I’m in the mom’s kitchen and I try to think of something to eat. Knowing that the traditional Corfu food is full of pasta, spices and vegetables I notice that the kitchen cupboards are full of all those things. As I am characterized by my indecisiveness and I am not down to hearing my parent’s complaining about anything I decide to write down my thoughts about the famous traditional corfiot cuisine.
Being a typical Corfiot family we enjoy food at its best, like every Corfiot has since the beginning of time and we always enjoy having a good company of people over for lunch or dinner. The citizens of Corfu are famous for being welcoming and generous when it comes to matters such as food and taking care of their guests. Also, Corfiots are the first who ever tried potatoes, legumes, cocoa and spices, thanks to the Venetians. During the Renaissance, Venice was the main merchant of spices in Europe, something that caused great influence on the corfiot cuisine and the culinary habits of the natives of Corfu.
Corfiot cuisine is mostly Mediterranean, with its main characteristics being olive oil, vegetables, pasta and spices. Everyday dishes are often accompanied by fresh greens that the housewives personally peak from their gardens or the mountains. Some of the foods that are based on vegetables are vastly cooked and served in corfiot cuisine are briam, mousakas (mousakas is a Greek food in general not just a Corfiot one), tsigareli, pumpkin pie, village salads (that also can be called Greek Salads).
Like most of the places in the world, Corfu as well has its own traditional corfiot cuisine. The first and most characteristic traditional food is called “tiganites tou Agiou” and it is a pancake like candy, shaped in little balls that is eaten with honey and cinnamon mostly and it is cooked on the 11th of December when the Patron Saint Of Corfu (Agios Spiridon, Saint Spiridon) is celebrated.
On Christmas day, tradition has it that avgolemono (a yellow soup made from eggs and accompanied with rice) is cooked in every household on the island. When there are festivities at the households the traditional dish pastitsada (pasta with spicy red sauce and rooster or beef) is cooked.
During Easter week, on the night of the Resurrection, chilichourda (the intestines of lamb with either red or white sauce) is that traditional food on every family’s table. On other occasions for religious festivities dishes such as bakaliaros skordalia (cod with mushed potatoes, olive oil and garlic), barbarela and koukloura (two types of pancakes), sperna (boiled wheat with cinnamon, black raisins, aniseed, almonds, coriander, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and sugarplums altogether covered in white sugar .
Another traditional dish of corfiot cuisine is savouro, which basically is the way fish is cooked and maintained in vinegar, salt, thick salt, olive oil, rosemary and caper. Savouro used to be the food of the poor citizens and of the fishmongers. At this point I should point out that the thick salt that was bought in big quantities from the salt pits , was used to maintain food and to dry vegetables under the sun (dried tomatoes and peppers).
During the summer the places where tourists could go and eat something from the traditional corfiot cuisine are places with strictly Corfiot cuisine, taverns, fast foods, fish taverns or Italian, Chinese and Mexican restaurants and pizzerias. Italian food is definitely the one Corfiots are most likely to have, since it is closer to the Corfiot tradition and they are more familiar with pasta. In the fish taverns you can have fresh fish straight from the sea, cooked in many ways, such as fried , on charcoal , bianco (with white sauce) or bourdeto (with red sauce).