A Greek Jewish Culinary Adventure



Other Cuisines

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marga@lacabe.com



Until the Holocaust, when the vast majority of Greek Jews were killed, Greece had two distinct Jewish communities. The Romaniote Jews had lived in Greece since Hellenistic times. They spoke Yevanic, a dialect of Greek infused with Hebrew words, and developed their own religious and cultural traditions. The Sephardi Jews, meanwhile, immigrated to Greece in the 15th century escaping persecution from Spain, Portugal and other countries. They mostly settled in Thessaloniki, where they thrived as a community. They spoke Ladino, a Castilian dialect widely used in trade. While the two cultures never fully merged, perhaps because they lived in different parts of Greece and they had strong language and religious differences, they influenced one another. Jewish cuisine in Greece incorporates both the dishes brought by the Sephardim from Spain, which still bear their Ladino names, and those traditionally cooked by the Romaniotes.

My exploration of Greek Jewish cuisine included dishes from both traditions: