After eating at various different Greek restaurants, it was time to try and make some traditional Greek foods on our own. We made three traditional Greek foods: Dolmades, spinach pie, and Greek donuts. All three of the recipes came from a Greek woman named Soula, who has been cooking for many years, and she knew the perfect way to make everything. We started with the spinach pie; we first had to make the dough, which was a time consuming process. Spinach pies are very flaky, and to make it flaky, you have to roll the dough out very thin, almost as thin as a piece of paper. When Soula was rolling out the dough, it seemed so easy, she was very quick and precise. As we all started to try and roll the dough out ourselves, it didn’t seem so easy anymore. It takes years of practice to make it perfect. We laid five sheets of the dough in a pan, then put a cheese and spinach filling on top, followed by five more sheets of dough, and of course covered it with olive oil, a staple of the Greek diet. This took about 30 minutes to bake. Next we made the dolmades, which is a rice mixture, covered in grape leaves. I had tried this traditional Greek food at many different restaurants, so I was excited to see how this one turned out. The rice filling was made of lemon juice, dill, rice, and mint. The rice was left uncooked, because it cooks inside of the grape leaves all at once. Soula showed us how to wrap each grape leaf, so that each piece looked the same. Once everyone got the hang of it, it wasn’t too hard; this process was definitely easier than rolling out the dough. Once all of the rice was wrapped in grape leaves, we boiled them in water for about twenty five minutes. Lastly, we made Greek donuts. The dough was relatively easy to make, consisting of basic ingredients like flower, sugar, water, and corn oil. Once the dough was made, Soula balled the dough and deep fried it in boiling corn oil. After about two minutes, she took them out and we topped them with honey and cinnamon sugar. Overall, the Greek donuts were definitely my favorite, however all of it was delicious. Considering we had tried all of these foods at restaurants we went to, it was very interesting to see how intricate the processes were to make these foods. I also enjoyed learning how to make these foods because I can bring these techniques back home and show them to my family, so they can have a little taste of Greek culture too.
Next was our excursion to Chalkidiki to see the beautiful beaches. In Santorini, we were not able to see any sand beaches, so I was excited to see the beautiful clear water that everyone had told me about before I came. This beach was about an hour away from the city of Thessaloniki. The beach was beautiful, I could see all the way to the bottom, even when my feet couldn’t touch the sand; the water was so clear. It was also neat to see the tourism service that we had learned so much about in our lectures in action. They had very comfortable lounging chairs out on the sand, and all you had to do was order a coffee or a snack, and they would let you sit in them all day. The food in Greece is a lot cheaper than it is in America; I got a sandwich and chips for only three Euros. This was the town Mrs. Antonoudi grew up on, so she got to tell us a lot about the area. She was telling us that the kids would count two things during the summer: how many times they got to swim in the ocean, and how many ice creams they got to eat. There were also a lot of local Greek people there, so it was neat to be in a place that wasn’t overpopulated by tourists. After a nice day at the beach, we got to eat dinner at a local restaurant with delicious food. The experience of eating at a Greek restaurant is something everybody should experience. First, the table is covered with appetizers, and you feel full before your main course even gets there. Then you have your main course. After this, is a complementary dessert, which is always delicious. This trip to the beach of Chalkidiki was the perfect way to end the trip, because it was so peaceful and relaxing, and also was a great way to tie together all of the things we had learned about Greek culture and the tourism sector of their economy.