Saint Fanourios pie is a fasting pie made in memory of August 27th.
According to tradition, fanouropita is made with seven or nine ingredients. These numbers symbolize the mysteries of the church, the days of creation, and the angels’ battalions. Seven or nine ingredients seem to further enhance the strength of the pie. According to popular tradition, Agios Fanourios is a great finder of lost objects. It is precisely this attribute that has created the peculiar worship practice during the day of celebration. Fanouroptia, after it is being blessed by the priest, it is shared to those who are present at the church.
The connection of the Saint to the lost objects is quite popular and comes from the paretymological alliteration of his name with the verb fanerono which means reveals in Greek. It is the Saint who reveals lost animals or things and good fortune. That is why in the Christian icons is depicted holding a candle in his hand, while in the faith of the people he has an oracle. The worship of Saint Fanourios appears to have originated in Rhodes, where, according to tradition, his icon was found when they excavated into the ruins of an old temple outside the city walls. His attire referred to a military saint. His worship was later spread to the nearby islands and mainly to Crete, where there are now three major monasteries dedicated to him and several Christian temples.
The offerings of bread and pastries to Saint Fanourios reveal the echoes of Modern Greek funeral customs, since the tribute to Saint is related to the posthumous fate of his relatives.
The fanouropita pie is usually small and round and is made from pure flour, sugar, cinnamon, oil and after all these ingredients have been mixed and kneaded, they are placed into a round shape and the pie is baked at a moderate temperature in the oven. It is a light pastry that can be part of a healthy and nutritious breakfast.

The traditional rusks: heritage from the Minoans

Rusks are ideal for breakfast, consumed with cheese, butter and honey, sausages or tomato and feta cheese. Traditional rusks are made from various cereal flours: corn, barley, wheat, rye or even carrot flour. They are made from bread baked twice to eliminate all its liquids in order to be preserved longer. This is because at the past, families were not financially able to have fresh bread daily. Rusks were in other words the bread of the poor, those who spent their day in the field or in the farms.
Rusks are also found in ancient times. Their name was “Dipyrite Bread” because they were twice burned in the oven. It is no coincidence that they have been identified with the Cretan diet, having accompanied the Minoans on their sea voyages. It seems that several varieties of rusks originate from Crete and have slowly spread throughout the country and adapted to the conditions of agricultural production and the preferences of the inhabitants of those areas. Nowadays one can find rusks made of barley or wheat, sweet rusks and rusk bites. Moreover, we can find salty rusks or flavored with anise, mastic, with orange zest or other citrus fruits or alcohol, usually wine.
One of the most popular rusk is ntakos (also called “koukouvayia”, which means owl), based on the PDO Cretan barley rusk. After the rusk has been soaked and moistened, a generous amount of grated tomato is spread on the rusk and top with cheese. Pepper is sprinkled and a good amount of oregano, drizzled with olive oil. Some add olives or capers. Dakos is considered one of the easiest and nutritious snacks of Greek diet. Rusks, with their pleasant and neutral taste give excellent tea and coffee company.

Τahini, a delicious superfood

It is nothing more than a thick paste of roasted, grated, peeled sesame, used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines. In these countries tahini is a common ingredient in sauces and soups, and in particular in the preparation of hummus, tahini salad and tahini soup.
The name “tahini” is of Arabic origin and probably comes from the word “tahana” which means “grind”. Sesame cultivation dates back to 1500 BC, when, according to Herodotus, it was cultivated in Mesopotamia, on fertile soil along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and it was mainly used for oil production.
Tahini is of exceptional value because it comes from 100% ground sesame, which results in the preservation of all the beneficial ingredients of sesame that is proteins of high biological value and many vitamins (B1, B2, E, etc.).
In Greece, tahini is used as a spread on bread, either alone or with honey or jam. It is also used as an essential ingredient in the preparation of tahini soup, fasting walnut pie and ice cream. Tahini is also the main ingredient of halva, which is mainly consumed during religious fasting, as a main food or as a dessert with cinnamon or lemon.
In addition to the common tahini that has no additives, we can find other products such as honey, stevia or cocoa tahini, tahini with orange or mastic flavor, whole grain tahini and enriched products such as calcium or prebiotic tahini.

Ancient Greek Nutrition

The nutritional habits in ancient Greece are saved either in ancient Greek and Roman literature or in artistic depictions of the time. Cereals and vegetables ranked first in their preferences. Wheat, barley and oats, but also lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, greens, onions, garlic, mushrooms, pumpkins, legumes such as beans, lentils and the chickpeas were served on a daily basis. Fruits made up the next largest food group within ancient Greek nutrition, such as grapes, apples, pears, pomegranates and figs. Nuts, olives, but also dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), eggs, honey, as well as herbs and spices (oregano, thyme, mint, parsley, silfio, coriander, pepper, cinnamon, cumin etc.) complemented the rich range of raw ingredients. Trade and the exploration of the East also brought new foods to the area such as citrus fruits, peaches and peanuts. Apicius, an ancient Roman traveller-cook and gourmet lover, reports that in classical Greece, three to four spices were used in a dish. Cooking in Greece, until 200 BC, was based on specific ingredients: wine, honey, vinegar, cabbage, dry and sweet wine, coriander, caraway, oregano, cheeses (mainly goat cheese), lamb, game birds, fish, dried figs, raisins and fennel. The consumption of red meat was initially occasional. Due to its high price it was mainly consumed at festivals or after sacrifices, and then with the trade development from the 4th century. B.C. and onwards along with the increase of wealth, meat consumption becomes more common while poultry, gamebirds, seafood and fish, especially in coastal and riparian areas, were more accessible.
Wine had a prominent place in the ancient Greek diet, and it will become one of the main ingredients of Greek and Roman gastronomy. In the 4th century. B.C. the first professional cooks appear in the ancient texts, while recipes of pastry and bakery travel all over the territory of the Greek world. The earliest compositions of cooking are referred to as mixes or mixtures, which is why the cook was called “magician” at the time and “mageirike” meant the art of cooking.
The philosophy of Greek gastronomy, rich in materials and techniques, consisted of balancing bitter and sour, moderate seasoning and sweetness in sauces. The secrets of ancient Greek cooking and gastronomy were documented by the philosopher and poet Archestratus from Syracuse (4th century BC) in the poem ” Hedypatheia”(Life of Luxury), as it is referred in Athenaeus of Naukratis work “The Deipnosophistae”. According to Archestratus, the five golden rules of gastronomic art are summarized in the use of raw food materials of good quality, combine them harmoniously, avoid hot sauces and spices, prefer lighter sauces to enjoy the meal and use spices moderately, so as to not interfere with natural flavours pure materials for food preparation, the harmony of materials between them, and in light sauces.

Ypovrichio (‘Submarine Sweet)

This is a traditional Greek treat, associated with summer evenings and visits to friends’ homes. Vanilla is named “submarine” because it is served in an ice-cold glass of water with a spoon of vanilla dived in it. There are many varieties of flavours such as mastic, vanilla, pink rose, pistachio.
Tradition says that this aromatic sweet was inspired by a Chios pastry chef in Constantinople. They called it “white sweet” and became the favourite treat in the Constantinople ‘s mansion houses. When the Chios refugees returned to their island, they added a mastic scent. Vanilla is a white and fragrant sweet, served as a treat for visitors to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
In the past, every home had this treat in its closet, especially in the summer when the rest of the sweets could not be preserved out of the refrigerator. This is how vanilla, starred in every household and was served in a glass of cold water. Vanilla is a simple sweet: it is based on sugar syrup with added flavour and a pinch of lemon. You can find it in many parts of Greece, but Chios is the protagonist, due to its large production of mastic in the island.

Trahanas energizing breakfast that tastes village

Trahanas or tarhana is one of the oldest foods in the eastern Mediterranean. It looks like a tiny gravel and it has many variations. Trahanas is produced with a variety of ingredients, such as semolina or wheat flour, groats or broken wheat, mixed with milk, sour milk, yogurt or even peppers or vegetable pulp and hot peppers.
The story of trahanas goes back to ancient times, as an evolution of the porridge that fed Greeks and Romans. Marcus Gavius Apicius, the Roman author of cookbooks of the 1st AD. century, refers to tractae (a type of viscous slurry used to coat any kind of sauce). According to another historical version it is believed that the trahanas originated from the eastern Mediterranean, had the name tarkhaneh and meant grainy food made from cereals and dairy products.
The preparation of trahanas begins in the first summer months, a period of excessive milk production. It is the ideal time to dry and get packed for the upcoming winter. The last phase of drying trahanas on a large surface for at least a week gave the name to a popular saying “spreads trahanas” which means that someone is very slow. When the ingredients have been mixed, they break into irregular pieces, dry and then crumble into smaller granular or gravel pieces (or passed through a sieve to achieve the same texture). Milk-based trahanas comes in two types: sweet and sour.
Although associated to village life and to our grandmother’s cellars, trahanas is back on the spotlight in recent years, and this is by no means accidental. It is a healthy super food and seems to attract the interest of nutritionists, researchers and chefs.
Greece is claiming the title of the country with the most extensive variety of trahanas and dishes based on it, while it may well be a delicious, energetic traditional breakfast.

The story of the frappe

Frappe no matter how one prefers to drink it (sweet, bitter, with or without milk, with ice cream, stirred or shaken, strong or decaffeinated) frappe is always refreshing and stimulating. The ingredients are simple: instant coffee and water, sugar, milk and ice and a straw to enjoy these freshening sips.
Our “national coffee”, as often described, is said to have been accidentally invented in 1957 at Thessaloniki International Fair by Dimitris Vakondios, an employee at the booth of the Swiss company Nestle, which was producing instant coffee Nescafe, which was is largely identified with the frappe. It said that Vakondios could not find hot water to make his coffee, so he used cold water and a shaker to stir the mixture. This is how one of the most widely known coffee beverage, that would then enter the daily lives of Greeks, was created. This story, although adopted by the company itself, is disputed by many, as there are references and advertisements of frappe prior to the event that took place during the Fair. It seems that the company had launched the iced instant coffee some years earlier and what Vacondios actually invented was the rich frappe foam as we now know it. The consumption of frappe was eased and it seems that the company adopted this version of the story as the time the frappe was born.
No matter what the real history of frappe, it is sure that this is the coffee that has accompanied many generations of Greeks in their most enjoyable moments. It is associated with the summer months of relaxation and carelessness, while its birthplace, Thessaloniki, has been linked to the reputation of a city which has a rather relaxed pace, usually accompanied and associated with the slow drinking of frappe.

The traditional Greek household

During the last decades, the fast and continuous changes in the way of living have alienate modern Greeks from previous habits of their everyday life, transforming them into a kind of folklore. But this does not affect the fact that these elements that tend to extinct, used to be an integral part of a forgotten way of living. One of these elements is the old home equipment, aka the devices of the household when electricity and water supply were kinds of luxury, especially on rural areas of Greece.A proper old-fashioned Greek household included utensils such as faucet, washtub, ice bucket, signboard, stove-oven, oil lamp, brazier, iron, mortar, etc.
The old fashioned faucet was a homemade construction, usually a tin, which functioned like the modern fountains for washing. Of course, in this particular case, the water did not come from a water supply system, but from buckets, pitchers or other containers that were transported there from a – near or distant – fountain. The washtub is the ancestor of the modern washing machines. The housewife or the maid (if we were dealing with a wealthy household) undertook the cleaning of dirty clothes using a soap. It is noteworthy that the washboat was also used as a bathtub. The icebucket, the fridge of those days, was the house’s supplier of cool and cold water, which was very important, especially during the summer, thanks to ice pieces bought from street vendors. A necessary ”gadget”, mostly on rural areas was ”pinakoti”, a wooden board used for baking. Other utensils of the old Greek household were the stone-oven which was used not only for heating but also for cooking, the oil lamp, the brazier (a portable and dangerous heater consisting of a pan or stand for holding lighted coals), a flat iron and other utensils suitable for cooking.

The Mediterranean diet

The term “Mediterranean diet” is used to describe the dietary habits of the people who live around the Mediterranean Sea. The special Mediterranean climate, the long periods of sunshine but also the soil conditions and of course the presence of the sea element have shaped the food culture. Olive groves, vineyards and the seabed have provided the raw materials for the Greek and Mediterranean diet. The most important of these remains the extensive use of olive oil.
All the guidelines and rules that one comes across in the Mediterranean diet books are essentially eating habits that the rural people already practiced in the Mediterranean countries. Meat is consumed in moderation; vegetables are included in the daily diet depending on their season of consumption. The dishes are mainly cooked with olive oil and wine which is an essential ingredient of the diet. The fruits are used in sweets or even as a snack, the wheat is kneaded in bread and the fruits if not consumed fresh they become jams and spoon sweets.
Oats, wheat, fruits, honey and tahini give the energy needed at breakfast to start the day. Fresh milk is flavoured with cinnamon and cloves while oat flakes with raisins, buckwheat and almonds add a nutritious and energizing breakfast.
Legumes, fresh vegetables and herbs are combined for the main meal of the day, while in the afternoon something sweeter such spoon-sweet, yogurt with honey is served. In the evening the most common meals are salads, pasta or cheese with herbs.
The Mediterranean diet is nowadays an important intangible heritage that offers significant benefits to health, quality of life and well-being. Recently it has been recognized as an integral part of Greece’s intangible cultural heritage, so in 2013 it was registered in the national index. The same year Mediterranean diet was also included in the UNESCO representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Spoon sweets… delicate offerings for the guests

Spoon sweets hold the sceptre of the most hospitable treat in any Greek household. Served with a glass of cold water it welcomes guests. Today it is also a popular choice for tourists, as they leave Greece, taking with them colourful souvenir spoons packed in small glass jars.
Their story seems to go back many years when there was the need for housewives to preserve fruits all year long either sun-dried or making jam and syrup. Sweeteners, such as honey and later on sugar, are natural preservatives, while they offer fruits a pleasant taste. Maintenance, canning and storage practices may have changed over time. In Asia Minor, women used to finish the thickening process in the sun. With the heat and when even the slightest trace of humidity disappeared, the sweets were ready to be stored. The syrup has a preservative role for it and for this reason the sweets could be maintained outside the refrigerator.
Nowadays people, using the richness of fruits offered by the Greek land, keep the traditions and make various pastries, such as spoon sweets. The recipes and techniques were widely spread, while being further enriched with new imported materials such as spices and sugar. This is the reason honey was later replaced by sugar, while cinnamon, anise, and cloves were added.
Lemon juice is always a main ingredient and the tradition spoon sweets to be offered to guests accompanied by a glass of cold seems to hold up well today.

The spices, taste and aroma on the daily table

Although “exotic” in origin, spices are an integral part of Greek cooking. A family of seasonings that give taste in every recipe and spice up every dish.
The spices traveled from the East to the West via the ‘Spice Routes’, the sea routes starting from the west coast of Japan, crossing Indonesia and India, reaching the Middle East ending up to Europe. Due to this sea route the growth of spice trade was established. The word etymology is sometimes attributed to the Pakistani word “bahar” while others claim that the word is Arabic or Turkish. The term spice describes all the aromatic culinary herbs and spices.
Spices have zero calorie value, enhance the taste of foods while at the same time the benefits to the human body are multiple. Cumin, carnation, spice, mustard seeds and saffron have important antimicrobial and anti-cancer properties. Antimicrobial and antiseptic properties are coriander, nutmeg, cardamom and pepper (white and black), while the scientific community supports that the use of spices and aromatic herbs may be a source of antioxidants, similar to fruit juices.
Spices have the ability to stimulate the sense of smell, to colorize dishes with their vivid texture and to “narrate spicy stories”, sometimes so hot they bring tears to the eyes. The “Gifts of Aphrodite” as they use to call spices, not only season our food but they also spice up our lives with their power to stimulate the senses. Their consumption is beneficial and their use is sine qua non in the world cuisine.

Salepi, winter beverage for the grey days

It is consumed warm in the cold days of winter. It is a powder that is boiled with sugar or honey and flavored with ginger.
Salepi is produced from the roots of the wild orchid, called Orchis mascula or cormorant. The ancient Greeks believed that the orchid was a symbol of manhood and fertility. They believed that eating orchid condyles could favor the birth of male children. This is the herb known as cormorant today.
Apart from the demulcent properties, salepi is also aphrodisiac and in antiquity it was also called “Satyrion”.Theophrastus first gave the name Orchis, inspired by the Orchid myth and the similarity of the double orchid root of the orchid with the male genitalia. Orchis was the son of Satyr and Nymph, who, during the festivities in honor of Bacchus, performed sacrilege Bacchus in order to punish him ordered him to become food for the wild beasts and transformed Orchis into a weak plant.
The Chinese used them to decorate their homes, while in the Middle Ages it was an essential ingredient for healing and erotic filters. The local orchids of the British Isles, whose roots are known as ‘dogstones’, were low-cost and consumed by the working classes as they were considered a ideal breakfast for the chimney sweeps. In the early days of the industrial era, the stalls selling salepi were numerous, before they became extinct disappearing completely after the emergence of coffee shops.
In Greece most of us know the drink that is offered to us by street vendors carrying bronze utensils and wearing white aprons.
This filmy, dense beverage softens the throat, acts as a respiratory decongestant and relieves the stomach. It is rich in vitamins but does not contain theine or caffeine that makes it suitable also for children. It is also used for making sweets such as ice cream with kaymaki, creams and jellies, and it is also very well combined with Chios mastic.
Due to its worldwide widespread consumption the demand of salepi now exceeds production, resulting in the risk of the plant’s extinction. For this reason the export of salepi has now been banned. However, different varieties of salepi from other eastern countries or substitutes with salepi flavor are available on the market.

Rizogalo (Rice pudding)

Its two main ingredients are rice and milk. With plenty variations rizogalo is actually served in many parts of the world. It is served as a dessert, as a snack and as part of a hearty breakfast.
By adding to this base, milk boiled rice, citrus zest, Aegina pistachio, rose water, mastic or even Kozani’s saffron, we can create wonderful and delicious variations of this creamy pastry that has many lovers. But the main spice that comes with it is cinnamon. Either by adding cinnamon sticks when boiling the rice, or sprinkling with grated cinnamon on the surface of the cream, the result always justifies our taste.
But if there is one thing that perfectly describes the feeling that rizogalo gives us is its texture. On the one hand it is creamy and at the same time the slightly crunchy rice grains give the palate a wonderful feel to anyone who tastes it.
Rizogalo is said to have been extremely popular with Greeks during the Turkish occupation. Others insist that it arrived in Greece with the National Revolution of 1821 along with other sweets of French origin. Others still argue that rice is rooted in the East, and in Asia Minor in particular, and came to Greece with the refugees that arrived in 1922. It may not matter much. Rice pudding is an easy to make sweet, as the ingredients it requires are easily found in an average kitchen. Wherever it comes from, it never disappoints us, while there are always other ways to try it and other flavors to add and make it even better.

Olive oil, “liquid gold”

The olive tree is a native species to Greek Land, cultivated in the Aegean as early as 2.000 BC, and oil, is omnipresent since then in Greek life: nutrition, religion, mythology, medicine, literature, art. Hercules planted an olive tree at the Temple of Hera in ancient Olympia, after completing his twelve labours. Goddess Athena donated to the Athenians the first olive tree in the world and this why it became the sacred tree of Athens. The Olive wreath also known as kotinos was the prize for the winner at the ancient Olympic Games. It was a branch of the wild olive tree. The Mycenaeans offered olive oil to the gods, while Homer called olive oil “the liquid gold of nutrition”. Aristotle considered the cultivation of olive trees a science, while Hippocrates used olive oil as a medicine.
Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet, one of the most popular and proven healthy diets in the world. It contains large amounts of monounsaturated fat (75%) and antioxidants, offering protection against the so-called oxidative stress, which causes aging. Medical research which took place in Europe and America has revealed that olive oil not only protects the heart but also helps in the good function of organs while it has a beneficial action to a wide range of diseases.
Olive oil is used widely in cooking, used in bread making and sometimes, in the case of a simple meal, may be the only ingredient that accompanies bread.

Mustalevria, an autumn dessert echoing wine aromas

Mustalevria, a grape jelly, is a healthy, fragrant and traditional seasonal sweet. It is associated with the coming of autumn and its main ingredients are must and flour, as the word itself indicates. Mustard is the grape juice produced before the fermentation process.
Mustalevira appears after the end of the summer holidays, when must is produced. One can find it clay or plastic cups in dairy stores, bakeries and pastry shops, and the secret to its success is the good proportion of must and flour.
It has a crystal surface, its texture is creamy, and it has a cool taste. The cream produced from grape juice has been sweetening for thousands of years now. Aristophanes refers to Pluto as an “ointment”. But “Oinuta” was also called in Byzantium, but also “pastel” or “must pie”.
Athenaeus records petimezi, making it apparent that in the ancient world this form of viscous must – as it appears after boiling was widely used. The same author speaks of the “Cretan glycine”, a kind of bread made with sweet must and olive oil. Apicius often refers to the preparation of sauces with the addition of raisins and boiled grape juice.
The name varies according from region to region. In Samos, for example, it is also referred to as kourkouta, in Crete it is called kefteria, while in Cyprus it is called palouzes. The nutritional value of must flour is very high due to its high content of minerals and vitamins. Specifically, the must is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and B complex vitamins, while minerals contain calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron. It is a good source of natural sugars, therefore consuming it gives the body immediate energy.
Mustalevria is served with a layer of sesame seeds and a pinch of cinnamon.


The word meze is associated with social gatherings, friends and small plates on the table full of delicacies, miniatures of meals, either in sunny balconies or in cosy tavern in the wintertime. Wine, tsipouro, raki or ouzo are the drinks required as complement for enjoying numerous meze dishes. The word comes from the Persian maze, which means “taste” just like the Turkish meze. The appetizer has a special place in the history and culture of our country. From ancient times, Greeks and Romans used to feast on small dishes with fresh fruits, wine, cheese, olives and vegetables accompanied by wine. Meze dishes were common in other countries as well in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Meze is served as an appetizer to welcome the meal but also has its autonomy at the table. Culinary art and imaginative combinations can offer unique compositions of meze. When meze dishes are served the forks can begin a journey from pickled vegetables to sea shells and seafood, to zucchini balls and cheese crοquettes, making a stopover at dolmades, which are delicious vine leaves stuffed with rice, fresh herbs, and seasonings and ending up the trip to the flavours to a pork “tigania”, fried pork marinated with wine and served as a welcome gastronomic gesture.


The ideal breakfast usually includes fruit jam. We spread it on bread or toast with butter or without, and we enjoy unique flavors and colors on our plate, satiating more than one sensation.
The first jams are said to have been originally made in ancient Greece in an effort to preserve the quinces with honey. This resulted in the “melimelon”, which in turn was processed by the Romans to discover the pectin that came from boiling the fruit. Since then, this sweet has survived and spread worldwide. The basic ingredient, along with the fruit or fruit combination we choose, is sugar. It is said that the jam was invented in its (almost) present-day form around 1560 by a doctor of the queen of Scotland, Mary, who mixed it with sugar in order to benefit her from nausea during a trip from France to Scotland. Because of this, there was an etymological version of the jam: “Marie est malade” (“Maria is ill”). As appealing as this story sounds, however, gastronomy experts disagree and insist that the word comes from the Portuguese “marmelo” which means quince and goes back to the ancient Greek “melimelo”.
It turns out that the variety of fruits and vegetables available in Greece has led to the need to find ways of preserving them from very early on. This is how everyone’s favorite jam was invented; by helping preserve and consume seasonal fruits all year round, at same time it provides us with the most fruity scents and flavors.


The lukum may be considered to be a Turkish-origin sweet (aka Turkish delight), however, there are regions in Greece that are famous for its production. Syros , Komotini and Serres are some of the areas known for producing these cubic sweet bites that create this wonderful chewy sensation on the palate.
In Syros the Turkish delight arrived from Constantinople in the early 19th century by refugees from Chios Island, who added the famous mastic to the confectionery. It is said that what gives the Syrian lukum its unique flavor is the brackish water of the island along with the years of experience following the art of making the delicacies. In Komotini, the sutzuk lukum, (sutzuk is a sausage), stands out for the way in which the nuts are placed on the inside and for the shape of the lukum (like a large sausage). In Serres, on the other hand, we find akanes, another variant of the well-known Turkish delight, is made with butter and requires a special technique in baking and boiling. Today, technology has given confectioners the means for the easier production of this particular sweet. It used to take hours of shuffling and paying attention to how the mixture (water, sugar, starch and aroma) was treated properly in boiling and baking, but now artisans can experiment different techniques and flavors and suggest new flavors, beyond traditional such as rose and mastic.
Traditionally, this Turkish delight is always present in Greek culture. From a simple visit, to weddings and funerals, lukum is served to accompany and sweeten our daily lives, our joy or our sorrow.

Loukoumades (Greek donuts)

They are one of the most delectable desserts. Loukoumades are delicious dough balls fried in hot oil, crunchy on the outside and fluffy from the inside, are ideal for any time of day. They are served sweet or salty and can sweeten our mood. They are usually preferred with honey and cinnamon, but there is no limit to garnish options: praline, fruit, and syrup of every taste, jam, and colorful truffle on top, nuts or even salty or sweet cheese.
Loukoumades are of simple inspiration and with all those choices in their garnishing, they can easily become one’s favorite sweet. That is why their history is lost in the depths of the centuries, and at the same time it is a delight that we can find, with minor variations, in many places of the world till now. The first references of this sweet were found in Europe by Callimachus. Aristotle, Archestratus and Aristophanes also mention it in their works. It is said that the recipe for its production is the first recorded ancient pastry recipe. A remarkable piece of information is that the ritual of honoring the Olympics’ winners in ancient Greece included a treat with loukoumades, something that was repeated at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in honor of the first Olympics. Their present Greek name derives from the Turkish word lokma which means “bite”.
For some, loukoumades are a symbol of happiness and fertility, while others consider them to be aphrodisiacs. The places where they are made are so many that it is quite reasonable to have obtained several ‘properties’ over the years. Whether they are true or not, the only thing for sure is that this is one of our favorite sweet treat.


Lagana is unleavened bread, which means bread made without yeast. Shape-wise it is flat, with a crunchy crust and a little crumb. Its characteristic aroma comes mainly from sesame and anise. Its name derives from the ancient Greek “laganon”, a flaky pastry made of flour and water.
The history of lagana dates back to ancient times and continues to this day. Aristophanes in “Ecclesiazusae” mentions the word “Laganas”. In his texts, Horatio mentions that lagana is “The dessert of the poor”. According to tradition bread without yeast was used by the Israelites during the night of the Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Since then the Mosaic Law has imposed on the Israelites the consumption of unleavened bread all the days of the Passover. The custom has been maintained, and so, usually after making lagana, Lent begins, the forty-day fast that ends on Easter, the day when Christ is said to have blessed the bread with yeast. The first day of Lent, the Clean/Ash Monday (called pure because housewives that day clean their utensils after the celebrations of Carnival), bakers prepare the lagana which we enjoy with a variety of meatless dishes.
From the dough of the lagana, we also make the so called Mrs. Lent, the figure of a woman with a cross on her head and hands in a prayer-like position with no mouth – symbolizing fasting – but having seven legs, one for each week of the period of Lent. Every Saturday we cut a leg counting in the weeks leading up to Easter.
In addition to Clean Monday, many choose to consume lagana throughout Lent as it is an extremely tasty choice accompanied with honey or tahini.