The Varieties of Greek Delicatessen

The Varieties of Greek Delicatessen

Greek cuisine was, and still is, a combination of regional cuisines, blending a wide range of particularities that hail from disparate geographical positions and traditions.

Perhaps the myriad varieties of delicatessen that pervade the country’s culture is most indicative of this.

Greek cuisine was, and still is, a combination of regional cuisines, blending a wide range of particularities that hail from disparate geographical positions and traditions. But throughout the ages, the common element within this broad range of Greek regional cuisines was the need to preserve food, especially meat, for the longest period possible. In the absence of modern technology, such endeavors always required considerable skill, wits, and knowledge.

Therefore, the ingenuity and the will of previous generations led to the creation of a particular brand of delicatessen unique to each region. Even though the raw materials are almost always the same throughout the country, the production process and names of the products have come to vary considerably.

As an ancient ritual mentioned by Homer, “Hirosfagia” takes place in villages all over Greece at the end of each year. Each household, after growing its own pig for a year, slaughters it and makes use of every single piece of the meat to produce cold cuts. Sausages, huge chunks of salted or smoked meat, and boiled meat with spices and other flavorings form the basis of the Greek delicatessen. There is an immense variety of preparation possibilities, all of which can be varied according to the type of meat used- pork, beef, or lamb are the major, but certainly not the only options.

Kavourmas is a special delicacy of Northern Greece. It is traditionally made from beef meat, but there are many variations with pork and lamb as well. It is produced from large pieces of meat boiled with leeks, onions, and spices, which are then preserved in the fat of the meat. As a result of these additions, the product has a pleasant spicy taste.

Even though pastourmas is thought to be a cold cut of Asian cuisine, it is produced in many regions in Greece as well.

These regions are those that near Turkey, such as Thrace, the N.E. Aegean islands, and the Dodecanese. Though the delicacy was originally formed from camel’s meat, it is today the product of salted beef meat. Covered by a layer of cumin, paprika, and all spice, it develops a characteristic aroma and taste. A popular dish that involves pastourma is the Caesaria pie, which is filled with slices of pastourma, kasseri cheese, and tomato. Interestingly, in the Dodecanese islands, pastourmas are made of goat meat.

Apaki is a Cretan delicacy comprised of salted pork meat. The meat is first marinated in vinegar, then smoked in aromatic herbs, and then wrapped in a layer of spices and flavorings. Such a preparation gives it a distinctive aroma and slightly sour taste.

Noumboulo is a typical Corfiot delicatessen. It is made from pork marinated in red wine, which is then smoked wrapped in animal intestines over aromatic herbs.

As the most famous cold cut of the Cyclades, lountza is produced from pork meat and somewhat similar to noumboulo. The meat is first salted, marinated in red wine, then smoked and finally wrapped in an intestine with spices and flavorings. It is left to mature from many months and then served in very thin slices.

Liokafto from the Cyclades are small pieces of meat- beef, pork, or lamb- marinated in salt, vinegar, and spices for one week, and then left to dry in the air for a considerable period of time.

Siglino from Mani is a salted pork meat, which will be boiled, sautéed, and then finally preserved in a mixture of its own fat and spices. Before it is served, it is sautéed slightly with orange peels, thus giving it its distinctive orange flavor.

The soutzouki from Crete is quite similar to the mani’s siglino in that it too is a sausage from pork meat with orange. The souzouki, however, is characterized by the oregano flavoring added to the delicacy afterward.

In fact, sausages are produced all over Greece with minor variations in the filling or the combination of spices and flavorings. In Thessaly, for example, sausages have leeks and therefore a sweeter taste, while in the Cyclades they are spiced with various plants and herbs. Throughout the Peloponnese they are made with orange, whereas in Andros they contain aniseed and are smoked. In Thrace, sausages resemble the soutzouki, a delicacy which in fact originated in Byzantine Constantinople.

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Mama Bread! : Making Bread to Feed our Souls

Mama Bread! : Making Bread to Feed our Souls

Rallou, what do you like to accompany your
bread with?
“I choose what to cook based on what the
bread is best accompanied by, that way I can
eat it with every meal! My children say I’m a
show-off, but what can we do, it’s the truth.”

 “Mama,Bread” is all windows. On cold days the windows steam up and a hot aroma
meets you as you push the door open . A piano to your left, the top part of the wall is lined with beautiful
photos from a photographer friend and the wall right in front of you is full of freshly baked bread.
Through the large opening in the wall you get a glimpse of the kitchen staff kneading or molding the
dough into the desired shapes and the sound coming from the kitchen is that of classical music. It is immediately

clear that the owners are lovers of good bread and artistic spirit.

You will find four varieties of bread on a daily basis, and two special ones (emmer
wheat and bulgur hazelnut) on Saturdays. By far the most expensive of all the bakeries we visited yet
their bread has such a full and strong taste that it imprints itself on your taste-bud memory. The taste
is slightly sweet, but do not be deceived it has not even one pinch of sugar, far from it, the sweetness
comes from the lowered salt and the amazing quality of their flour. Their bread is a meal in itself. Its not
the type of bread that you can pick at in the car before you get home as it has a hard outer crust, but it
is the type of bread that fills your car with a beautiful smell that will make you hungry! If you do want
something to nibble on while on your drive home, buy one of their home made pies filled either with
mince meat, zucchini, or cheese. They have various cookies; with chocolate, with nuts, with orange,
sugar-free, oats and brown sugar, all of which are made with pure ingredients reflected in the taste.

Having already written about the owners of “Mama bread!” in a previous guide, we will just add a small
detail.

Giorgo’s father had the first bakery in his home town of “Ligourio” in the Peloponese. The bread recipes
used are taken directly from there, while the cookie and pie recipes are a combination of both families.

Their motto is simple and clear: “ If we wouldn’t give it to our children we won’t make it at all!”

whole wheat & country bread €1,30/500g walnut whole wheat €3/500g Emmer Wheat
Bread (for Gluten free diet) €4,50/kg

Guides to… The gourmedguides.com
Mama Bread! : Making Bread to Feed our Souls

Address: Zacharitsa 42-44, Koukaki (a neighbourhood close to the Akropolis)
Telephone: 210 9227686
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed- Sat: 8am – 4pm
Tues-Thurs-Fri: 8am – 8pm

Guarantee, making sandwiches with more then 100 ingredients

Guarantee, making sandwiches with more then 100

ingredients

Gianni, apart from keeping your prices low what do you do to deal with the crisis? “The harder the situation, the better we want to be at what we do. So in this case were constantly searching for new ingredients and trying to make our food attractive to all the more people.”

On a main road of Koukaki, a vibrant neighborhood close to the Acropolis, you will find Guarantee; a small sandwich shop dressed in blue standing on a corner waiting to be discovered. Unlike what you may imagine it has been around for 24 years under the same owners who have built their life around their little shop and never cease to search for ways to make it better. The decoration is minimal with a few pieces of symbolic objects that have been chosen purposefully and not aesthetically ; a place where you may go for a dose of goodness both in mood and food. With more than 25 cheeses to pick from and about the same amount of charcuterie to choose from, the total amount of ingredients amount to more than 120.

The work space may look small but they actually make everything right there, in the early morning hours before clients start coming, or in the evening when the flow of people has calmed down. The eggs are boiled, the veggies grilled with fresh olive oil from their village, the mayonnaise is home made, the sauces are thought up and produced by Haroula, and the potatoes are peeled and fried just as they should be anywhere… Giannis was a sailor on commercial ships and Haroula was in her early twenties when they decided to open the sandwich shop. The location went from car repair shop, to sandwich store with 13 options to choose from, to sandwich store with 100 plus ingredients to choose from. It took a
while to settle on a name, and the final decision was inspired randomly.

Haroula was wearing a t-shirt with a logo on the back with the word Guarantee, Giannis being a lover of the seas wanted to give the store a nautical name. The word Guarantee at once inspires confidence and also is the name of heavy steady waves known as swell. Both take immense pride in their work and always strive for perfection, but as Giannis points one must strive without obsession and greed. The hand painted sign that adorns the bottom part of the front window is of a goat husk overflowing with fruits and vegetables. It alludes to Amalthea, Zeus’ foster mother, who suckled the infant and protected him from Cronus his child-easting father, it functions as a symbol of abundance.

Address: Veikou 41, Koukaki    Map
Telephone: 210 9226924

Price per person: sandwich €3- €6, home-made burger + fries €4, fresh juices small(350ml) €2,20 large

Opening Hours:
Mon- Sat 10am – 5pm
Sunday closed
(450ml) €4,00

SABOR, not in Spanish or Italian, but in Portuguese

SABOR, not in Spanish or Italian, but in Portuguese

SABOR, with its formal attire, stands out among the rows of colorful wholesale shops with beads and materials; its prices are what root it firmly where it stands.

Sabor is a very new, minimally decorated space that stylishly serves cheap coffee.By the looks of it, you would expect expensive coffee with attitude, but defying all odds, they have excellent coffee, various varieties, and in-house desserts all for fantastic prices. One of the clues is that it is self service, though if you order a whole lot of things they will bring it to your table. With previous experience in the industry the owners have managed to create a small hub of quality that elicits the same surprised reaction from almost all clients; one of disbelief “only €0.80 for an espresso?!”

In the summer you can either sit outside or do take out both for the same price, while when unexpected rain catches you off guard make a pit stop and have a great coffee served at the bar. Let’s start with the coffee. There are always about 10 varieties to choose from, and these change every week or ten days. They make their own chocolate milk blends, which can vary from a more classic orange chocolate combination to a ginger and raspberry chocolate beverage. The sandwiches are made with carefully selected ingredients and combine things the you probably have never tasted together. The desserts are constantly being experimented with, but they do have some standards like chocolate tart or cinnamon cookies; a unique dessert they have are the “pirulitos” which are sweet delights in the form of a lollipop, not a cake pop exactly as is the fashion nowadays, but rather a soft chocolate interior covered in chocolate. All the above, apart from the coffee, are made by their young pastry chef who has a small hide out on top of the store where she creates all the food. Both the owners come from the coffee side of the food industry and have several years of experience. The man we met was a man of few words, and though reserved, distinctly communicated pride for this little coffee shop. Not only do they search high and low to find new coffee varieties and create new combination of beverages, savory and sweet delights to surprise their customers with but they also decorated the space with no help at all from a professional interior designer.

 

Address: Perikleous 17 & Kornarou 6     Map
210 3321330

Price per person: espresso €0,80, cappuccino €1,80, hot chocolate €2,20, sandwich €2,70, salads € 5,50 ,
dessert €0,60- €3,50

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am-10pm
Sunday closed

Mediterranean Diet Food List

Mediterranean Diet Food List

GOURMED‘s Food List for the authentic Mediterranean Diet  has a  wide variety of foods allowed that actually  minimize the possibility of many diseases. 

Food groups

Cereals

Every day, on the average, should include about eight servings of cereals and cereal products, preferably non refined ones, including bread. This guideline is not difficult to accommodate, even in the contemporary Greek diet, since Greeks still consume a lot of bread. Non refined cereals and their products provide a considerable amount of fiber, which is a desirable attribute.

Potatoes

Though some classify potatoes under vegetables, they nutritionally fit better under the category of cereals, particularly refined ones. Like white bread, potatoes have been found to have a high glycaemic index and current nutrition advice is that they should not exceed 3 servings per week.

Sugars

Simple sugars are plentiful in deserts, and also exist, or are added, in beverages, like coffee, tea, fruit juices, soft drinks and colas. They are also naturally found in many fruits. Simple sugars have glycaemic effects mainly comparable to or less than those of starch from cooked foods. Reduction of sugar intake can be accomplished through training during the early years of life. The use of sugar substitutes, such as saccharine and aspartame, has not been linked to human risk, but avoidance of excess consumption may be prudent. Although many Greek deserts are prepared with olive oil, a multitude of nuts, fruits and flour, rather than fresh cream or butter, the average daily intake should not exceed half a serving per day, or a serving every other day.

Vegetables and fruits

Every day, on the average, should include about six servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits. There is no risk in the excess intake of vegetables or fruits, so long as energy expenditure balances energy intake. Vegetables and fruits provide a considerable amount of fiber, several micronutrients (potassium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, carotenoids vitamin E, folate), as well as other compounds with antioxidant potential. The wild greens traditionally consumed in Greece are of particular interest, since they represent a rich source of antioxidants. Vegetables can be consumed either cooked in olive oil, or raw in the form of salads.

Pulses

Pulses are rarely consumed and rarely independently considered in FBDG of most countries. In Greece, however, olive oil allows the preparation of delightful dishes with pulses that share some of the health attributes of vegetables and also provide protein, albeit of moderate quality. Consumption of an average of one serving every other day is advised.

Herbs

Origan, basil, thyme and other herbs grown in Greece are a good source of antioxidant compounds and can be a tasteful substitute for salt in the preparation of various dishes.

Meat and eggs

Consumption of poultry, eggs and red meat should not exceed on the average one serving per day, and further reduction does not appear to compromise good health among adults. Poultry is much preferred over red meat, and eggs, including those used for cooking or baking, should not exceed 4 per week. So a person may consume 3 eggs and two servings of poultry per week.

Fish and seafood

Fish and seafood could physiologically substitute meat and eggs, but culinary, practical  and economic constrains dictate a recommendation of about one serving per day.

Dairy products

Consumption of an average of two servings per day of dairy products, in the form of cheese, traditional yogurt and milk appears compatible to good health and culinary traditions of the Greek population.

Added lipids

Olive oil should be preferred over other added lipids, in salads, fried or cooked foods. When BMI kept below 25, there is no scientific reason to limit olive oil intake, notwithstanding its high energy content. In a weight reducing diet, increasing physical activity and reducing caloric intake are priorities. Foods do not affect BMI in ways beyond those determined by their energy content. Specifically, reducing olive oil intake may not be the preferred option if this is to be accompanied by the reduction of vegetable and pulses intake, which are usually prepared with olive oil.

Water

Thirst adequately regulates water intake, except among the elderly and in some pathological conditions. In general terms, the higher the energy consumption and expenditure, the higher the quantity of water needed. Substitution of water with non-alcoholic beverages offers no advantage.

Ethanol

Consumption of alcoholic beverages equivalent to about 30 g of ethanol (three servings of most alcoholic beverages) per day among men and 15 g of ethanol (one and a half servings of most alcoholic beverages) per day among women have beneficial overall effects on health. There is evidence that consumption of wine during meals is more beneficial than consumption of spirits or beer outside meals, and some suggestion that red wine is more beneficial than white wine.

The 4 Golden Rules of the this Diet

Eat slowly, preferably at regular times during the day and in a pleasant environm
Prefer fruits and nuts as snacks, instead of sweets 
Prefer whole grain bread or past
Always prefer water over soft drinks

You may read Dr. Fedon Alexander Lindberg’s book for much more info to be learned about the Mediterranean Diet.

Ηealthy foods to lose weight

Ηealthy foods to lose weight

Ηealthy foods that are included in the Mediterranean diet help you lose weight and is well known for its contribution in reducing cardiovascular disease, cancer, cholesterol, etc

The Mediterranean diet embraces healthy food, even though it does not restrict you to specific food groups like a vegetarian diet. You never feel left out to any dinner you will be invited to.
Eating a Mediterranean diet has already been linked to a lower risk of what’s called the metabolic syndrome, heart disease, stroke, and dementia and has been Linked to Better Mood. 
The high nutritional value and the quality of the Mediterranean products, along with their tradition and experiential character, account for this diet’s special features.

So what healthy food are we suppose to eat while making this miraculous diet?

Grains and grain products
Vegetables and legumes in the majority of your dishes. Potatoes and starchy roots
Plenty of fruits
Milk, cheese, yogurt, other milk products and eggs
Oils and preferably olive oil rather than butter and margarine
Oily fish such as sardines, herring, salmon, mackerel and anchovies
Instead of salt why not use herbs, spices, lemon juice or vinegar
You may include some lean meat and trim off all the visible fat before cooking.

The benefits of all of the above, especially vegetables and fruits are maximized when they are consumed in season. So please check our table showing when you can find each one fresh.

Apricot Tart

Apricot Tart

tarta

 

A tart which in France  is called galette, here with tasty apricots.

Ingredients:

230 gr ready-made  shortcrust pastry

3 tsp apricot jam

12 to 16 apricots, stoned and quartered

1 egg beaten

Sugar to sprinkle for glaze

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 200 C.
Grease and line a large pizza baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Place the shortpastry pastry on the lined baking tray and then spoon the apricot jam over the middle part if the pastry, leaving a border of about 5 cms all around the outside of the pastry.
Lay the apricots on the jam in concentric circles, leaving an apricot half for the centre of the galette.
Brush the beaten egg over the pastry and the sprinkle with the sugar before baking in the pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fruit is soft and the pastry is crisp and golden.
Serve with ice cream

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

The diet that combines the colors, smells and flavors of Mediterranean cuisine and still controls our weight.

The Mediterranean Diet is an ancient diet and lifestyle that has relatively recently acclaimed for itsnumerous health benefits.
Here you will find a plan into the Mediterranean Diet. Gourmed has also books that you can read about this unique diet.
The Mediterranean diet has been associated with longer life spans and lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetableslegumesfruits and nuts, and cereals (that in the past were largely unrefined), and a high intake of olive oil but a low intake of saturated lipids, a moderately high intake of fish (depending on the proximity of the sea), a low-to-moderate intake of dairy products (and then mostly in the form of cheese or yogurt), a low intake of meat and poultry, and a regular but moderate intake of ethanol, primarily in the form of wine and generally during meals.
It has become customary to represent the diet in the form of a triangle (“pyramid”), the base of which refers to foods which are to be consumed most frequently and the top to those to be consumed rarely, with the remaining foods occupying intermediate positions. In the food pyramid, frequencies rather than exact quantities in grams are indicated, because most consumers think in this way about the foods they consume. Consideration of frequencies, however, implies a standardized portion size, multiples of which are to be consumed. These portions have been variously termed “servings” or, when foods of similar origin or composition are considered, “equivalents”.

A total of about 22 to 23 servings are to be consumed daily, in three or four meals. So, one serving is equal to:

·       one slice of bread (25g)

·       100 g potatoes

·       half a cup (i.e. 50-60 g) of cooked rice or pasta

·       a cup of raw leafy vegetables or half a cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped (i.e. ~ 100 g of most vegetables)

·       one apple (80 g), one banana (60 g), one orange (100 g), 200 g of melon or watermelon, 30 g of grapes

·       one cup of milk or yogurt

·       30 g of cheese

·       1 egg

·       ~ 60 g of cooked lean meat or fish

·       one cup (i.e. 100 g) of cooked dry beans

Cafe Avissinia: Hidden Magic

Cafe Avissinia: Hidden Magic

Cafe Avissinia is a magical and seductive gem, hidden within the chaos of Monastiraki market.

Hidden amidst the heaps of old furniture and other odds and ends for sale, Cafe Avissinia offers a welcome rest from the hustle and bustle of the market. The food is tasty, good-quality, traditional Greek cuisine with an Mideastern twist, but you will return for the warm, bohemian and even exciting environment. The colors are deep and suggestive, the old, traditional floor tiling is almost aristocratic and the walls are filled with expressive paintings collected over the years. Often, there is live music, the real authentic one.  At night, when the flea market is closed, one can watch the bright moon converse with the Parthenon from the top balcony, or simply allow the Cafe’s multi-colored lights and magical mood to envelop them in its seductive embrace. The view is stunning.


The food is absolutely the best in the area, Greek cuisine at its best. The grilled eel is truly magnificent, cooked to a buttery perfection! The same goes to the sardines wrapped in vine leafs and the ones  grilled. Simple still delicious, the Greek way of cooking.

We ordered the moussaka and I am so happy I can eat this delicious Greek dish in their magnificent verandah, exactly  the way my grandmother use to cook it. Bliss!
Do leave room for deserts because they are simply amazing. The rose petals spoon dessert tthat comes with the pannacotta is divine!


Cafe Avissinia, is the best ambassador of Greek gastronomy and the wealth of our cuisine, but what is also an absolute A plus is that Koufonikola’s hospitality is alive and vibrant.  They know what service means, and believe me this is rather difficult to find now days.

Cafe Avissinia

Kinetou 7, Avissinia square, Monastiraki
tel 210 3217047

 

Stuffed Tomatoes from Constantinople

Stuffed Tomatoes from Constantinople

Gemista, in Greek,  means Stuffed and it is my favorite summer dish in the whole wide world.

Ingredients:

6 large bell peppers
6 large tomatoes
1 kg  onions pureed
2 large garlic cloves pureed
1 cup greek olive oil
½ cup pine nuts
2/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup white wine in tepid temperature
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4  cup  rice
1 ½ cups plain breadcrumbs
3-4 medium-sized potatoes, cut into medium-sized pieces

Procedure:

Soak the raisins in wine for half an hour.
Cut the tops of peppers and remove the seeds and membranes.
Cut off the bottoms of the tomatoes.
Cut a thin slice, don’t cut too low  and make sure to keep the corresponding lid close by, so they don’t get mixed up when using them as caps after you stuff them.
Using a spoon, scoop out the insides (most of the flesh, juices and all the seeds) of the tomatoes, being careful not to scoop too close to the skin, you need to leave a layer of flesh otherwise they’ll break open. Chop and reserve the pulp and juices.
Heat 5 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onions over low-medium heat until wilted, for about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for a minute.
Mix in the tomato pulp and juices, the herbs, raisins in wine and pinenuts, and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, or maybe a bit of cayenne, if you like. When the mixture starts to boil, add the rice and turn off the heat. When it is cool enough to handle using a spoon, stuff the vegetables and put their cap on top.
Lightly oil an ovenproof  dish. Put the stuffed vegetables in and arrange the potatoes in between in such way as to keep them strait. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the vegetables, pour the rest of the olive oil all around the pan, cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 o  C . Remove the foil and continue baking for 15 more minutes until the potatoes are done.