8 Things You Need To Order in A Greek Bakery
For generations of Greeks, every day would start with a visit to the bakery to secure a fresh loaf of bread or psomi.
While bread is the undeniable king and focal point of every Greek meal, there is a whole range of products, flavours and incredible baked goods that you should aim to try during your next Greek bakery visit.
From traditional pies to sweet desserts and cookies, you will find these products even in the smallest neighbourhood bakery. So, next time you visit a Greek “fourno” here are some things we recommend you try.
The spanakopita, with the emphasis on the “ko”, is the quintessential Greek bakery item.
The simplicity of the sweet spinach leaves and crusty phyllo has been the breakfast of choice for thousands of Greeks, whether hot or cold. Every bakery will offer at least two options of “spinach pie” as well as the “spanakotiropita” which includes heavenly salty cheese tucked within its layers.
When it comes to types of spinach pie, you can go with the classic spiral and crunchy phyllo or the traditional ‘village’ spanakopita with a thicker and denser phyllo that more closely resembles homemade recipes.
If you are in a rush, a few mini spinach-pies will keep you full and satisfied on your way to work.
Koulouri with Sesame
The koulouri has a long history that traces back to ancient times but has remained popular as a quick and filling working-class breakfast that can be enjoyed on the go. Similar to a bagel in appearance but not in texture, koulouria (the plural) are soft dough often decorated with sesame seeds and eaten either as is, with a layer of cream cheese or a chocolate spread.
You will often find them being referred to as ‘koulouri Thessalonikis’ for the city that is credited with their creation, but can be found all around the country and in every single Greek bakery you will visit. They are best eaten in the morning when fresh since they tend to harden after a few hours.
Bread with Prozimi
Anyone that has lived in Greece can attest to the fact that the bread is delicious and consumed in large quantities every day of the week. The most popular type of bread is the ‘horiatiko’ or country loaf that goes best with the Greek salad. But you should also try the bread with prozimi. Prozimi is yeast but the Greek traditional wheat sourdough is not made with baker’s yeast but with the slow yeast starter that gives it a unique acidic taste and elasticity.
Make sure to ask your friendly baker for the different types of ‘bread with prozimi’ that they offer. Some of the most popular options are those that are half-half.
The name comes from the Turkish ‘peynir’ which translates to cheese and was brought to Greece by immigrants from the Black Sea. It is one of the most popular types of fast food and can be found with a range of fillings, as well as meat. Good yellow cheese is, however, the main ingredient.
Bougatsa is another Greek bakery item that has been linked to the city of Thessaloniki but can now be found around other areas of Greece as well. A combination of phyllo pastry and sweet custard semolina cream topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon, bougatsa is the breakfast choice of many.
If you prefer the savoury version, you will find bougatsa with feta cheese, spinach and mince.
Bread with Raisins
You will find these soft and irresistible loaves of bread in every bakery around Greece. Sugar-free and perfect for the periods of fasting or those that follow a vegan diet, raisin bread is a healthy and filling option for your breakfast or afternoon snack.
Ravani and Portokalopita
The best thing about Greek bakeries is that they are not limited to bread and breakfast pastries but double as pâtisserie shops, with cookies, desserts, and all sorts of sweet options that will tempt anyone.
Syrupy Greek desserts of ‘siropiasta’ are a category of Greek desserts that can also be found within your local bakery. Instead of limiting yourself to baklava, go for a rich and moist slice of ravani or portokalopita (orange pie).
These honey syrup-soaked cakes explode with the flavour and aroma of orange zest, cinnamon and cloves. They are perfectly combined with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or yoghurt, both of which can also be found within a Greek bakery!
One of the most versatile and healthy snacks you can find around Greece, pastelia (the plural) are honey and sesame bars packed with antioxidants and a great source of iron and calcium.
These crunchy treats can also be found with nuts, such as almonds, pistachio and walnuts.
Rania grew up in Thessaloniki and after some years of travelling around the globe has now settled down in Auckland, New Zealand. When she’s not studying to complete her undergraduate degree she’s either reading, writing or exploring the outdoors.
She loves going on mini adventures, whether it is an impromptu road trip, exploring her local op shops and antique shops or going on multi-day hikes. She is interested in photography and strongly believes that feta should be consumed with every meal.
She also thinks Greece is the best holiday destination and invites anyone that thinks otherwise to prove her wrong.
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