On our culinary experiences, there’s always that sweet tooth person who waits (im)patiently for the final food spot dedicated to Greek desserts. Even though our guests soon fill up with tons of Greek goodness, they always keep a “separate stomach” for that last delightful bite!
Here’s five finger-licking Greek desserts to start with, and we promise to come back for more.
One of the most well-known Greek desserts has a controversial history. Every country in the Eastern Mediterranean makes their own version of the baklava and they all claim its name as their own. In Greece, baklava is made with walnuts – as opposed to pistachio baklava you mostly find in the Middle East. Layered with crispy thin phyllo dough, brushed with butter (or olive oil for vegan baklava), drenched in honey or sugar syrup, spiced up with cinnamon and clove and baked till golden brown. What more can you ask for?
Oh yes, to actually eat it! Enjoy baklava topped with ice cream in our Greek food tour with Greek desserts and follow that famous Greek movie line that says “I don’t want to know about it, I want to eat it!”.
Greek donuts? Yes please. The local alternative to doughnuts are loukoumades – deep fried dough balls (a.k.a. little bites of happiness) topped with honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. This is one of the most traditional Greek desserts and it’s still to be found in Krinos, a truly vintage cafe-pastry shop in Athens, growing up to be almost 100 years old, (along with its sweet and loyal clientele).
Recently our traditional Greek dessert got a “revamp” and in newly-established businesses like Lukumades, you can even find an extensive variety like vegan loukoumades with chocolate praline or savoury, with cheese and pepper jam.
Greek yogurt has taken the world by storm eaten as healthy breakfast, but few people know that in Greece we consider it as one of the Greek desserts as well; usually topped with honey or fruit preserves. Even fewer people know that the real Greek yogurt is not the one with strained cow’s milk but the one made with sheep’s or goat’s milk and a thin layer of fat skin on top.
Don’t be surprised if it is brought to you for free at the end of your meal at a restaurant, it’s a Greek hospitality gesture, saying thank you for coming. Don’t skip it, no matter how much you’ve already eaten. It will help you digest your lovely meal, offering beneficial probiotics and enzymes to your body.
Food is a way to connect with our past and history, a timecapsule that links us to our ancestors who lived ages ago on the same part of the world. Pasteli is one of the Greek desserts, a super healthy honey sesame bar – or nuts, prepared pretty much the same way in Greece since ancient times.
Back then, the bee was deified and honey was considered the food of the Gods. Unlike processed sugar, honey is pure and natural, as all healthy foodstuff in the Mediterranean diet, playing a significant role in our traditions and rituals. Together with nuts and sesame, they make up a match made in heaven and give you a boost of energy for the rest of the day!
Whenever we have guests from Turkey, Northern Africa, Middle East and the Balkans, with whom we share a common culinary culture, it’s always hard for us to find something new and “exotic” for them to try. Still, there are slight variations in our foods and we all have a different story to share.
Tahini halva is ours and our neighbours’ super food. In Greece you will find it plenty during Lent, when animal-derived products are not allowed for believers. It is a simple recipe made with sesame paste (tahini) and sugar as a basis, and then you can add either nuts, for almond or pistachio halva, or cocoa for chocolate halva (vegans in Athens, this is your thing!). Another healthy version is semolina halva, the kind we share with our Indian guests as this is the main halva in India.
Do you think what we think? Yes, a Greek dessert tour will indeed send your taste buds to heaven! Drooling already? Contact us to organise a mouthwatering food tour in Athens exclusively for you.