It is a fact that on this island to
present a table laid with food is a major concern; the right food
for the right season. Sofritto on Sundays, pastitsada at celebrations,
bianco and horta (boiled greens) for everyday meals, and always
home-made wine. In winter there is bourdetto or beans and renga
(kippered herrings), salt cod and skordalia (garlic sauce) on March
25th (to celebrate both the Annunciation and Independence Day).
Egg and lemon soup is on the table at Easter . In spring there's
a dish of artichokes and broad beans , during summer tomato salad
and fish, and whatever wine is left.
Corfiot cuisine is typically Mediterranean. While it makes use
of the usual ingredients, like oil, pepper, pulses, pasta and vegetables,
the cuisine differs from that of the rest of Greece because of climatological
conditions and certain customs of the Venetians. Certainly you will
find moussaka and village salad, but it is worth searching for the
authentic traditional cuisine of Corfu, the history of which began
Due to lack of game in Corfu, the people lived on the products
of the soil and the sea. The soil gave them olives for oil, pulses,
vegetables and greens, and from the sea came fish and shellfish
in abundance. They tended to cook in casseroles rather than by frying
or roasting. Of course, casserole cooking is popular all over Greece,
but in Corfu, particularly in the countryside, it is habitual. From
the beginning, the island's peasants always lived in poverty and
misery, a situation which intensified during the centuries under
Venetian rule, due to the imposition of a policy of monoculture
of olives at the expense of other crops. The peasants made their
own bread, oil and wine, they picked wild and cultivated greens
from the fields and caught fish; then they cooked everything together
and ate it with lots of broth in which to dip their bread.
.. Today, you will find briam and other Turkish-style dishes,
which were introduced by Greeks who fled to Corfu from the Turkish-occupied
mainland. From the Venetians came many dishes with pasta and meat
of various kinds. You will also find delicious fresh fish, because
the Corfiots (especially taverna-owners) continue to fish and cook
their catch in many different ways.
Horta (wild greens): a very typical everyday peasant meal,
which in Lefkimmi the housewives would boil and serve in a deep
bowl, with all the broth, adding lots of lemon juice, fresh olive
oil and wine. According to tradition, the farmer would drink this
soup and then add more oil and lemon to enjoy the greens, while
drinking another two or three 'cups' of wine, this time out of a
Bianco (from the Italian for white): consists of fish (usually
whiting, Scorpion fish or grey mullet) cooked in a casserole with
lemon juice, garlic, and of course, black pepper. It is one of the
island's most typical dishes
Bourdetto is made with a firm-fleshed fish, usually Scorpion
fish, cooked in a sauce containing plenty of red pepper. It can
also be made with salt cod, which - even if the Corfiots don't catch
it themselves - is much enjoyed.
Stakofisi: is what the rich used to make their bourdetto
with. The word derives from the English 'stockfish', a dried fish
which is only edible after a week's soaking in continuously renewed
Savoro: or savouri, is fried fish in a sauce of rosemary,
vinegar, garlic and raisins. It is usually eaten on March 25th or
on Palm Sunday.
Pitta: is usually made with small fish such as sardines
or anchovies, cooked in the oven with a sauce of oil, tomato, spring
onions, garlic, red pepper and a little flour.
Pastitsada: the real, home-made village version is made with
cockerel cooked in a casserole with fresh tomatoes, onion, cinnamon
and lots of paprika, served with thick pasta. In many restaurants
you will find it made with beef instead. This does not represent
a degeneration of the recipe, since it derives from the Venetian
spezzatino, a dish made with beef rather than cockerel and served
with potatoes instead of pasta. Pastitsada is the favourite of the
locals for special occasions and holidays.
Easter Lamb: is roasted on the spit as elsewhere in Greece,
with the difference that in Corfu it is generally eaten on Easter
Avgolemono: a soup of broth, egg and lemon, which in Corfu
is made with beef and the addition of lamb, and is the traditional
dish of Easter Sunday.
Avgolemono 2: another version made with beef and turkey
wings and neck added for extra flavour . This is cooked on Christmas
Soffrito: consists of beef stewed in a white sauce with white
pepper and garlic, and goes well with mashed potatoes or pasta.
It is a dish of Franko-Venetian origin
Tsigarelli: a dish of wild greens sautéed with garlic
and hot paprika.
Tsilihourda: (which the rest of Greece calls mayeritsa)
is the traditional soup which is cooked on the evening of Easter
Saturday to be eaten after the Resurrection ceremony.