A Taste Of Athens | Tea & Post

Monday, 20 October 2014

A Taste Of Athens

There's always been a special place in my heart for Greek food, from their colourful, fresh salads to a piping hot, creamy moussaka. It wasn't until I came to stay here for a prolonged time that I realised just how many dishes exist and how little I know about them. Turns out moussaka isn't originally Greek! I decided to delve into their food history a bit further by booking myself onto a food tour.

Standing outside a ZARA shop with a Starbucks in one hand, I didn't feel very Mediterranean as I waited for Artemis (our tour guide) and the rest of the group to appear. After initial introductions, we headed down the street to the first stop of the food tour. A yellow stand giving off the most heavenly smells, containing a number of baked goods where Artemis bought several koulouri to share between us. A round sweet bread coated in sesame seeds, the only way I could describe it is a mixture of a pretzel and a bagel. In Greece it is eaten as a late breakfast.

Before we went to our next location, we were led to a small Greek Orthodox church where Artemis suggested we step inside. It was a very old church filled with beautiful paintings and gold embellishments. I felt slightly disrespectful clicking away with my camera so I only took a few photos. You can see just how beautiful the church is in my next vlog which will be posted on Thursday.

Our next stop was a short walk away from the koulouri stand. We sat upstairs in the small shop and waited with our mouths watering for the next treat. It came in the form of a small donut known to the Greeks as loukomades. Fried dough absolutely drenched in sweet, sticky honey with a powdering of cinnamon and a few crushed walnuts scattered on top. They were so, so good.

We followed the road down to a H&M shop which bizarrely leads through to the meat and fish market. A lively, bustling warehouse filled with stalls covered in thick slabs of meat and containers of glistening, silver fish. The air is filled with men shouting out their best prices, trying to sell their produce. Everything looked so fresh and seemed a lot cheaper than the prices of the supermarket.

Coming out the other side of the market, we wandered up the road, turning a corner to find a Cretan shop where we would be sampling various treats from Greece's biggest and most prolific island. Amongst these treats were three kinds of olive (two of which only grow on the island), thyme honey, two kinds of cheese, rusks dipped in olive oil and olive paste, white wine and honey infused tsipouro. We also tried two types of jam and were told to guess what they were. The first was a very sweet flavour but not quite that of strawberry, it turned out to be carob jam. The second, a strange flavoured orange jam turned out to be olive jam. Crazy! It tasted pretty good though so I bought a jar to bring home with me, apparently it's especially nice when eaten with cheese.

Another market was the next port of call, this time selling a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. There was also a smaller stall that was laden with jars of tahini and curious looking blocks called Halva. They are a sweet created from the tahini together with a variety of ingredients. Artemis informed us that the Greeks tend to eat Halva a lot during their religious festivals when they do not eat anything that contains blood. It was very tasty.

It was then time for another stop, a dried meat shop which has the only vertical garden in Athens. We weren't in this shop very long but we had the opportunity to try some Badormar (dried beef), washing it down with a shot of tsipouro.

A herb and spice shop was next, it smelt gorgeous, largely thanks to the array of fruit and herbal teas. I'll definitely be making a return trip to buy some before I go back to the UK. We also tried some mastik, a natural chewing gum that is only produced in Greece. It is said to be very good for your teeth and gums, neutralising the breath and strengthening the jaw. It was also tough to chew and without taste, I don't think I'll be replacing my Wrigley's with it anytime soon.

Another stop where my mouth watered as soon as we stepped through the door was a small café where we tried a piece of Galaktoboureko. Thick, warm custard sandwiched between two pieces of filo pastry and dusted with icing sugar. I'm not normally a fan of eating sweet things but this was just too good to pass up.

Our final stop was in Psiri, a restaurant where we could sit down and have a meal together. We were told that this is a new addition to the tour and I think it's a brilliant idea, especially as someone who was travelling alone. It gave me the opportunity to get to know the rest of the group better as well as enjoying a delicious chicken gyro. The perfect end to the tour.

 Our guide on the food tour was wonderful, both friendly and informative. I feel like I learnt a great deal about Greek culture as well as their food. It cost me €44 and I booked through KeyTours, it's well worth looking into if you're in the city.


  1. I can't handle the fact that i'm sitting here reading this whilst eating a slightly over-ripe apple and an energy drink... Great post.

  2. haha thanks! Enjoy your apple :)

  3. What a FANTASTIC idea! So often when you go on holiday you think you're getting an authentic dining experience, but being shown round by a local and getting to try loads of local dishes sounds just amazing! I've never come across a tour like this before but next time I'm planning a holiday I'll keep an eye out for something similar!

    Chloe x

  4. It was such a great way to see the city and really get a feel of their culture. Would definitely recommend taking a food tour wherever you next go :) I'm going to be keeping a lookout for them when I next go away too!

  5. Hi Lauren, great story. It was nice in Athens, wasn't it? (We were together on the boat trip to Aegina).

  6. Hi Marion, it was lovely meeting you :) Delphi was also rather wonderful but I think Aegina was probably the highlight of my trip!

  7. […] using it as a base to explore other parts such as Delphi and Corinth. I also booked myself onto a food tour to eat as much Greek food as possible see what Greek culture is truly like. I learnt even more […]


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