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The Greek Non-Breakfast

By June 4, 2006

"What's for breakfast?" is not a question you'll hear in many homes here in Greece. Because of Greek eating customs - late lunches (3-4 PM) and even later suppers (after 9 PM) - a meal early in the morning hasn't been terribly important. Many of us grab a cup of coffee or tea and leave it at that, while others have milk and a paximathaki (rusk), or beef it up with the breakfast that's been served in my home for years (photo at right): a cup of black tea sweetened with honey, some feta cheese, olives, and bread. Another favorite is a bowl of yogurt with honey or a piece of fruit. The now numerous shops that sell designer coffees and teas attract many who make them the first food/beverage stop of the day.

The Greek custom of grabbing a midmorning kolatsio (snack) prevails. What we didn't eat for breakfast, we make up for (often several times over) with a snack around 10-11 AM. If we're working, we stop what we're doing and go to the nearest corner bakery or fast-food vendor for a cheese or cream pie, spinach pie, or some other tasty treat and bring it back to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea. At home, this midmorning break is a great time to share with neighbors, and I often serve Greek coffee with paximathakia or koulourakia, not-too-sweet biscotti and cookie twists.

Out here in the country where crops, livestock, flocks, olive trees, or vineyards need tending, breakfast traditions haven't changed for centuries. A quick cup of something warm at home, and the rest gets packed up and taken along. Because foods have to travel well, they're often similar to my home breakfast: cheese, bread, and olives.

Favorite Greek Breakfast Foods & Snacks

Photo J. Stanfield

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June 5, 2006 at 10:50 am
(1) Gina says:

Your Greek tea photos are fabulous!!! I love tea, so I don’t even need that much convincing… but now I’m on my way to the kitchen to refill my cup :o )

March 25, 2008 at 12:42 pm
(2) maria says:

lovely ideas for breakfast, i might do a post on breakfasts myself!

March 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm
(3) Gwen says:

This helped me a lot! I like the tea photos! But Greek eople did not have sugar back then, only honey.

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