41 Evripidou str., Athens - Deli Karamanlidika

Summer Picnicking in Athens

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Their #pastourma, made with camel, lamb or two cuts of beef, is always seasoned with a potent red paste called çemin, very redolent of fenugreek, garlic, cumin and paprika.

#Kavourmas is a confit of chicken or beef rolled into a large cylinder like #mortadella and scented with spices and herbs; its consistency is similar to the rillettes of France. Besides these distinctive specialties, you’ll find the more familiar dried #sausage, exquisite #smoked #hams and roast #pork to add to the picnic basket.

As for cheeses, given the enormous variety, you may have trouble choosing between hard and soft – aged gravieras, smoked or studded with peppercorns, medium-soft kasseri, goat cheeses flavored with different herbs and spices…

Athens, unofficially known as the Big Olive, has many delightful spots for a picnic in all seasons. Okay, in summer perhaps you’d rather be on the beach – and that can be arranged if you hop on a bus or tram for the southern coastal suburbs of Voula, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza – but in the city proper you can spread your meal on a hillside with a view of the Acropolis.

With the weather often sunny and mild even in February, all you need is a little DIY initiative and the ability to resist the temptation of a snack at one of the many “fastfoodadika” or a sit-down meal in an air-conditioned taverna.

Your appetite will be whetted as you walk along Athinas Street in the Central Market district, about equidistant from Monastiraki and Omonia squares. On the west side of Athinas, you’ll find lots of shops selling hardware and potted plants to distract you, and you’ll also probably stop to look in the bakery window where a white-suited man stands tossing pastry for mini pizzas and cheese pies all day every day. You may be tempted by the falafel stand, too, or by the souvlaki souk at the bottom of Ermou Street, where it joins Monastiraki.

But if you’re serious about preparing a classic picnic with bread, cheese, cold cuts, fruit, veg, wine and maybe even some red caviar, then we suggest you head straight for Evripidou Street. Here you will be able to buy a picnic basket or bag, disposable plates and glasses and even a tablecloth should you so desire from the kitchen equipment shops that share the street with spice emporia that look as though they’ve been imported from Istanbul.

Our favorite deli in this area has actually become two: Arapian, a hole in the wall so narrow there’s only room for the showcase and perhaps three customers, and its new (two-year-old), much larger store-cum-all-day-restaurant, Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani, on the corner opposite. They specialize in the preserved meats of Central Turkey, delicacies like pastourma, kavourmas, soutzoukia (piquant Anatolian beef salami) and cheeses from all over Greece. The forefathers of Fanis, the present owner, brought the recipes with them from Cappadocia when they were resettled in the Macedonian town of Drama after the population exchange of the 1920s.

Their pastourma, made with camel, lamb or two cuts of beef, is always seasoned with a potent red paste called çemin, very redolent of fenugreek, garlic, cumin and paprika. One doesn’t normally eat this, but it flavors the pastourma and keeps it surprisingly delicate and tender. Kavourmas is a confit of chicken or beef rolled into a large cylinder like mortadella and scented with spices and herbs; its consistency is similar to the rillettes of France. Besides these distinctive specialties, you’ll find the more familiar dried sausage, exquisite smoked hams and roast pork to add to the picnic basket.

As for cheeses, given the enormous variety, you may have trouble choosing between hard and soft – aged gravieras, smoked or studded with peppercorns, medium-soft kasseri, goat cheeses flavored with different herbs and spices…

To awaken the appetite and seduce customers, Arapian often has a little grill outside the shop where sausages may be roasting. They have also been known to offer a shot of tsipouro to complement the spicy flavors. The selection is even larger at Ta Karamanlidika, so take your time, don’t be afraid to ask about any of the products on display, and by all means taste before you buy.

From Ta Karamanlidika head north on Sokratous Street for two blocks, and if olives are your passion, turn left onto the first side street, where there’s a rather startling sight: dozens of open bins of olives of every description as well as pickles, worth a photo at least.

Source, Photo: Summer Picnicking in Athens

Μόνιμος Σύνδεσμος: http://karamanlidika.gr/summer-picnicking-in-athens/