Today we Greeks celebrate the 25th of March. This date marks a double holiday for us: a historical and a religious one. However, for every Greek around the globe, this year’s celebrations are going to be very different… Greece is currently on ‘lockdown’ as well as so many more cities and countries.
Here in the UK, we won’t be enjoying our delicious Salt Cod in The Real Greek, which is what’s traditionally eaten on the day.
Unfortunately, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we had to temporarily close all of our restaurants, as well as delivery and take-away services. This was a very difficult decision for The Real Greek family but taken in order to do our part in helping stop the spread of the virus.
As our Managing Director announced here, “For the last 20 years, our restaurants have been at the heart of your communities and it is important that we are now responsibly protecting those communities and our staff as best we can.”
As uncertain as the future weeks may feel to all of us at the moment, we believe we’ll all get through this together!
Hardships may come, but we have faith that this endeavour will make us stronger and more appreciative of all that we have and those we love.
We would really like to appeal to all of The Real Greek friends to stay at home, follow the government’s guidelines and protect themselves and the ones surrounding them by social distancing.
Together we can do it!
As Greeks, we believe tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging, so let’s talk about today’s tradition and meaning for us!
Also, because we know how everyone is cooking homemade meals these days, we’ll share our own garlic sauce, Skordalia recipe with you, so you can enjoy it at home with battered cod.
Photo Source: MaisonCupcake
Historically, today marks the 1821 war of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, named the “Greek Revolution”, that lasted up to 1830 and was waged by the Greek revolutionaries. The Greeks were under the Ottoman rule for 400 years and still managed to win this battle.
Religiously, today the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation by Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus Christ the Son of God. 25th March is exactly nine months before Christmas.
Photo Source: Greek Reporter
In Greece, the country celebrates this double holiday with two things: Parades and Bakaliaros- salted cod.
A custom across the country on this day is to eat crispy, fried Codfish in batter, with a strong garlic sauce. Families gather to enjoy ‘Bakaliaros skordalia’ together after they’ve watched the parade in the morning.
The food of the day has to do with the Lent before Easter, our ‘vegan’ period, where no animals or animal products are consumed. Oil and wine are also not allowed on certain days. However. the Orthodox Church allows an exception for the celebration of the Annunciation and that’s why fish, olive oil and wine are consumed on the day.
The food is made with salted cod because not all Greek regions had availability to fresh fish back in the day, and the garlic sauce that accompanies it is a traditional sauce made out of potatoes, olive oil and many, many Greek garlic cloves.
Skordalia is a thick sauce, made by combining crushed garlic with a bulky base which may be a purée of potatoes, walnuts, almonds or bread, beaten with olive oil until smooth. Lemon or vinegar is added to elevate the flavours and trust us, this sauce is as delicious as it is potent.
Chewing on whole cloves or parsley leaves is highly recommended after consumption!
Here’s our own favourite Skordalia recipe:
3-5 garlic cloves, (depending on how strong you like it)
150 gr potato purée
125ml olive oil
1-2 tsp vinegar
Peel the garlic cloves and blend in a blender with some salt and 2 tsp water.
Add the potato puree and vinegar and blend well. (You can also add a splash of lemon juice)
Add the olive oil very slowly, whilst blending at low speed.
Your Skordalia is ready! Serve with olives and enjoy.