Last Updated on August 22, 2023
The Ionian islands are a group comprising seven major islands and a number of smaller islets located on the western side of Greece and a favorite vacation spot for aristocrats.
The islands are well known for their crystal clear waters and beautiful sandy beaches, not to forget their unique local products and cuisine which is no less famous than its azure bays and lively resorts.
No trip around the Ionian islands is deemed complete without tasting some of these unique local dishes which combine the best of Greek, Italian and Venetian traditions. So when you book your Ionian villa holidays, be sure to indulge in these Greek delicacies.
A local staple on the island of Zakynthos is a dish made from potatoes, eggplant, carrots and tomatoes. After adding a generous amount of olive oil, all the ingredients are placed in a saucepan.
Skordostoumbi is then seasoned with garlic, vinegar and paprika and mostly served in the taverns of Zakynthos topped with local feta cheese. This Greek recipe is a good example of great Mediterranean diet cookery.
Their characteristic sweet and sour flavor, imparted by the vinegar, has made this plant-based dish the most delicious of all vegetarian foods in the whole of Greece.
Another great recipe hailing from the island of Zakynthos is the traditional Greek dessert by the name of Fritoura. It is prepared by mixing fine semolina flour with water and heating till it becomes thick and creamy.
The mix is then poured in a tray and allowed to set. Once done, it is cut into small rectangular pieces and deep fried till the color turns golden. Each piece is then coated with cinnamon sugar and served during various festivities on the island.
Yet another delicious offering from the island of Zakynthos is Frigania, a creamy three layer dessert prepared with rusks that are first doused in sugar syrup and spiced with cinnamon lemon zest.
Vanilla cream is applied on the base and the recipe is topped up with a layer of whipped cream. The dish is then chilled and garnished with almond, ground walnuts or cinnamon before serving.
The essential ingredient of this rustic dish is fish.and hails from the island of Corfu and has been modelled on a similar Venetian dish by the name of brodetto. The recipe uses scorpion fish (though various varieties can be used) and a rich tomato sauce, enriched with paprika and onions.
The dish is typically finished off with a splash of lemon juice and is always served when prepared fresh.Bourdeto is usually served with potatoes and slices of country bread on the side. The recipe is said to have descended from Venetian times.
Greek Sofrito is a hearty and delicious beef dish which is originally from the island of Corfu. The beef is seasoned with salt, pepper and vinegar sauce to make it tender and then cooked in garlic to produce a tasty beef stew that literally melts in the mouth.
The term Sofrito stems from the Italian language meaning saute and the dish has been believed to be inspired by the Venetians who ruled the island for centuries. Greek Sofrito is a staple household dish, not only in the Ionian islands but the entire country. The dish is typically served with rice, mashed potatoes and crusty bread.
Another gastronomic delight from the island of Corfu is Pastitsada, also referred to as Greek Corfu chicken and is a classic dinner time offering on the island. The tomato based stew is usually prepared by using chicken and sometimes beef as well. The aromatic preparation is topped with pastitsio noodles or over your favorite pasta.
Cinnamon, which is traditionally used in Greek food, pairs well with the tomatoes in this recipe. Some bay leaves and cloves are added for extra flavour. The stew can be stored in an air-tight container and will keep fresh in the refrigerator for six days.
This age-old recipe has its roots in the island of Kefalonia and involves cooking over charcoal in a traditional clay vessel known as tserepa. The chicken used for this dish is typically marinated overnight in a mix of garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil.
The prepared dish is then baked for 45 minutes at 150°C to ensure that the meat comes out soft and tasty. Potatoes are added and cooked for another 45 minutes till the potatoes are ready. Serve with tomato sauce,wine,and lemon juice.
Hailing from Corfu island, Tsagareli is another traditional Greek dish that employs greens as ingredients as per availability. You can use spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard or even dandelion as per personal choice. After the greens are sauteed with garlic, tomatoes and crushed red pepper till tender and then coated with spicy sauce.
Tsagareli is usually garnished with olive oil and can be enjoyed as a side dish or a small snack after pairing it with country style bread by the side.
The main ingredients of Mandolato are honey, sugar and almonds which form a ubiquitous soft nougat and is mainly associated with the Ionian islands of Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Corfu. That said, this sweet treat is readily available all over the country.
Since the islands were under Venetian rule for ages, it is believed that the recipe has stemmed from Italian cuisine. These days this Greek nougat is prepared in many varieties and flavoured using different ingredients that are often placed between two thin wafers.
Traditionally associated with the Ionian island of Lefkada, this Greek delicacy is made from small pieces of veal liver which are wrapped in lamb suet and skewered and grilled over charcoal. Frygadeli is typically enjoyed as an appetizer when sprinkled with lemon juice and served with country style bread on the side.
This famous meat pie has its roots on the island of Kefalonia and is made from local lamb and veal. Several layers of filo pastry are used to seal the delicious meat and vegetable filling.
To add more flavour to this delightful dish, several spices like nutmeg and bay leaf are added.The mix is then topped with local red wine to enrich the taste.
Said to have originated in the Ionian islands more than 6000 years ago as the first ever energy bar in the whole world.Pasteli is traditionally made from honey and sesame seeds or raw almonds.
This treat is not found in any restaurant but can be bought in grocery stores and bakeries. An ideal snack to carry to the beach or on a picnic to any of the Ionian islands.