When travelling through Greece, there’s a style of dining that you can’t miss, meze (meh-zeh). It’s the communal meal experience enjoyed with friends and family, where everyone sits around the table, laughing, debating, drinking and indulging in tasty morsels of food. It’s not hard to spend several hours, munching away as plate after plate is plonked on the table, with ouzo flowing as freely as the lively conversation.
The word meze translates to mean ‘bite or taste’. It’s the perfect way to describe the savoury snacks served up on any meze table. They’re typically made up of a selection of the usual hot and cold finger foods of the Mediterranean, like olives, fetta, seasoned tomato wedges, saganaki cheese, hummus, taramosalata, bread, tzatziki and dolmatha. But there are also local delicacies specific to every island that will pop up on the menu. Grilled octopus, sardines and fried baitfish are always popular, as is calamari. Served alongside any meze table is a suitable beverage, typically raki, ouzo, tsipouro or wine.
The most important thing about this style of dining is that it’s meant to be social. Everyone sits around the table, passing plates around and pouring drinks for one another. As new food comes out, everything is shuffled around to make room for it. It’s a great way of bringing people together and creating social bonds between neighbours, relatives and friends.