

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  1. Hi Smiles
    I live on the island of Crete, and have lived in Greece for the past 17 years (from Oz).
    I see you live in USA, so food in really a no-no to take back. Otherwise I would recommend: olives, capers, origano. Anyway the brass pepper mills, coffee brikies (little brass pots for Greek coffee), olive wood honey spoons, terracota wall plaqes. You will find lots of lovely things in the tourist shops here.
    Have a lovely experience of Greece.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rethymnolife

      I travel to Europe from the USA often. The only food we have ever had taken away from anyone is our group is meat. Mostly if it is vacuum packed its fine. Nothing fresh.

    2. Even though I was in Greece many, many years ago, I remember the honey was heaven...on that wonderfully thick yogurt...died and gone to heaven

      7 Replies
      1. re: sarabeth721


        I am a Greek-American and love all things Greek. I couldn't help but respond to this question. I agree with all of the above comments except that I have had no problems with bringing back food to the US. Just make sure it's not fruit.

        You could also bring back Greek mountain tea ("tsai tou vounou"), fresh oregano, loukoumi (Turkish delight), and there are also great crackers and cookies by Papadopoulos which you can buy at any convenience store or peripstero (kiosk that sells newspapers, cigarettes, etc...).

        1. re: GirlFriday

          Thank you for your response. When I am there do you have any recs for cheese? Greek wine specialties?

          1. re: Smiles2008

            I believe that there is a problem bringing back liquids to the US. You will have to pack them well in your suitcase and take your chances. If however you wish to attempt and bring them back, there are many good wines in Greece. My favourites are Hatzimichalis and Lazaridi (from the larger well known estates). The best success has been when the local varieties are mixed with the French classics (Cab. Sauvignon, Merlot etc), because the Greek varieties tend to be a little rough on their own. The northern end of the country - Macedonia has great wines, and the wines from Nemea have just started to make some headway. The whites of Santoniri are well known also. You can check Wine Spectator and Decanter for more insights.

            1. re: peter2

              There is also Robolla wine from Kefalonia which is also good. Dry with a bite. For a sweet dessert wine, I would suggest Mavrodafni. It is so delectable that the Greek Orthodox Church uses it for Communion. Mount Athos as well as other wineries make this. Peter2's wine recommendations are all excellent.

              As for cheese, I would suggest mizithra (both the hard and soft varieties) as well as kaseri and kefalograviera (heartier and saltier) which pair well with the white wines mentioned in this forum.

              Feta is a basic staple you will find everywhere, so you don't need to look for it and you can find it in abundance globally. French and Bulgarian feta are actually more tasty to me.

              As we say in Greek, Kali Orexi! Bon appetit!

              1. re: GirlFriday

                Sorry to butt in but I have a few clarifications to add:
                1. The wine used for Communion is actually the Samos Muscat wine
                2. You are entitled to your opinion but Greek feta blows other varieties out of the water. Notice I say varieties because they are imitations and cannot be called feta. Not my opinion but a decision passed down from the EU. In 2005, after sixteen years of hot debate, the European Union’s highest court decreed that “feta” is protected as a traditional Greek product, and that none of the other EU member nations can use the name.

                1. re: hungryann

                  I don't know that this decree had any effect on how "feta" is sold in the EU, as one can pretty much buy it under that name from a number of countries -- and it's 2008.

                  What I do know is that I also prefer the Bulgarian 'variety'.

          2. re: GirlFriday

            Ooooooh! Papadopoulos cookies!! You just brought back memories from summers on the beaches of Kerkyra, Santorini, and the Peloponnes. I *loved* those.

            My mother is crazy about avgotaraho, the dried (and smoked?) roe from Greece which is basically impossible to find in Germany and, I am guessing, in the US. It's sliced very thinly, has a waxy texture, and is probably an acquired taste. If you like anchovis and other fishy flavors, this might be for you. Given that it is dried, you should also be able to transport it.

            Kaló taxidi! :-D

        2. When I was there I brought back wine. This was about 8 years ago, but at the time, the white wines were very good and well priced. I recall a nice one from Santorini. Don't remember the varietals, maybe someone with more recent experience can pipe in . . .

          1. Fantastic honey (fantastic), capers (the best I've ever eaten), olives especially. Didn't bother bringing home olive oil because it would have been ridiculously heavy to carry. Instead, I bought an absurdly huge handmade pottery casserole and shlepped it home as a carry-on. I bought it on Sifnos, but they're also typical of Naxos - once you get out of the main town. Now that I remember it, I also picked up some liqueur from the distillery on Naxos - kitron, it's called. Made from a local variety of fruit and is available in various degrees of sweetness.

            In Naxos hora, there is a small shop on main commercial street (going up from the waterfront) where they sell a lot of these local specialties. That's where I got the honey and capers. Absolutely no problem bringing this stuff home - I even mentioned it at customs and no one cared. The handmade soaps are lovely also.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Nyleve

              Ah yes...the capers! We had to leave a whole jar behind. We had to make the tough decision: jar of capers or pottery?

              1. re: GirlFriday

                Jars of capers go IN the pottery.

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