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Mezze, the symbol of Greek conviviality

Mezze, deciphering a Mediterranean must-try

They come in many different versions and are full of flavors: Mezze are one of the must-haves of Greek cuisine. But where do Mezze come from? What gives them this particular identity? Let's find out together.


What are Mezze?

The Mezze, these small plates full of flavors

kalamata_mezze

The term "Mezze" refers to a set of dishes, served in small plates, which can be eaten either at the beginning of a meal or as a whole meal. Depending on the occasion, their number can vary from a dozen to a hundred.


The origin of mezze is rather unclear: mezze can be found in most countries of the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula. There are versions in Cypriot, Bulgarian, Armenian, Lebanese, Turkish, Kurdish, Syrian and even Iranian cuisine.


What are the different types of Mezze?

Depending on the region and the table, there are different types of Mezze. As a rule, many of the dishes served in mezze are made from preserves, marinades or legumes, so that they can be eaten all year round.


In Greece, the most famous mezze dishes are tabbouleh, tzatziki, gyros, and Sagnaki, a roasted sheep's cheese. Seafood dishes such as grilled octopus also have their place, as well as vegetables, with the famous Greek salad, but also grilled eggplant. All these dishes can be found on the Kalamata menu.


Mezze : more than a meal, a tradition

The traditions around Mezze

In fact, there is no real method for eating Mezze: it is often said that all you need is a plate and a little appetite. Often, you don't even need cutlery, as these dishes are eaten with your hands. You can also use pita bread to dip into the dishes or to catch meats.


Mezze are often served with ouzo, a typical Greek wine, or arak, an aniseed drink diluted with water and ice. Mezze that go well with ouzo are called ouzomezédhes.


The social and informal dimension of Mezze

kalamata_mezze_sagnaki

As far as we know, Mezze did not originate in any one place: they have been eaten in the East and in the Mediterranean basin for centuries. In these regions, these dishes were a way to socialize freely over a meal, without having to worry about portions or preparing individual plates.


One simply takes what one wants and puts it on one's plate, and does not hesitate to refill. This way, you can arrive and leave whenever you want, without fear of missing a dish. It also lends itself to impromptu gatherings, making this food also very spontaneous.


Mezze therefore have a deeply informal and social character.


In Greece, Mezze is often served in restaurants as a welcome and to keep customers waiting. Be careful, however, not to confuse them with Spanish tapas, which are served exclusively as appetizers.


Mezze are more similar to the Scandinavian Smörgåsbord, in that the entire dish is made up of small plates.



Want to savor these little nuggets and spend a moment full of greed and conviviality? It's time to book a table at Kalamata, and to subscribe to our instagram for more gourmet content.


καλή όρεξη,


Joséphine


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