Why the food of the eastern Med is hot right now 

  • This year, eastern Mediterranean food is enjoying a spot in the limelight 
  • For the very best of it, head to the sunny shores of Greece, Cyprus or Turkey
  • Delicacies you can’t miss include feta-stuffed pastries and spicy skewers 

Plump tangy olives, crisp feta-stuffed pastry bites and sweet, gooey baklava – there’s a lot to be said for the food of the east Mediterranean.

And while you’ll find plenty of it on the menu at British restaurants this year thanks to its ever-growing appeal, nothing beats venturing abroad to enjoy the real thing under the hot Mediterranean sun.

Good thing, then, that it’s only a hop and a skip away to the shores of Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, where you’ll find time-honoured dishes served in the quaintest of hideaways, all with views that make them taste even MORE delicious.

Cuisine of the eastern Mediterranean is a sociable affair, so be sure to get stuck into some of its shareable, crowd-pleasing mezze platters this summer

Cuisine of the eastern Mediterranean is a sociable affair, so be sure to get stuck into some of its shareable, crowd-pleasing mezze platters this summer

As a foodie destination, Greece has long been held in high regard.  And to enjoy it at its very best, it’s worth giving the busy resorts a swerve and delving into the scenic back roads of this ancient country, where small, locally-owned eateries offer fabulous food at often pretty fabulous prices, too.

Manos, a tour operator with more than 50 years under its belt, is a specialist in curating these authentic Grecian getaways.

The Thomas Cook-owned agency provides accommodation in some of the nation’s most friendly and highly-rated boutique hotels.

On the chic Greek island of Mykonos, enjoy the freshest of seafood as you take in the lively and colourful surrounding fishing villages

On the chic Greek island of Mykonos, enjoy the freshest of seafood as you take in the lively and colourful surrounding fishing villages

Juicy prawns and zesty salads - as far as the world’s most popular cuisine goes, Greece has long been held in high regard

Juicy prawns and zesty salads – as far as the world’s most popular cuisine goes, Greece has long been held in high regard

Once you’re breaking bread – in this case, pitta – over a truly traditional Greek feast, you’ll appreciate how it earned its global appeal.

On the chic island of Mykonos, enjoy the freshest of seafood as you take in the lively and colourful surrounding fishing villages, then take a boat to the island of Delos to see the ‘birthplace of Apollo’.

As you’ll find here, Greek cuisine is a sociable affair – this is a country known for its lively meal gatherings – so be sure to get stuck into some of its shareable, crowd-pleasing mezze platters.

Opt for the island of Santorini, and you’ll marvel at its quiet elegance and breath-taking volcanic coastline. 

Penelope Cruz swears by the Mediterranean Diet

Cameron Diaz sings its praises too - a diet rich in fresh vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats

Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz both swear by the Mediterranean Diet, a diet rich in fresh vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats

History buffs will love the ancient Greek city of Kalamata - home to its namesake variety of olive, which only grows in this region

History buffs will love the ancient Greek city of Kalamata – home to its namesake variety of olive, which only grows in this region

The mineral-rich soil here is known for producing flavour-packed vegetables – think succulent vine-ripened tomatoes, white aubergines and the local favourite, mashed fava beans. 

History buffs will love Kalamata – home to its namesake variety of olive, which only grows in this region – as well as the city’s well-worn cobbled streets, museums and ancient ruins.

Enjoy Kalamata’s meaty mauve olives scattered over crunchy green salads, baked into homemade bread or in zesty tapenade dips  – all refreshingly light options for long hot summer days.

And the jewel in its crown when it comes to Greek cuisine? 

It’s not only fabulously delicious, it’s also seriously good for you. Which might explain why the Greeks tend to age so gracefully – and why the likes of Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz swear by the Mediterranean diet. 

In Cyprus you'll find an island melting-pot which boasts everything from Greek ruins and Turkish baths, to Arabian mosques and Venetian walls

In Cyprus you’ll find an island melting-pot which boasts everything from Greek ruins and Turkish baths, to Arabian mosques and Venetian walls

Delicacies here include salty grilled halloumi cheese, fruity relishes and spicy kebab skewers

Delicacies here include salty grilled halloumi cheese, fruity relishes and spicy kebab skewers

Looking for a destination a little further afield this year? Shuffle a few steps east and you’ll find the same delights with an exotic twist.

Next year, Manos will be stretching its reach to Cyprus and Turkey, where roaming foodies will be in for a serious treat.

In beautiful Cyprus there’s no shortage of white beaches and turquoise ocean retreats – not to mention awe-inspiring architecture. 

It’s an island melting-pot, which boasts everything from Greek ruins and Turkish baths to Arabian mosques and Venetian walls.

Thanks to its unique spot at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, Cyprus’ eclectic cuisine reflects this.

Another hop across the Mediterranean sea is Turkey, home to glorious temples, magical caves, stunning shorelines (pictured) and food that will blow your mind

Another hop across the Mediterranean sea is Turkey, home to glorious temples, magical caves, stunning shorelines (pictured) and food that will blow your mind

It's also well known for its baklava, bite-sized parcels of crisp pastry filled with ground nuts and honey

It’s also well known for its baklava, bite-sized parcels of crisp pastry filled with ground nuts and honey

You’ll find a lot of the Greek favourites here, including salty grilled halloumi cheese, rich stuffed vine leaves, locally-grown watermelon, spicy kebab skewers, and charcoal-roasted meats.

Cyprus is also one of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions.

Another hop across the Mediterranean sea is Turkey; home to soaring mountains, magical caves, stunning shorelines and food that will blow your mind.

In fact, so plentiful is its produce, it’s one of only seven countries in the world which can grow enough food to feed its own people entirely.

There are countless reasons to sample the culinary delights of the east Mediterranean, but make sure it's served up right at the source, by locals with a passion for their food

There are countless reasons to sample the culinary delights of the east Mediterranean, but make sure it’s served up right at the source, by locals with a passion for their food

Here you’ll gain an appreciation for specialties including spiced lamb, aromatic casseroles, ravioli-style dumplings and cooling yogurt dips and dressings. 

It’s also well known for its baklava: delicious bite-sized parcels of crisp pastry filled with ground nuts and honey.

And no trip to Turkey would be complete without a stop-in at a local coffee bar – it was the Turks who first introduced coffee beans to Europe in the 16th century. 

There are countless reasons to sample the culinary delights of the east Mediterranean this year. But make sure it’s served up right at the source, by locals with a passion for their food.

You wouldn’t trust an American Diner with your full-English breakfast, would you? 

Manos: Authentic holiday experts for over 50 years

Manos is part of the Thomas Cook Group and offers affordable holidays to the Greek Isladns, Cyprus and Turkey.

From self catering to bed and breakfast stays, the focus is on small, local-run hotels to suit your needs and budgets.

From summer 2018, all Manos bookings will be covered by Thomas Cook’s 24-Hour Hotel Satisfaction Promise

Click here to find out more.

 

 







Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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