Gastronomic tourism in Athens: discovering Greek culinary traditions

The agora of the Ergon house (market)

Greece is a paradise for culinary tourists, with a surprising variety of traditional cuisine for such a small country. For visitors looking to start in Athens, Greek Liquid Gold has investigated three popular food tourism destinations that provide access to some of the secrets of Greece’s culinary tradition: the Mediterranean Diet Deli, Yoleni’s and the new Ergon House.
The Mediterranean diet grocery store actually goes by its long Greek name, To Pantopoleion tis Mesogeiakis Diatrofis.* Just a five-minute walk from Panepistimio metro station, at Sofokleous 1 and Aristeidou 11, To Pantopoleion has been one of the first stores to bring to Athens a wide variety of traditional Greek agri-food products from various regions – more than 3,000 products from 225 cottage industries, women’s associations and rural cooperatives.
Although its staff does not speak much English, the store is worth a visit, given its excellent selection of Greek extra virgin olive oils, olives, vinegars, condiments, honey, cheeses, wines , liqueurs, pastries, sweets, etc. The store offers authentic products made with pure, preservative-free ingredients, many of which are organic, many of which are based on traditional recipes. Customers can taste the olive oils and vinegars to choose the ones that suit them best.
George Giousmadopoulos told Greek Liquid Gold that many people “who want to find something good” have visited the Pantopoleion, including tour groups and individual tourists from all over the world, during his 14 years of promoting the regime. Mediterranean as a healthy way to eat.
A more recent arrival on the Athens food scene (November 2016), Yoleni Greek Food Center, located at 9 Solonos Street in the upscale Kolonaki district, is a short walk up the hill from the Parliament building. and Syntagma Square. Offering a variety of traditional Greek products, from extra virgin olive oils to cured meats and preserves, Yoleni’s also includes a café, restaurant, wine cellar, cooking class room and Greece’s first oil bar. olive in Greece.
Neighborhood regulars and tourists alike frequent the street-level store which showcases a slew of Greek products and offers samples of olive oils and tempting treats. The store, restaurant and cafe are open all day, every day. An extensive menu based on authentic traditional recipes lists the origin of ingredients from six Greek regions. The distinctive character of each location is so important to Yoleni that it inspired the name of the Topos restaurant (upstairs). Katerina Kalaitzi explained to Greek Liquid Gold that Topos means place, “the place we love, the place where we were born – my country, my village.”
Focusing on an essential Greek product, the Olive Oil Seminar at Yoleni’s Olive Oil Bar introduces the historical, cultural and nutritional importance of olive oil and its central role in the famously healthy Mediterranean diet. It also corrects common misconceptions, shows how and why olive oil can be used daily, explores different food pairings, and guides participants through a tasting of four Greek olive oils that will prepare them to taste and select the best extra virgin olive oils for their needs. .
Culinary tourists can take part in the olive oil seminars (40 minutes, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings); tastings of 6 to 8 different wines from different regions (with cheeses and charcuterie, for 1h to 1h30 every evening); and Greek cooking lessons (followed by the enjoyment of the results, Wednesday evenings, 2h30). Book online or by calling Katerina Kalaitzi (+30 212 222 3600); groups are welcome to make special arrangements.
New to the Athens culinary scene this year, Ergon House draws lively crowds to 23 Mitropoleos Street, less than a ten-minute walk from Syntagma Square (heading towards Monastiraki). Step inside and you’ll be impressed by the vertical herb garden rising above the produce section of the Agora (market) on the right, and the 4-story mural of the hunting goddess Artemis by famed street artist INO that fills the left wall. In the center of the spacious glass-roofed atrium restaurant, a 200-year-old olive tree grows, emphasizing the centrality of olives and olive oil to the healthy Greek diet that forms the basis of Ergon Foods.
The ground floor and mezzanine of Ergon House contain the restaurant and the Agora, the latter created with the Greek farmers’ market (laiki agora) in mind. Dedicated to Greek products, the Agora includes an olive bar, fresh products, a fishmonger, a butcher, a delicatessen, a pastry shop, groceries, wine, alcohol and Greek specialties, including of course the extra virgin olive oil. (As George Douzis told Greek Liquid Gold, “if you have Greek produce, you must have olive oil.”) Reservations are helpful at the restaurant, a lively place buzzing with conversation, a staff very friendly and helpful English speaker and wonderful mushroom and cheese risotto and desserts (among many other things).
Go upstairs to the hotel’s 38 rooms on four floors and you enter a completely different atmosphere, calm and tranquil. As the “first fine-dining hotel”, according to its Facebook page, Ergon House includes not only the expected business center and fitness room, but also two kitchen areas used for cooking classes for four hours every Friday afternoon. midday. At other times, hotel guests can reserve the kitchens for their own cooking or eat in the restaurant below them. (A hearty breakfast in the restaurant is included in the price of the room.)
For snacks, each room has a mini deli shop featuring custom cocktails from Clumsies famous mixologists, as well as ouzo, soft drinks, pasteli, breadsticks, rusks, spreads and other Greek treats. The rooms also have espresso machines and Greek mountain tea to enjoy in a minimalist contemporary decor. To top it off, there’s a rooftop cocktail bar with olive trees and views of the Acropolis.
Restaurants can provide excellent samples of Greek gastronomy; through Ergon House, Yoleni’s and the Pantopoleion, food tourists can also explore Greek culinary traditions through a more active engagement with key elements of this rich cultural heritage.
* Pronunciation of To Pantopoleion tis Mesogeiakis Diatrofis – actually Το Παντοπωλείον της Μεσογειακής Διατροφής: toe pan-doe-poe-LEE-proper teesse-mess-oh-oh
Originally posted on Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( Check out this site for olive oil recipes, photos from Greece, agrotourism and food tourism suggestions, and olive oil news and information.


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