203 - So Many Meze - So Little Time
By Mary Luz Mejia
If your idea of a perfect meal consists of numerous flavours, textures and plenty of little dishes to go round, then dining as the Greeks do might just fit the bill. Odds are that you’ve encountered a souvlaki or two in your Hellenic culinary adventures, but it’s the untapped world of Greek meze that deserves honourable mention. Chef/Owner of Hamilton’s Baranga’s on the Beach, Margarita Tsangarakis (aka The Greek Goddess), makes some of the best around.
If you’ve dined at a taverna in Greece, you’ve probably experienced a flurry of small plates on a platter to share with your family and friends. At the sea-side, seafood would feature prominently, and if you found yourself in a mountain town, stuffed filo pastries would make their way onto your plate. Luckily for us, Margarita makes it simple to recapture the glorious goodness of regional Hellenic food in her Greek Mezes Platter.
Some say these tapas-like dishes are appetizers, but as the Spanish and the Turks know, mezes can be a meal all by itself. Margarita loads a platter with her mouth-watering Feta al Forno (a generous hunk of Greek feta smothered in fresh sliced tomatoes, Greek oregano, olive oil, hot chilis wrapped in foil before baking), homemade dips which include a delightful Artichoke Tampanar, a pressed yoghurt, garlic, dill and cucumber Tzatziki and a few tender Dolmadakia stuffed with rice and herbs. She rounds off the platter with perfectly crisp, golden Tyropitakia (cheese–stuffed baked savoury filo pastries), Spanakopitakia (the same filo pockets but with spinach, fresh dill and green onions), and warm, olive-oil drizzled pita bread. For a fun Mediterranean twist on fries, Margarita has married perfect frites with a hearty smattering of crumbled feta and mountain-grown Greek oregano. Who knew the two could taste so good?
With a little aniseed-flavoured Ouzo or one of Margarita’s boutique red Greek wines, it’s a pleasant way to appreciate the simpler things in life like good food and good company.
Baranga’s on the Beach
380 Van Wagner’s Beach Road