Guest Post: Cuisine to Try in Corfu
Though the Ionian of Corfu has strong ties to its motherland, Greece, it also has a distinct personality of its own – and this is more than evident in the food the place has produced, which its people are justifiably proud of, as it is rich, local and fresh. It is also influenced by many factors, history and different peoples.
Historically, Corfu has endured more than its fair share of military conflict and invasion and the various castles that still stand there are testament to this. Two of these monuments still stand on either side of the capital, Corfu Town, making it an official ‘castle city’ – unique in all of Greece.
The island belonged to the Venetians for many centuries, who managed to successfully ward off the Ottomans, despite several attempts to take it, and their Mediterranean legacy is strong in much of Corfu’s culture – not least its food. Moussaka, tzatziki and feta cheese are all delicious staples, but what about the lesser-known foods? Read on to get a mouth-watering taste of what to look forward to if you’re thinking of taking your annual holidays to Corfu this year.
Officially known as ‘Corfiot cuisine’ Sorfrito is one of the dishes that’s a legacy of the Ventians, comprising sliced veal cooked slowly in vinegar and garlic, with parsley. Other dishes with a similar Mediterranean influence include a strong fish stew with peppery elements, known as Bourdeto, and also Bianco, another fish stew with a strong garlic seasoning.
Famously, lamb is the staple ingredient in Corfiot food, be it in Moussaka, added to stews, diced or sliced and cooked in lemon and garlic, skewered or grilled.
There are many picturesque fishing ports in Corfu and fresh seafood is a must while you are here. Be warned though – the fish here are cooked whole, served with head, eyes, fins, tail and all; this is certainly delicious, but not a pretty sight. Calamari and octopus are also popular staples and are often cooked in lemon and garlic.
Who doesn’t adore some strong, delicious Feta crumbled on their salad? Likewise, is there anyone alive who doesn’t drool at the very thought of grilled halloumi? However, something you should definitely make a beeline for is kefalotiri, which is little-known outside Corfu. It’s a more solid cheese and is arguably Corfu’s equivalent of parmesan.
Photo via Michael Gleave