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The historic Plaka district might be one of Athens’ most popular tourist destinations, but there’s another part of the area that visitors rarely see, one where the city’s ancient heart beats a little louder – particularly through the neighborhood’s food. It’s that culinary aspect of the district which we explore with our food tour in the area – and that you can bring to your own home and kitchen through our “Backstreet Plaka” box and an included virtual video tour.
To create this box we teamed up with Malotira Deli, a stop on our Plaka tour, which carries an exquisite selection of specialties made by small producers from across Greece. We normally stop at Malotira to sample olive oils, so naturally the first product we chose for the box is a can of Liokarpi, an award-winning oil from Crete made using the robustly-flavored Koroneiki variety of olives. To that we added another award-winning small batch Cretan product: fragrant thyme honey, perfect as a sweetener in baking recipes or as a topping for Greek yogurt. We also chose several items promoted by Wise Greece, an NGO that helps small producers bring their traditional products to market. From a grower in southwestern Greece’s Messinia region we have a pack of kalamata olives, perfect on their own or in a traditional Greek salad. And from Tzekos, an organic herb grower in northern Greece’s Chalkidiki region, we chose packs of oregano and thyme – two of the most classic flavors used in Greek cooking. The box makes a nod to Corfu by including a package of sykomaida, a dried fig cake made with a touch of ouzo that’s a traditional speciality of that island. To end things on a sweet note, we included a box of rose-flavored loukoumi (the Greek version of Turkish delight), this one made by an artisanal producer in the western Greek town of Agrinio.
Included in the bag are two other items – a Culinary Backstreets tote bag and a copy of our Athens local eating guidebook – both of which we hope you get a chance to use on the ground in the Greek capital very soon.
Extra: Included with your purchase is a link to stream a video virtual “tour” of Athens. Hosted by our local bureau chief Carolina Doriti, who curated the box, the video takes you through the city’s backstreets to get a deeper sense of the products in your box, the people behind them and their role in neighborhood culinary culture. It’s our way of bringing Athens a little bit closer to you.