Last Updated on March 22, 2023
Every year, locals celebrate healthy and flavorful foods at food festivals in Greece and the Mediterranean area. This list introduces some events which are specifically dedicated to Greek ingredients. This elements are popular in Mediterranean diets and offer diversity for many delicious meals.
Every year, on the day before Agios Donatos, the Lentil Festival is celebrated in the mountain village of Egklouvi. Visitors with a love of legumes and religious devoutness travel from all over the island to attend the celebration. This town produces the country’s best tasting lentils, so it is fitting for them to dedicate a whole festival just for these small legumes. Accompanied by folk dances and songs, guests can eat traditionally made lentils along with salted sardines and olives. All of it is prepared by local women. And, of course, there is always plenty of wine!
Greek Honey & Bee Products Festival
The star of this annual event is the famous Greek honey. The Greek Honey & Bee Products Festival takes place in the beginning of December. It lasts for three days where visitors can attend seminars about honey, tastings, children’s shows, cocktail-making, and bee-keeping demonstrations. Popular chefs also attend the event to fresh cook recipes and pastries to show the numerous meals anyone can make with honey. This gala aims to promote national honey and its byproducts as well as plans to share it with the world. Greece embraces beekeeping, bee environmental conservation, honey as a natural remedy, and of course, the liquid gold itself.
Located in Northwestern Greece, the town of Grevena is speckled with over 2,600 species of wild mushrooms. This statistic makes it an obvious choice to host the Panhellenic Mushroom Festival. The large area of green forests provides visitors of the event with several opportunities to go hiking—there is also a camping site. At the festival, visitors can participate in educational seminars and tours around the wooded areas. While learning about these fungi, participants can also sample and eat mushroom delicacies like mushroom pickles, mushroom liqueur, mushroom jams, mushroom nougat, mushroom pasta, etc.
Although France is famously known for eating snails, many families in Crete may have a snail meal weekly. A small village in Vlaheronitisa, Crete, holds a Snail Festival where travellers can munch on the small mollusks on the first Saturday of August. Snail snacks range from fried, sautéed in butter, served with artichoke and many more styles of cooking. This event is a party until the wee hours of the following morning; but with handfuls of free snails and the local drink, “raki,” why go home early?
Feta Cheese Festival
Producing about 30,000 tons per year, Elassona (Thessaly,) is best known for its feta cheese. The flavorful and creamy dairy is the star of Elassona’s Feta Cheese Festival, occurring every September. Thousands of tourists travel all around Greece to come to this popular festival. In addition to eating Greece’s iconic dairy product, the event also provides music and art from local bands and groups.
With the opportunity to eat free sardines, it’s hard to pass up the Sardine Festival, which occurs on the first weekend of every August. Skala Kalloni, a city on Lesvos Island, is known to cook some of the best tasting sardines in all of Europe! When visitors arrive at the celebration, there are free sardines and ouzo, a local drink. There are entertaining traditional dancers and music, as well.
Eggplant (Melitzazz) Festival
In Tsakonia, Leonidio, the Eggplant Festival is dedicated to none other than to this colorful vegetable, while jazz (melitzazz) is the prominent type of entertainment. Locals say sakonian eggplant is the sweetest kind in all of Greece and, as a result, people from all over the country travel to Leonidio to eat some every year. While you enjoy the sweet and succulent samples, get soaked up in the exciting cultural environment. You could try some eggplant recipes to get you inspired to attend the event!
In addition to local music and folk dancers, visitors to the village square of Komi (on Tinos Island,) can savor a variety of artichoke dishes at the annual Artichoke Festival. To celebrate the end of the harvest, local women divide up 10,000 artichokes. With them, they make an endless variety of artichoke dishes. In fact, tourists can choose between fried or stuffed artichoke, artichokes with vinegar, with mince, as an omelet, soufflé, and even artichoke au gratin, along with many more options!
The Aegina Fistiki Festival
Everyone is welcome to The Aegina Fistiki (Pistachio) Fest, occurring annually in mid-September, at the end of the harvesting season. This festival started in 2008 and continues to bring in crowds to its four-day celebration. Visitors can enjoy seminars, creative activities, concerts, and there are always workshops and other events for children to explore. But, of course, you can’t miss the main event—tasting the pistachios! Along with nibbling on the delicious and uniquely savory nut, make sure to try some of the amazing dishes and delicacies which use pistachios as their main ingredients.
Festivals are a must-see as you travel and explore Greece. Celebrations like these provide a great insight into the culture and cooking style of this nation. In addition, they will open your mind to the possibility of flavors in your own kitchen, (try making some mushroom jam on toast). And it’s difficult to attend one of these galas without some song and dance! So enjoy the tunes and activities while you wander around Greece and enjoy the delicious and iconic food.