Greek Vs. Italian Food: What Makes These Mediterranean Cultures Different?

Greek and Italian cuisines are so different, but they are equally delicious in their own way.

So what’s the difference between these two cultures and why do many people seem to have such a strong opinion on which one is better for them? To find out, let’s take a closer look at each cuisine. 

What is special about Greek food?

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My Greek Table: Authentic Flavors and Modern Home Cooking from My...
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Greek cuisine is one of the oldest living cuisines, with a history that dates back 2,500 years.

Greek food is a taste of the Mediterranean and offers more than just souvlaki.

From baklava to spanakopita, Greek cuisine has something for everyone.

Greek recipes are simple, but the flavors are complex and full of life.

It’s not just about the cooking techniques, it’s also about the ingredients.

Traditional Greek dishes use fresh vegetables and herbs like parsley, mint, dill, oregano, thyme, savory, and bay leaves that grow abundantly in Greece’s Mediterranean climate.

They also commonly add lemon, olive oil, and garlic to their dishes.

Greek food is reputable for its vegan-friendly feature although this country is not well-known for veganism.

We believe that Greek cuisine needs to be experienced.

The best way to get a taste of authentic Greek food is through your own kitchen.

What is special about Italian food?

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La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
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Italian food is widely considered to be one of the most delicious cuisines in the world.

It has a rich history and culture, which means that there are so many things about the food that make it special.

Indigenous prefer using fresh ingredients rather than processed or artificial foods.

Wine, cheese, and pasta are the most important parts of Italian meals, but they can create a variety of mouth-watering dishes from these staples instead of just some classic food that is famous worldwide.

Most Italian recipes call for olive oil instead of other kinds of cooking oils like vegetable oil or sesame oil, or fats like animal lard and butter.

Besides sweet and savory dishes, Italy is also famous for beverages, including Espresso, Prosecco, wine, and beer. 

What are the differences between Greek food and Italian food?

Before deciding which cuisine you prefer, it is essential to know how they differentiate from each other, which will be unraveled in this section.

There are also more vegetables in some of the traditional dishes in Greece than there are in Italy’s traditional dishes

You’ll enjoy a wide variety of vegetables when you eat Greek food, making their dishes more vegan-friendly.

It doesn’t mean that Italians don’t eat vegetables, but you are not likely to find traditional Italian dishes that are packed with so many vegetables.

Greeks usually eat with their hands while Italians use utensils

Besides the differences in the ingredients, Italians and Greeks have different ways of eating too.

Italians enjoy the company of utensils, while Greek people like to use their fingers with food.

Greek cuisine has fewer tomato-based sauces than Italian cuisine does

In traditional Greek cuisine, tomatoes are not used as frequently in recipes because of their lack of tomato source.

A tomato-based sauce is an exception to the norm because it was introduced by Italian immigrants who lived on a nearby island and wanted their recipe for pasta sauces with them.

Greeks use lamb in their dishes more often than Italians do

Lamb is an integral part of Greek cuisine, and it’s no surprise that they use this meaty ingredient more than Italians do.

Lamb has long been the meat of choice and it’s not uncommon to see entire roast lambs on platters, ready to be carved up into chunks or slices at dinner time.

What are the similarities between Greek food and Italian food?

Despite some key differences between Italian and American cuisines, the dishes from these two countries also share some similarities, as below:

They both use olive oil in their recipes

Greeks and Italians both prefer using olive oil to other kinds of fat like butter or vegetable oil.

Olive oil is packed with many potential health benefits, which means Greek and Italian dishes are relatively healthier and lighter than those with melted butter or cream.

Both make liberal use of garlic and onion in their recipes

Garlic and onion and two easy-to-find ingredients in both countries.

They help add flavor to their dishes, so you can see most Greek and Italian food include garlic and onion that don’t only bring flavor but also act as a powerful antibiotic.

Which one is better?

My Greek Table: Authentic Flavors and Modern Home Cooking from My...La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
My Greek Table: Authentic Flavors and Modern Home Cooking from My...La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
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The bottom line is that the dishes in both cuisines are tasty and there is no right or wrong answer to which one you should prefer.

If you’ve never tried Greek food before, it might be worth a try.

On the other hand, if your favorite Italian dish is pasta with tomato sauce then we all know what side of this debate you will end up on.

So now it’s time for us to leave this question open-ended so that everyone can make their own choice about which cuisine they like better without being pressured.

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