April 29th, 2021 | Updated on June 25th, 2022
Traditional Italian food and traditional Greek food are both famous all over the world. From adaptable staples like a creamy bechamel sauce or crumbly feta cheese to classic dishes like parmigiana and moussaka, both countries boast a strong culinary reputation.
Every food lover should have a place for both cuisines in their heart. But if you’re stuck trying to decide whether to spend your next holiday in one of the luxurious villas in Puglia or on Corfu, you might want to consider which would offer the better gastronomical experience.
If you absolutely must choose between the two, read on to learn more about the two different cooking styles.
Italian Food vs Greek Food
Why Compare The Two?
The simple answer to this question is that it’s always interesting to set two great culinary cultures against each other.
To go into more detail, though, the two countries have a lot of similarities, and this can help make the differences stand out all the more.
Firstly, the countries have similar climates. Italy and Greece are only a few hundred miles apart at their closest point, and they are both on the Mediterranean Sea.
The warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters help them grow vegetables like tomatoes, olives and aubergines, which both cuisines make exquisite use of.
Secondly, Italy and Greece each offer a versatile range of foods. Each country boasts a lot of regional diversity in their cooking, combining salty seafood with spiced meats and world-famous cheeses and oils.
These similarities make it all the more interesting to set the two cuisines against each other.
The Best Italian Food
Traditional Italian food is often associated with hearty, filling pasta dishes and delicious pizzas. But even these well-known staples come with a huge variety of options for the gastronomically minded to explore.
Popular pasta sauces include:
This classic marinara sauce combines tomatoes and dried chilli peppers with lots of garlic and olive oil for a hearty, full, tangy flavour.
Hailing from the island of Sicily, this meat sauce builds a base of beef and onions up with white wine, estratto tomato paste and herbs like basil and oregano.
Seafood pasta sometimes goes overlooked, but when done right it can be among the best Italian food you’ll ever eat. Try this combination of clams, garlic, parsley and oil to see for yourself.
Pizzas have just as much diversity, with everything from rich calzones to the lighter Fiorentina ‘breakfast pizza’ that originated in the cosmopolitan cultural hub of Florence.
On top of this, traditional Italian cooking includes dishes ranging from stufato di agnello e piselli, a tasty lamb and pea stew, to the baked-pepper appetiser peperoni al forno and purcedduzzi, or honey-covered gnocchi.
The Best Greek Food
Greek food lovers take pride in the country’s reputation for simple mixtures of high-quality ingredients. Well-known favourites like pitta, hummus and tzatziki highlight this well, conjuring images of tantalising light lunches enjoyed with a glass of wine as the sun sparkles on the Aegean Sea.
The country is also well known for its cheeses, with examples like halloumi and feta favoured all around the world for their unique flavours and textures.
Beyond this, though, there’s a huge range of other dishes, with examples including:
A traditional Greek cheese pie.
Originating in Santorini, these delicious tomato fritters combine onion and courgette with parsley and mint for a subtle, aromatic flavour
Delicious, indulgent fried dough balls, served with honey syrup
The Greeks also have a long history of culinary expertise, and the country was likely the first place in the world to cultivate olives.
So, which is best? After covering some of the best examples of traditional Italian food and traditional Greek food, it’s almost impossible to pick one cuisine over the other.
In general, Italian food is heartier, while Greek food is lighter. But the sheer variety of each country’s offerings means you’ll never be struggling to find the right dish for you, whatever your preference.
In the end, isn’t it always better to indulge in both?