Combining some of the clearest blue waters, lush vegetation and vibrant culture, the Ionian island of Zante is a marvel to behold in its entirety. Zante is host to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and due to its rich history and culture its cuisine is no less spectacular. The local dishes combine Greek heritage with Venetian and French influences and this is no mean feat as this makes for a succulent combination of flavours. If you like to explore new tastes, give the local cuisine a try on your next holidays to Zante and savour the island’s culinary spirit.
One of the iconic Zante dishes, stuffed rabbit is a feast for the senses. For this traditional dish, locally sourced rabbit is marinated in white wine and vinegar and then stuffed with a mixture of rice, mushrooms, onion and the local favourite ladotiri (spicy sheep’s milk cheese matured in olive oil). The mixture is spiced up with thyme, cinnamon and black pepper and the whole package is then covered in a honey mustard and yogurt sauce before being grilled in the oven. Talk about delicious!
A widely known dish throughout Greece with a unique twist, Stifado is part of why you should indulge in the local cuisine. This delicious dish is made out of beef stewed in a rich tomato sauce and the main culprit for its exquisite taste is the favourite of the people of Zante- Garlic! Bay leaves, rosemary and black pepper bring more taste and olive oil binds the flavours together. The final additional ingredient that you will definitely come along during your holidays in Zante as an ingredient of other dishes or served separately, is the spicy ladotiri cheese which is mixed in at the end, making this dish a taste of heaven.
Melitzana (aubergines) Skordostoumpi
This traditional meze (appetizer) is not for the faint of heart as it is strong in garlic and packed with flavour. This delicious stew is made out of fried aubergines which are then baked in the oven in a casserole with the addition of a tomato sauce and plenty of chopped garlic. Served as a side dish widely throughout the island, this is a traditional taste to take with you during your holidays in Zante.
Zante’s cuisine is largely based on meat and vegetables. However, in case you are a vegetarian or you just want to take a break from all the meaty dishes served on the island, the traditional boutridia is a dish you have to go for! This tasty and healthy stew dish is made with chard, green beans, okra and potatoes in a flavourful tomato sauce. The guest star in taste once again is garlic and black pepper, giving this dish its characteristic flavour, typical of a holiday to Zante.
Lastly, in order to help digesting all those wonderful dishes or in case that you just want a sweet delight to chew on, mandolato is what you have to try. A form of nougat, mandolato was brought over to the island during its Venetian occupation and graces locals and foreigners with its sweet, chewy texture. Traditionally served as a treat, mandolato is abundant in shops throughout the island so if you like it make sure you buy some to bring back home after your holidays to Zante.