Greek mountain tea is also known as Sideritis, literally meaning someone who is made of steel. It is a flower plant and was traditionally used in herbal medicine. Nowadays, it is widely used in the winter as herbal tea.
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Greek coffee (ελληνικός καφές) is prepared in a special coffee pot briki (pronounce as bree-kee) preferably on hovoli (heated sand). As it is very difficult to have hovoli in our kitchens, you can heat Greek coffee on a gas stove or on a single camping gas burner. Greek coffee is served hot, single in a Greek coffee cup /espresso cup or double in normal size cups. Steps to prepare a single Greek coffee (for double simply double the amounts):
- Fill a coffee cup with tap water and pour into your briki. Make sure your briki is big enough if you make double Greek coffee
- Add 1 teaspoon of Greek coffee (powder). If you prefer strong coffee add 1/2 or 1 more teaspoon.
- Add 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar or more if you like your coffee sweet. Stevia, or brown sugar can used instead.
- Place the briki on the gas, on low heat.
- Let the coffee heat up on low heat. Never leave the coffee heating up unattended.
- The surface of the coffee will start foaming. Lift the briki up to settle the foam and put it on low heat again and watch the coffee foaming up again.
- Once the foam covers the surface of the coffee, remove the briki from the heat.
- Serve it in your coffee cup on a saucer.
- By tradition Greek coffee is served with spoon sweets.
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Mastic liqueur, named Mastiha (λικέρ μαστίχα) is a unique liqueur made of the resin of the mastic trees of Chios island. Mastiha liqueur is traditionally served chilled as a digestive drink, after each meal. Another excellent way to enjoy it, is to pour it in a tall glass with crushed ice or as an ingredient in Greek-style cocktails.
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The Mavrodaphne wine tastes just like the Portuguese port. The hot Greek summer sun loads the grapes with sugars thus producing a really sweet wine. It is produced in the Achaea region, Northern Peloponnese.
Other food pairings of this wine are platters with fruits, mature yellow cheeses, puddings and fruit tarts.
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Tsipouro is produced in many areas in Greece with different names such as tsikoudia or raki in Crete. In certain regions aromatic seeds of anise are added in the still for flavored taste, completely different to the pure and plain one. If you haven’t tried tsipouro before, try both of them to see which one you prefer most.