the best pies in athens

the best pies in athens

The Greek word for pie is pita, which is not to be confused with pita bread. Usually an extra word is added in front of pita, so you get tyropita, which is cheese pie; spanakopita, or spinach pie, and so forth. These savory pies are sold in individual portions in bakeries all over Athens, but the best pies in the city – and possibly the most famous – can be found at family owned Ariston, which has occupied the same spot behind Syntagma Square since 1910. The store’s specialty are kourou pies, which is an odd name since I am pretty sure kourou is the archaic term for a statue of a naked male youth, made with a homemade phyllo dough containing yogurt and butter. Stuffed with salty feta cheese, the butter-rich dough crumbles in your mouth and makes for a scrumptious hand-held snack somewhere between a pasty and a pastry.

kourou

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tzatziki time

tzatziki

Thick Greek yogurt spiked with garlic, cucumber, dill and drizzled with olive oil: there’s never a bad time for tzatziki.

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live blog: fro-yo realness

I’m not one of those devoted fans of frozen yogurt. And ice cream – except for those summer days when the pavement is practically melting – leaves me cold. (Ba dum dum) I am, however, addicted to the goaty goodness of strained Greek yogurt. Given the fact that Greece has been about as temperate as a wok this summer and almost every person I’ve passed in the street these weeks has been unabashedly lapping at giant cups and cones of soft serve, it is a wonder I’ve not put the two together. Soaked in sweat I at last made that correction today in Crete with a simple dish of frozen Greek yogurt topped with sour cherries. Delirium ensued with the first spoonful – along with a palm smack to the forehead. Cool, creamy, thick and spunky, this fro-yo can be summed up in one word: fierce.

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live blog: breakfast of olympians

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eggs to order

Even with expectations of a Spartan culinary spread, the bush breakfast promised during this morning’s game drive sounded too cool to pass up – and well worth the extra-early rise. A thermos of coffee arrived at my tent with the sunrise and next thing you know we were off in search of wildebeest. “In search” might be a bit of a misnomer, however. Across the river from Sala’s Camp a mega-herd had come to graze, which made the whole enterprise less White Hunter, Black Heart and more Jeeves and Wooster as we, in effect, toured the great herd. Nevertheless, driving in a hundred thousand-strong herd of animals brings is its own thrills and sense of adventure. Alighting on a large rock in the middle of the herd, the driver and tracker set up a proper table, chairs, a wash basin and I breakfasted on fresh fruit salad, yogurt, muffins and good, strong coffee amidst the most unbelievable surroundings. When the driver asked me how I liked my eggs I thought he was joking – until I noticed the sweet smell of bacon and sausage coming from the direction of the Land Rover, where they had hooked up a small gas stove. Who was I to argue? I went for two: sunny-side up, please.

 

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