Greek cuisine was quite important to the history of Ancient Greece. It was a very social aspect of life in Ancient Greece and brought people together. The geography of Greece was highly limiting to agriculture, so there were also several specific food items that played a significant role in Greece's history.

Perhaps one of the most commonly mentioned foods in Greek history, olives have been a staple ingredient in the Greek diet since Greece came to be.
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Native to the Mediterranean, olives began to be harvested in Greece over 7000 years ago. Not much has changed reguarding the harvesting technique from when they first started to be harvested. They are harvested in the winter, requiring minimal technology. Many farmers in Greece continue to use the traditional method of harvesting olives- shaking all of the olives from the branch and collecting them in a net.
Greek olive farmer
Greek olive farmer

A product of olives, olive oil is one of the most frequently used ingredients in Greek cuisine and one of the most valued. Described as "liquid gold" by Homer, olives and olive oil have been used for all different purposes, including cosmetics, pharmaceutical uses, soap making, and as fuel for traditional oil lamps. Greece is the third largest producer of olives in the world, with Spain being the first and Italy being the second.

Wine was a social commonplace in Ancient Greece. It was an important part of everyday life and was associated with the god of wine, Dionysus. Wine was served at nearly every social gathering and was always served with meals. Social gatherings where mainly men would get together and drink were called symposiums.
It was discovered that the first attempts at winemaking in Greece were made on the Greek island of Crete. Over time, the Greeks discovered that trading wine was an effective way to boost their economy as well as spread their culture.
The Athenian festival centered around wine, called Anthesteria, was the celebration of the vine flower. During this time, the people of Athens would celebrate the new wine by making offerings and partaking in activities such as drinking contests and sampling wine. This three day festival was held in honor of Dionysus and also for the spirits of the dead

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Ancient Greek Symposium
Ancient Greek Symposium

Because of geographical location, fishing was a primary method of obtaining food. Things like, fish, eel, and shellfish were common in the Greek diet. Red meat was fairly uncommon, since the only time it was consumed was when it was sacrificed as an offering to the gods. Fruits and vegtables were available seasonally and what was left was dried and preserved for the winter.

The social aspect of dining in Ancient Greece was enormous. Greeks were known for throwing elaborate dinner parties. When invited to a dinner party, one was expected to bring something small. Wine was served all throughout the event and guests usually would not begin drinking wine in large quantities until after dinner was finished. Since dinner was a time for socializing, polite conversation would take place at the table. A polite guest did things like compliment the host on their house and offer to help clean up after dinner. Accepting seconds was considered a compliment to the host. Utensils were optional, however, most Greeks preferred to eat with their hands, as that was said to allow the full experience of flavor. Because of this, foods were often prepared in small portions.
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