Souvlaki - From Greece
Souvlaki, a great treat from Greece
Souvlaki is all about char grilled marinated meat, usually served on a skewer. Sometimes you will find it served with some other ingredients in pita bread, or just on a dinner plate. What isn't ever missing, is the meat, which is the core of souvlaki in Greek cuisine.
I was so fortunate to have been able to be a part of a trip to go to Greece, and chaperone young people. There is so much that went on there, and I have written about much of that on other pages. As far as food goes, souvlaki is an absolute favorite of my son and myself, as it is very good. We had all kinds of food while there, but if you asked what was my favorite, it would probably be a tie between souvlakii, and gyros. They were often sold at the same little restaurants. Where you found one, you could often find the other. No cooks these items as good as they do in Greece. (None that I have found yet, but I will keep looking!)
In short, souvlaki is char grilled meat on a stick, that is "out of this world". No wonder its such a huge part of Greek cuisine. My teenage son, could vouch for what I say here. He wanted to get that whenever he could, if not the wonderful sea food that we often came across.
Souvlaki made with Pork Tenderloin
Where did souvlaki come from?
Souvlaki perhaps made its first appearance in ancient Greece, where there was a recipe found from that time. The food was referred to as kandaulos, and combined a few different items together. There was a pita, grilled meat, cheese and dill. (this, from Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists, 12, 516d).
Several centuries later, we see it again come up in writing with references to some street vendors selling souvlaki (a) with pita bread in Constantinople. That is the capital of Byzantium.
Now, in Greece there are vendors, and little shops and restaurants that sell souvlaki all the time. Some of the first shops to sell souvlaki in Greece were in Livadia in 1951, selling souvlaki(a) on a stick and gyros.
Many order souvlaki now, as a fast food or take away. One thing is for sure, it is a huge part of Greek cuisine. I would love to say that I know how to make it, but I have yet to learn it. When I do, I will update here and you will be the first to know!
Kinds of Souvlaki
The classic souvlaki is made from pork. We also had chicken and beef, and each and every type tasted simply wonderful. For me, souvlaki paired up with a classic Greek salad , was the ultimate meal. I simply loved it. Gyros were a meal all in themselves. There are other kinds of meat as well that we heard of, such as fish and shrimp, but we never came across that.
Your souvlaki will change a bit depending on where you are in Greece. If you are going to a nicer restaurant your pieces of meat may be larger, and on nicer metal skewers. This is where you will most often find your swordfish or shrimp souvlakis. I need to mention, that sometimes you will see vegetables with the meat.