Corfu cuisine

 

The Corfiot cuisine is a representative of the traditional Greek cuisine. Corfu, as opposed to the rest of the Greek regions, was never under the Turkish occupation, however it was in command and under the venetian influence for 411 years, 11 months, 11 days. Thus, the cuisine of the town has kept venetian characteristics. It is also admirable that even after a long time not only the way of cooking but also the names of the meals stay the same.

Before leaving the Island, the English left to the corfiots mashed potatoes and ginger-beer (foamy refreshment with ginger). The corfiots were big eaters from the time of Homer, thus they first experienced potatoes, legumes, cocoa and spice.

Each feast has its own meal;

doughnuts on the eve of Saint Spiridon’s ( Agios Spiridonas )
feast, pound cakes on children’s births, agiada (aglio=garlic) on 14th of September,
”egg and lemon” soup on Christmas Day,
”rooster pastizzada” on the feast of Virgin Mary and
”snails bourdeto” on Pantokrator’s Day.

According to the products each region made, controlled its ”house economy”.

”Savoura” (a way of cooking and preservation of fish and vegetables in vinegar, salt, oil, rosemary and caper) was an important element of the nutrition of the poor urban areas.

Furthermore, the preservation of food was made with rough salt, produced in abundancy in salt-works (dried fish in salt layers) and with the standard way of drying in the sun (sun-dried tomatoes and peppers).

Today Corfu Island has developed into a summer resort, so the nutrition of its habitants follows the new way of life and the new approach for healthy and light cuisine.

New customs brought by tourists or imposed by the different way of life took the place of the old ones.

The restaurants, spaggheteries and fast-foods replaced the old taverns.

The ”frittolini” (small shops that selled fried fish and sea-food) are now replaced by smart restaurants in or out of the town.

There you can find every type of cuisine (mexican, chinese, french) with special emphasis on the italian which is mostly preferred the corfiots, for obvious reasons.

However, there are still picturesque taverns, almost hidden in the narrow streets. They still treat their clients with traditional flavours and snacks with good local wine.

Moreover, in seaside villages, the fish taverns where the owner is usually the fisher- have a variety of fresh fish and sea-food on coals or bourdeto or fried and accept their clients in a familiar and friendly atmosphere.

Thus, the age-old nutritional customs manage to keep their characteristics, while in the same time incorporate the new nutritional elements, so that pastizzada remains corfiots and tourists favourite meal.

However, the pastry-making not only does it have a great past but it also continues to thrive! Apart from the modern european sweets, they also produce christmas cakes called ”fogatssa” which have different form in Easter, since there is a red egg in the middle of them.

Last but not least, they are used to make pasta flora (a cake with marmelade) and the french ”mille feille”.

The jams from grapes, figs but mainly from quince, bergamot (sweet-smelling citrus-fruit) and ”fruit glace” with chestnut play a leading part and constitute a tradition for the corfiot housewives who vie for the best glittering view of their sweets, such as the sweet pumpkin pie, made from orange pumpkin, called ”spourda”.

The fig-pie is also popular, which used to be tasted as a sweet in the corfiot villages, made from dried figs, aniseed and ouzo.

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