Greek cuisine is, by far, one of the most inviting and healthy off all cuisines in the world. Its virtues have been often underlined, its ingredients exalted and its flavors have long been appreciated. Yet, of all the regional cuisines in Greece, the one pertaining to the island of Corfu features, some say, the most prominent personality. This particularity has come out from the rich historic circumstances which have left their mark not only on the cultural and architectural heritage of the island, but also on its culinary profile. Dainty feeders should be able to tell the Venetian influences or the English impact on certain local specialties, as well as the French origins of other delights. However, regardless of its power to absorb and to combine so many influences, the underlying ingredients of Corfu cuisine will always refer to olives and olive oil, vegetables – of which tomatoes are ever present – lemons, fish, lamb, honey and a large range of nuts. Herbs, of which oregano is the most noteworthy, together with basil, mint, dill and parsley, are never overlooked as far as seasoning in concerned, and the penchant for the extensive use of garlic can not be missed by any neophyte, as profane as they might be in terms of cuisine.
The main fish dishes pegging out the rich culinary offer of Corfu refer to Bourdeto (spicy fish stew replete with paprika) and to Bianco (white fish stew heavily seasoned with garlic). In terms of meats, Sofrito stands out as an inviting specialty made of slices of veal cooked in vinegar and generously seasoned with garlic and parsley, but it is closely followed by the so called Pastitsada, a hearty meat and pasta dish dipped in red sauce, pasta being, for that matter, another favorite contributor to the gastronomic identity of Corfu. The variety of meats is fairly large, including pork and chicken, but the main type of meat refers to lamb, of which plenty of specialties are made ranging from Moussaka to skewer. Turkey is yet another favorite meat, the island of Corfu owing a lot to the French for the presence of this meat in its culinary offer. Sea food also stands out as a favorite ingredient for plenty of local specialties, octopus seasoned with paprika being noteworthy. Olive bread and Corfu omelet are just as much worth sampling and, as far as desserts go, baklava makes its way through as a disarming combination of nuts and pastry drowned in the most tempting bath of honey. But on their way to sweets, tourists should not disregard the important contribution of cheese to the local cuisine. The importance of feta cheese is substantiated by its power to make locals season a lot of dishes and salads with this cheese specialty, and even grill it. Finally, in terms of washing down the meals or the snacks, Retsina, a white wine flavored with pine resin, and ouzo, which is a stronger spirit recommended to be served with plenty of olives, are the main presences to be highlighted, though the range of wines is much more comprehensive and it nowadays undergoes an incredible promising development.