see it clearly
Learn more

Ancient Greece Food

Are you interested in Ancient Greece food so you can follow a tradition or throw a unique party based on the diet of Ancient Greece? You won't need to visit a specialty store since many of the foods they ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are commonly found at your local grocery store.

Ancient Greece Food

Finding and Growing Food

As with many cultures, most of the food Greeks ate was grown and hunted. Marketplaces did exist in Ancient Greece, but only the moderately-rich to the elite class could afford to buy their food that way. For the poor, growing food, hunting, and fishing were they only viable options. Raising food in Greece proved difficult since much of the landscape was rocky and lacked the right nutrients to grow crops. The weather also gave farmers problems: there was too much rain in the winter and not enough in the summer.

What they could grow were grapes, since the vines could grow on the sides of hills and mountains; olives; figs; and various grains like wheat and barley. Most of the Greek farmers also grew barley since they could use it to create flour, make bread, and make porridge. Olives were a lucrative crop since the oil was used for cooking and to fuel lamps. Grapes were grown to make wine, but also were dried and eaten as raisins.

Ancient Greece Food

For breakfast, which was eaten right after the sun came up, the Greeks ate bread soaked in wine. For lunch, they ate more bread dipped in wine but added figs, cheese, olives, or even dried fish.

Dinner was the biggest meal of the day. As breakfast was eaten after sunrise, supper was eaten just before sunset. A dinner made of Ancient Greece food included fruits, fish, vegetables, meat (depending on the class of citizen), and honey cakes.

Since Greece was near so much water, fish was a staple to many people. Squid and shellfish were also popular since they could be easily found in the waters. Meat was rarely used and was only eaten by the rich on a regular basis. The poor class was occasionally given meat, but only at Greek festivals and only after the source of the meat (cows, pigs, etc.) was sacrificed to the gods. Animals were hunted, but it was considered "barbaric" to eat the meat if the animal was not sacrificed to the gods.

Greeks either drank wine, water, or ale. Very rarely did the Greeks drink milk since it was considered "barbaric." Instead, most of the milk produced was used to make cheese. The wine was usually watered down because it was also "barbaric" to drink it straight, as it had just been fermented.

During different seasons, Greeks focused on eating different foods. In the summer, the Greeks could find enough fruit and vegetables to eat and store for the winter. Apples and lentils and beans could easily be stored so during the winter people wouldn't starve. Barley and wheat were also easy to store and, since the barley could be ground into flour, the Greeks ate lots of bread during the winter months.

Fun Facts

  • Toast was invented by a Greek named Paximos because he discovered toasted bread lasted for a longer period of time, especially when traveling.
  • Chefs were celebrities in Ancient Greece. If the chefs created a unique dish, they could "patent" their creation and the recipe for one year. During that time, that chef was the only one who could make it.
  • Eating banquet-style was created by Ancient Greece. However, this tradition was only enjoyed by the rich since they were the ones who could afford it.

Ancient Greek Recipes

For Ancient Greek Recipes, visit: