The gastronomic culture of Corfu has certainly been influenced by the long-term Venetian occupation of the island.
As history depicts, the strategic position of the Ionian islands at Greece’s West Coast attracted traders from the Mediterranean region and invaders alike. This is evident in its food culture, as certain names of Corfu’s signature dishes indicate their Italian origins, for example Stufato (Greek Στιφάδο or Greek Beef Stew) and Pasticcio Dolce.
The island’s gastronomic wealth benefits from the fresh fish and seafood, supplied to local restaurants and tavernes directly from the sea. As with all Ionian islands, Corfu’s local products include a wide variety of flavors and fresh local ingredients which are a combination of the traditional love for unique aromas with the secrets of the modern gastronomy.
At the top of this list stands Kumquat, legacy of the British in Corfu, which is a citrus tree where small, golden oranges grow. In almost all local shops at Corfu’s old town, visitors will find Kumquat Liqueur made locally, or spoons sweets preserves.
MEET THE DISHES
The trademark dish of the island, Pastistada is usually rooster or sometimes veal meat served with thick pasta and grated cheese. Spetseriko is the mix of spices and herbs which the rooster is cooked including onion, garlic and red wine, as well as extra virgin olive oil. After that, fresh tomato and other herbs such as laurel and nutmeg are added.
This spicy sauce consists of olive oil, vinegar, rosemary, flour, garlic, sometimes raisins and other spices. It pairs well with fried fish such as red mullet and you can find it in many Ionian islands. What’s also great about this sauce is its preservation properties – it conserves fish for around 1 week due to the vinegar and rosemary’s disinfectant identity.
After Pastistada, Sofrito is the second most popular local speciality, consisting of thin veal slices floured and fried, cooked in wine sauce, garlic, parsley and white pepper in the pan. It’s no hard to see the Italian influence in this dish, as “fritto” means fried.
Bianco, or white in Italian, is a type of cooking technique for majority of fishes, consisting of garlic, oil, black pepper, and lemon juice. The most common fishes in the list are dentex, stockfish and grouper.
Porpetes dish is rather a simple one consisting of meatballs in red sauce. There are a number of additional alternative ingredients for the sauce, such as local cheese, nutmeg and anchovies.
Pairs well with fish or seafood, Bourdeto consists of onions, red pepper, light tomato sauce and lemon. The fish selected for Bourdeto is usually bass, Stock fish or scorpions.