What Is Mezze? Know About This Lesser-Known Style Of Dining

An appetiser typical of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, mezze is similar to the little plates and finger foods served at Spanish tapas. In contrast to other appetisers, mezze is designed to be eaten as a full course. With or without alcohol, this dining style offers a mix of warm and cold foods, such as meat, veggies, dips, and breads. 

What is Mezze 

The term "mezze" can refer to a variety of small plates that are commonly served in several parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, and the eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Dubai, Armenia, and many more are all part of this group. Small plates loaded high with bite-sized dishes, dips (such as hummus and baba ghanoush), flatbreads, salads, and finger foods (such meatballs, stuffed olives, little cured fish, and hard cheeses) make up mezze in these regions. 


Although it has been enjoyed for centuries across the Mediterranean and the Middle East, mezze does not have a singular origin. Instead, it developed as a method for people in such areas to relax and enjoy one other's company while dining without worrying too much about serving sizes or presenting certain dishes. The diner makes their own plate, puts anything they want on it, and usually comes back for more. Additionally, this way, people can drop by without disturbing a formal meal, or they can depart early without wasting any food. The ease of preparation makes mezze a great choice for last-minute gatherings.  

The hot and cold dishes that make up mezze are a regular sight wherever you dine. Some examples of these dishes are tabbouleh, a salad made with fresh parsley and mint, dolma, filled grape leaves, baba ghanoush, eggplant dip and a variety of olives and kebabs made with meat or vegetables. 

How to Eat Mezze 

Mezze is easy to eat; all you need is a plate and a hunger pang. Most of the time, you don't need cutlery to eat these things; you can just use your hands. Serving tools are helpful for plating, though. People eat dips with bread, but you can also use it to pick up falafel and cooked meats. 

What to Drink With Mezze 

It is common practice to accompany mezze with local drinks, like as wine and spirits. Typical anise-flavored spirits that go well with mezze include raki, ouzo, arak, tsipouro, and locally produced brandy in Cyprus. Another common drink to have with mezze is white wine or a lighter red wine. Mezze pairs well with a variety of nonalcoholic beverages, such as mint tea (a popular drink in Morocco), coffee (popular in Turkey), and karkade (a refreshing hibiscus drink from Egypt).