Ancient Greece to Modern Melbourne: How Has Greek Cuisine Evolved?

Who doesn’t love Greek food? Here at It’s Greek, we are passionate about Greek cuisine, and are proud to serve you the best Greek food in Melbourne! But Greek cuisine has an interesting history; one that dates back to around 1200 BCE.

So, how did such authentic, quality Greek food end up in modern day Melbourne? Keep reading to find out how the cuisine we all know and love has evolved through ancient times, to the fresh and delicious food we serve you at It’s Greek.

Fresh Greek souvlaki, pita, and greek salad

Ancient Greece: The Mediterranean Triad

Ancient Greek cuisine is said to be characterised by a triad of ingredients: cereals, olives, and grapes – otherwise known as bread, olive oil and wine! A common social event was the symposium, which translates roughly to a banquet, and these banquets, though largely dedicated to drinking, also included food. What this shows is that, even in ancient times, food was for more than just eating; it was for sharing, and further, that often meals were a largely social affair.

Cereals: The first ingredient of the triad is cereals, which most often included wheat and barley. These were baked into bread and typically accompanied by an opson – a word that can be translated to relish in English. In this context, this relish was anything that was eaten alongside the bread – whether made of fruit or vegetables, or fish or meat.

Olive Oil: The olive oil that we take for granted today was a very valuable commodity in Ancient Greece. Olive trees are hardy plants that grow under a variety of different environmental conditions, and which have a history of growing well all over Greece.

Because of this, olive oil became a staple in cooking in ancient times, and it was often poured over food as a garnish before the start of a meal.

Wine: An important staple in Ancient Greece, wine’s uses were many and varied. As we know, wine played a large role in the feasts and celebrations of the wealthy, but it also had a large role to play in the economy of the time, with Ancient Greeks being responsible for cultivating new and innovative methods of making wine. For more information about the importance of wine at this time, check out this Wikipedia page about Ancient Greece and wine.

Greek Cuisine in Australia: The Beginnings

The history of Greek cuisine in Australia can be traced back to two little words: milk bar. The 1950s saw a boom in Greek-owned and run cafes all across Australia – from cities to regional towns. These milk bars were some of the most technologically advanced and stylish cafes in the country, and most often took their lead from the old Hollywood style of “soda shop” seen in America. This meant soda counters, jukeboxes, and a menu of burgers and shakes.

It was typical for the Greek owners and operators to serve up this style of food rather than Greek cuisine, as it seems at the time that Australians just weren’t interested in much outside an Americanised menu. Unfortunately, it was not until around the 1970s or 1980s that Aussies started to really embrace everything Greek cuisine has to offer, but it’s this history of milk bars all over the country that demonstrates just how integral Greek restauranteurs were to the culinary history of Australia.

Modern Melbourne and Greek Cuisine

Today, Greek cuisine is loved and embraced all over the country, especially in Melbourne! Australia has proven to be a great landing place for Greek food outside of Greece itself, with an abundance of fresh seafood available, as well as apt environments for olive trees to thrive.

In modern Melbourne, Greek food is all about ultra-fresh ingredients, tender and succulent meat, and of course, sharing amazing food with the ones we love. All of this fits well into the Aussie food culture, which we now know, was once spearheaded by incredible Greek restauranteurs.

In Melbourne alone, you can find an abundance of Greek restaurants, but when it comes to the very best Greek food in Melbourne, you don’t have to look any further than It’s Greek! We serve the most delicious and best souvlaki you’ll find anywhere in Melbourne, so make sure to check out our full guide to the origins of the souvlaki too.

Looking for the Best Greek Food in Melbourne?

Are you looking for the best Greek food? Look no further than It’s Greek! We are proud to bring you the best that Greek cuisine has to offer. From the best souvlaki in Melbourne to an authentic Greek feed, we thrive on providing excellent customer service, and bringing you exceptional Greek food takeaway! To get the best Greek food near you, place your order online or call us at 03 9548 5607, and we’ll take care of you!