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Oh my, what a day with Eleni from Myrago! We met her at the Acropolis (would have been good to have known a way to identify each other…but eventually we “recognized”each other.
First stop in the Koukaki neighborhood was a coffee shop.bookstore where we were given a brief but thorough lesson in Greek history. (I definitely must have missed a few chapters in high school and college!). We were plied with Greek coffee and “sweet spoons” of quince, raw and cooked, and some orange…like jams. Delicious!
On to another bakery started by a man whose children now run it…and a business next door. Fun to see the “real” Greece neighborhood.
At the business next door we had “Three (3) cents” drinks…delicious!…sparkling grapefruit…I hope it makes it to MY neighborhood. A delightful man and a young woman gave up a seat for us so we could all sit together.
The next bakery/shop served a number of things including a gel made from musk from grapes!…delicious and very unusual. We loved it.
The to the market where we could not think of the word for fennel…but did finally think of shallots….a crazy 76 year old women connected with us. She was obsessed with the distinction between “love” and “sex” insisting that my husband must have had sex with someone else during our marriage…despite his protestations. She also was sure she could find sex at her age but never love. Eleni was horrified for her clients (us) because of this “wild woman.” But no need. We have crazy people at home too. So we moved on to more of the market and loved seeing and smelling it.
Then on to an amazing store run by two “former lawyers” who met in law school…and enjoyed the food and wine back then. A few years ago, they both decided they “didn’t want to die as lawyers.” They wanted to have fun. So they took all that they had learned and relished about Greek food/wine/etc. and turned it into a business. One of the highlights of this tour was the “neighborhood”…a real sense of the people ad they way they live…if you wanted more it would be easy to come back to a B&B…Athens is the 6th in the world for B&B visits…took wine and Rosehip jam home!
Then there was the last bakery…owned by sons now of the man who started it…10 stores…we met the manager of the one in our neighborhood. We had a “hands-on” experience working to make pastries with phyllo dough…buttering…folding…dipping in syrup flavored slightly with lemon…baked and then stuffed (yes we did it)with whipped something like mascarpone and then dipped in cartelized almonds. The manager would like my bread recipe for oatmeal blackstrap molasses bread!
The variety of experiences was amazing. Eleni was terrific, energetic, and enthusiastic, kind and clever. Each venue went to was “ready” for us with delectable treats and gracious shop owners and fantastic tastes of a wide variety of food and drink. Thank you Eleni!