Zante natural menu
The natural menu of the Zakynthian people is determined by the seasons. It has nothing to do with boring diets or bans on eating certain types of foods. With a healthy attitude towards food, and an active, balanced lifestyle, you can forget the word diet.
Authentic cuisine in Zakynthos is prepared to stimulate the senses, with all the pungency of mountain herbs. Bay, oregano, rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, mint, sage, lemon and garlic are just a handful of aromatic ingredients used in the preparation of food in Zakynthos.
Basic to the Zakynthian kitchen are raw local fruits, quality cold pressed olive oil, fresh vegetables and herbs, along with wild greens, cereals and nuts. Organic seeds, such as sunflower, pine, pumpkin and sesame, complement a selection of nutritious pulses and beans.
Meals include fresh fish, seafood, organic chicken and lean meat. Tasty organic honey, thick yoghurt and cheeses, especially sheep and goats’ milk feta, are frequently used. Delicious sauces made from tomatoes, olive oil, egg and lemon, are often served with main dishes to help savour the flavour of Zakynthian food at it’s best.
OLIVE OIL – The Heart and Soul of the Zakynthian Table
The benefits of olive oil, first mentioned by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, have been recognized by the people of the Mediterranean for centuries. In ancient times olive oil was not used as a food – aristocrats, courtesans and priestesses used it for cosmetic skin care, and as oil for igniting luxurious lamps.
In Zakynthos cultivation of the olive grove for an annual harvest of organic olive oil is an essential part of family life. Most food is prepared using each families very own olive oil. On average each person is estimated to consume 23 liters of olive oil a year here!
Interesting Facts about Olive oil:
- Lowers harmful cholesterol
- Contains antioxidants that discourage artery clogging and chronic diseases
- Is rich in Vitamins A, B1, B2, iron, phosphorus, trace elements and mineral salts
- Has a high concentration of Vitamin E which contributes to fertility, maintains sexual potency and youth, and is beneficial to the heart
- Contains Oleuropein - the substance that gives it a tangy taste, also known to reduce high blood pressu
- Protects digestive membranes, and aids digestion
- Guards against cholesterol deposits on artery walls, and blood clots
TOMATOES – Perfect for Topping Up your Tan!
Tomatoes, another staple food of Zakynthos, comprised nearly entirely of water, are rich in nutrients and low in calories. Daily doses of tomatoes can reduce the risk of lung, prostrate and stomach cancer by up to 40%. This little red wonder fruit contains traces of selenium, effective in protecting against cancer, potassium, helpful for the functioning of the heart, and magnesium, which helps muscular cramping. Nutrients such as copper, iron and manganese, are also found in tomatoes. High in Vitamin C, tomatoes help strengthen your body’s defenses. Two thirds of your daily requirement of Vitamin C can be met by eating 2 tomatoes daily.
The bright shiny red color in tomatoes is produced by the carotene ‘lycopine’. Carotenes eliminate toxic free radicals in your body, enhance immune function, and fight cancer cells. They also contribute to a clear complexion and a deep quick tan. ‘Lycopine’ is only released when a tomato is heated and added to a fat such as olive oil. For a rich deep tan include a daily portion of cooked tomato sauce with your main meal, along with fresh tomatoes in your Zakynthian salad.
Interesting Facts about tomatoes:
- Rich in folic acid, which helps restore and rebuild damaged cells
- High in Vitamin E, increasing fertility and contributing to a healthy sex life
- Rich in chromium - ideal for those with diabetes in helping to break down sugar
- Full of beta-carotene, which along with Vitamin E and C, fight toxic free radicals in your body
- oaded with flavanoids in the outer layer of the fruit, as are grapes. If you peel tomatoes and grapes you lose this benefit, so always eat them unpeeled