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Gastronomic tourism

For 411 years Corfu was a Venetian harbour, "key" of the Adriatic was proudly named and it was only natural the passing ships to "leave to the Corfiots many and teach them even more".
During the century of Renaissance Venice was the European centre of the trading of spices and sugar and distributed luxury and wealth all around Europe.
As a consequence of the Venetian domination was the imposition of the Venetian cuisine and the Venetian way of cooking to the Corfiots. The Venetians brought new products and taught the Corfiots how to eat them. Corn, tomatoes, beans, pepper, but also coffee, chocolate and many other products were brought to Corfu by the Venetians. In a very short time, however, these new products were appreciated by the Corfiots and were thus incorporated in their daily diet, reaching our days almost inalterably.
The present-day Corfiot cuisine has the typical Mediterranean characteristics (the common base is the olive oil, the vegetables, the pastas and many herbs and spices) exhibiting the different influences that the island was under. The cuisine of the city is clearly venetian.
The cuisine of the countryside is based on the agricultural products that were cultivated simultaneously with the cultivation of the olives, which was imposed by the Venetians. Common characteristic of all Corfiot dishes is the tastefulness. The food and particularly the bread, was always and still is well salted, because Corfu many saltworks and the salt was never absent from each household.
After so many centuries the names of the Corfiot traditional dishes remain almost unchanged. The emigrations of the Greeks from the mainland Greece, even after the Union, left almost no stamp in the local cuisine. The mass spreading of classic Greek cuisine (which contained many influences from the Turkish conquerors) took place after the Second World War.

Strapatsada (Venet. Strapazzada):Condensed broth from bones, strained and strengthened with little butter, mixed with whipped eggs, salt, pepper and few drops of cognac. It is eaten boiling hot.
Manestra Kolopimpiri (Venet. Collu pimpiri [with pepper]): Barley-shaped pasta in red sauce made from fresh comidoro (tomatoes), onions, carrots and celery, salt, cinnamon, cloves and lots of red pepper. It is eaten consomme.
Manestra Bourou-bourou: Spaghetti cut in small pieces with sauce made from fresh tomato, onions, olive oil, cut potatoes and red pepper. Is eaten either consomme or soup.
Beans with petsalina: Venetian condensed soup. Dry beans in the saucepan, olive oil, finely chopped onion, gammon in cubes, rosemary, salt and pepper. Optionally tomato juice and in the end some lemon juice.
Koronia: A kind of polenta that was brought by the refugees from Koroni. In boiled water add maize, salt, olive oil and a little pepper.

Vegetables, Rice and Pastas
Roka or roukala: Fresh leaves of rocket (eruca sativa) and antrakla (glistrida), with slices of onion, olive oil, salt, vinegar, round slices of tomatoes and few black salted olives.
Tsigareli: Sauteed wild garden-stuffs with finely chopped onion and garlic, salt and red hot pepper. Good titbit for wine.
Wild garden-stuffs: Typical daily food of a rural family. Boiled wild garden-stuffs with salt and then served in deep dish together with their broth, a lot of lemon juice and fresh olive oil.
Aubergines pastrokio: Layers of long slices of fried aubergines, dredged with cheese, in the oven with boiled eggs in between, as well as pantseta (smoked ham) or gammon, salado (salami), with fresh tomato sauce and basil.
Kolokithoperistasi: (In the oven) courgettes, aubergines, potatoes, tomatoes, all cut in round shape, with olive oil, salt, pepper, and finely chopped parsley.
Rice - pea (Venet. Rizi-bizi): Traditional venetian risotto (the national dish of Venice, it was served to the Doge the day of Saint Mark feast, 25 April). Rice, peas, finely chopped onion, gammon, salt and pepper cooked together. The risotto is ready when the water is evaporated.

Bourdeto (Venet. Bordeto): Bourdeto Boiled sea scorpion or tope or codfish fillets, well desalted, with red-hot sauce (a lot of red pepper and hot corn-peppers), which in the end is quenched with fresh lemon juice.
Codfish with agiada (Benet. Baccala in pastela): Desalted 'dry' codfish fillets, in big pieces, with skordalia (garlic sauce). The difference from other parts of Greece lies in the preparation of skordalia (aglio), which is made of barked almonds, garlic, bread, olive oil and vinegar
Stakofisi (Stock-fish): Stakofisi It is known from the Venetians since the early Meddle Ages (pesse stocco), only the name is borrowed from the English language. It is 'dry' (stored and dried) codfish, which, is softened for cooking by remaining for a long time in renewed seawater. Sauteed pieces of codfish with onions and red pepper, are cooked in the saucepan with tomato sauce, leeks and some sugar. It was the bourdeto variation for the wealthy

Pastitsada (Venet. pastizzada): It is the most popular Corfiot dish and is served at the formal dinners and celebrations. n the city it is made with beef meat (usually from the leg) stuffed with chopped garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. For the tomato sauce is used olive oil, onion, cinnamon, cloves, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cumin and laurel leaves. The rural pastitsada is made with cock, it is said that it is well-made only when the sauce is so thick that it dyes the moustaches. There are seafood pastitsada variations like "lobster pastitsada".
Stoufado (Venet. El stufadin): Food cooked in a well-closed saucepan and left on the 'stua' (a special small stove at the side of the fireplace), which boiled for many hours or even for the whole night. It is pieces of beef, that were all night marinated in wine, onion, finely chopped garlic, carrot, celery, rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, laurel leaves, salt and pepper. Sauteed with olive oil and minced pantseta (smoked ham) is then cooked on the 'stua' with all the marinade, adding some sugar. It is eaten with polenta (koronia).
Sofrito (Venet. Soffrito): Thin slices of fried beef, with white sauce from finely chopped garlic, parsley, white pepper, white wine, salt and vinegar. It is served with rice or maspatata (mush potatoes)

Egg-lemon Soup: Made from the broth of cock or hen also from beef or even a combination of meats. It is the traditional Corfiot dish for Easter Sunday but also for Christmas Day (in this case turkey wings and neck are added for tastiness). The good egg-lemon soup must have one egg for each portion of soup, while the whites of the eggs should be separately whipped up very well.
Kota bolida paragiomisti: The Corfiots, the first day of the year, eat chicken, which is previously partly boiled for the preparation of the soup and then is cooked in the oven. It is the traditional Greek dish for the New Year's Day, that surly differs from the rest of Greece in the stuffing of the poultry, which contains pantseta (smoked ham), thyme, cheese, milk, bread, minced beef, eggs, finely chopped garlic, olive oil, chopped parsley and spices.

Hordes of gardoumbes: (Hordes ate the ancient Greeks, hordounin the Byzantines, gardoumba the modern Greeks) Entrails of lamb (liver, sweetbreads, lung) woven and tied up in knot with the intestines of the lamb, dredged with lots of pepper, oregano, olive oil, and lemon juice, in the oven or over the charcoal.
Tsilihourda: A variation of the traditional eastern night soup (magiritsa). The difference from the rest of Greece is in that it is not a soup but coarsely cut lamb entrails without rice, but with thick sauce from many chopped fresh onions, parsley, dill, salt, lots of pepper and in the end lemon juice. The tradition wants also the feet of the lamb in the saucepan in order to make a well-mash tsilihourda.
Tingola (Venet. intigolo): Fried liver with onion rings, with salt and pepper, and some sugar, quenched with white wine, dredged with tomato juice and finely chopped parsley.
Figadelia (Venet. Figa = liver): Pieces of beef liver enclosed in lamb 'bolia' (a kind of fatty tissue) which are previously dredged with spices and herbs: finely chopped garlic, oregano, salt, black pepper and cinnamon. They are roasted over the charcoal.

Bourdouni (Boldon, Sausages from blood): ΜπουρνούνιCongealed beef blood in large intestines with chopped onion, garlic, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, salt, pepper and small pieces of pork fat. When cut in slices, fried in fat and quenched in vinegar is a very good wine-titbit.
Corfiot countryside sausages: Κερκυραϊκά ΑλλαντικάMinced pork meat with fat and pork meat without fat, mixed with garlic, a lot of salt, pepper and oregano, wrapped in wine-rinsed animal intestines. It can be smoked or left hanging in the air.
Noumboulo foumikado (Venet. Nombolo): ΝούμπουλοThe Corfiot noumboulo is of excellent quality and is made of pork fillet, salted and marinated in red wine and spices and dredged with pepper. It is then wrapped in animal intestines and is smoked for 30 days on a fire with a lot of softwoods and aromatic twigs: sage, laurel, myrtle, mallow, oregano and almond cells.
Pichti: The head of a pig boiled with cinnamon, clove, laurel leaves, sage, pepper and coarse salt. It is then cut in small pieces and is wrapped in wide animal intestine without the herbs.
Salado (Corfiot salami): Smoked coarsely minced pork meat with a lot of pepper and salt. It is smoked with aromatic twigs and then is left hanging to mature for 30-40 days.
Gammon foumikado (smoked): Salted gammon with salinitro (nitrate salt) and pressed under a heavy weight for one week. It is then left hanging and is smoked with aromatic twigs.

Koum-kouat: The fruit of the tree citrus - japonica, which came in Europe from Japan in 1846 and was experimentally cultivated in Corfu by the British. Since then all its products, liqueur, glazed fruits and preserves are sold in every shop and everybody buys them.
Corfiot strawberries: A variety of small strawberries (like the wild strawberries) with splendid aroma. They are sold only in May.
Freskamenta (pavlosika or fragkosika): Sweet, aromatic and tasty fruits from the cactus plant (prickly pears), which are very popular in Corfu. They are eaten, very cold with lots of water, usually early in the morning.

Mantoles (Venet. Mandorle): Μάντολες Roasted and caramelised almonds, they are found in most confectioneries of the city.
Tiganites of the Saint: These are the well-known loukoumades that are made on the Eve of the feast of Saint Spyridon, protector of the island, as the custom requires. They are dredged with honey or with pounded sugar.
Poutinga (Pudding): With obvious British influence. The good housewives give particular attention to the Christmas poutinga, the preparation of which begins one month earlier
Tzintzoles: Dry tzitzifa (small tasty deep red fruits with a pip) with raisins and sesame seeds. They are eaten fresh, left to dry in the sun, boiled in must or baked in the oven and can be kept in preserving jars for up to a whole year. As a dessert they are served to those who did not finish their wine.
Sikomaida or sikopita: Made from must and dried figs it is flavoured with aniseed, pepper and ouzo. It is eaten as a dessert or as dried fruit, but can also accompany the ouzo drinkers.
Pastafrolles (Venet. Pastry frolla): Daily, 'easy made' sweet with dough and jam, very popular in the Heptanese.
Mandolato (Venet. Mandolato): Sweet made from glucose, honey, sugar, sesame pulp, meringue, rosewater and brown almonds.
Pantespania (Venet. pan di Spagna): Small cakes that came in Corfu in 1492 with the Jew refugees from Spain. A 'restorative' and light sweet, dredged with pounded sugar, they were sent to the new-born child and his mother in small round and deep pans.
Koutsouli piperati (Venet. Pevarini): Small doughs from sugar, water, flour, honey and pepper, kneaded with force until the dough becomes very soft. They are cooked in the oven.
Fogatsa (Venet. Fogassa de Pasqua): A type of cake of venetian origin, that is found in all the traditional bakeries of the island and the city.
Kolombina (Venet. Colombin): Christmas cake in the form of a pigeon, that was very popular during the venetian era. Even today it is still sold in many confectioneries and bakeries of the city.
Tzaletia (Venet. Zaleti): Kneaded butter with maize and cooked in medium oven. When they get cold they are immersed in orange-flavoured water and they are dredged with sugar.
Moustastonia (Venet. Mostazzoni): Pounded almonds with sugar, eggs and vanilla molded in balls and cooked in medium oven.
Cake (Plum Cake): Usually with fruits (bergamot included)
Sperna: Boiled seeds of wheat with cinnamon, black raisin, aniseed, almonds, coriander, fir-cones, pomegranate and confetti, all mixed with pounded sugar. The 'sperna' in Corfu are offered by the churches that celebrate the memory of Saint in which they are dedicated, after the morning service. The name comes rather from the 'Esperinos' (Vespers), because in the old times they were offered in the churches after the blessing by the priest in the Vespers.

Local Drinks
Tsitstibira (Ginger-beer): The well-known Heptanesian refreshment since the time of the British rule. Today is made nowhere else in the Heptanese but in Corfu. Made from lemon juice, natural lemon-essence, top quality ground ginger, white raisins, water and sugar, today is prepared by a small family-industry of the island, which 'kneads' in its caldrons the historical refreshment. Tasty and refreshing it is ready to be drank after three weeks of fermentation and is served in the cafes from Easter until the autumn. Because of the great demand for the product in Corfu, it is always fresh and is best served ice cold.

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