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One Day in Athens for Foodies: Learning Greek History by Eating

Culinary tourism is a prevalent trend for destination travel. If you are planning a trip to Greece, there is no better way to enjoy amazing food than one day in Athens devoted to the food and taking a food tour!

What better way to explore the history and culture of a region than by savoring the local cuisine? This is particularly true for Greece which has a history dating back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used wine and olive oil in their daily diets. Subsequent generations of people introduced more complex recipes and spices into gastronomy.

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koulouri in athens, greece

Athens for Foodies Tour with Greeking.me

If you are traveling to Greece, you will invariably begin and end your journey in Athens. You can immerse yourself in the rich culture and eat like a Greek by spending several hours walking through Athens neighborhoods tucked away from the well-known tourist attractions on the “Athens for Foodies” tour offered by the travel and tourism startup company Greeking.me, which can be booked through Viator.

On a perfect, sunny Athens morning in late September, I joined the company co-founders, Anna and Nikos at Syntagma Square, just across from the Parliament building built as a palace for King Otto after the Turkish invasion.

Here we grabbed a koulouri, a soft, pretzel-like breakfast snack made from water, yeast, flour, salt, and sesame seeds. Since it’s the most popular street food in Athens after souvlaki, many vendors are getting in on the act with other varieties incorporating raisins, cheese, and even chocolate chips.

Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece

Our next stop at the Chatzi pastry shop included a traditional recipe that started as a medicine first described by Anthimus, a Greek doctor in the 6th century. Taken to settle an upset stomach, rizogalo is a simple pudding made from rice and goat’s milk.

rizogalo in Athens, Greece at the Chatzi pastry shop
(Rizogalo on left. Malebi on right.)

Rice originated in India and spread west through Persia, but wasn’t used widely in Greek cuisine until the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

We also sampled a sweet treat known as malebi, created with buffalo milk and mastic, a compound derived from a small evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region, and recently found to have properties that cure ulcers.

athens, greece Greeking.me food tour

A culinary tour in Greece wouldn’t be complete without sampling a pie, a completely different food than the dessert pies Americans eat. The ancient writer, Artemidorus described pie as a hand-held snack food that Greeks ate when chatting at the market or watching theatrical plays. I sampled a simple cheese pie at Ariston on a motorcycle-lined street near parliament.

We strolled through the city at a leisurely pace, passing by Kapnikarea Church, one of the early Christian churches dating to 1050 A.D. and built on the site of a temple to Athena, from which Athens derives its name. We passed by an organ grinder (laterna) who plays songs with a monkey and outstretched hand for tips.

Krinos pastry shop loukoumades in athens, greece

At the Krinos pastry shop which is popular with older residents, we ate loukoumades, golden fried balls of dough covered with honey. Loukoumades were given out as prizes to the winning athletes in Greek Olympic games. If you tried one, you’d prefer this prize over a gold medal.

In addition to the stops listed here, the tour consisted of two actual sit-down meals. We had a full lunch at Epirus Tavern at the Athens Central Market where shoppers get up close to the meats, fish, and cheeses they buy for meal preparations.

We dined on Yemista (tomatoes stuffed with rice), Chilopites (pasta) and Soutzoukakia (cumin-spiced meatballs). We sat down to another full meal of pork chops and side dishes at Minotavros tavern.

Athens for Foodies tour with Greeking.me

We toured a cheese shop, spice shop, herb store, and cured meats store, all with plentiful sampling.  At the end of tour, we relaxed with a cup of coffee and learned the history of Turks introducing coffee to Greece. What is known as Greek coffee is a similar drink to Turkish coffee, but slightly lighter in color. The four-hour Athens for Foodies tour with Greeking.me is a culinary excursion in Greek history.

For further information or to book a tour, contact:

m: +30 6942070899
a: 190, Syggrou Avenue
Athens, Greece

5 Best Athens Food Tours

Greek Food

Athens For Foodies: More Than A Greek Food Tour

Go behind the scenes in Athens to taste authentic Greek cuisine on a food and walking tour led by a knowledgeable guide. Experience daily life in the city as you visit a variety of eateries and discover culinary gems that are favorites of the locals.

The 10 Tastings of Athens With Locals: Private Food Tour

This foodie tour extravaganza is the ultimate way to get a taste of Greece. By traveling with a private guide, you’ll get a personalized experience and who will take you to visit multiple local Athens food hotspots, such as markets, food counters, and more. Highlights include trying Greek olive oil, souvlaki, and doughnuts.

Athens 4-Hour Cooking Class with Central Market Visit

Immerse yourself in the culinary history and practices of Greece during a half-day traditional cooking class with a local chef in Athens. Tour Athens’ Central Food Market to purchase produce, then head back to the kitchen to prepare dishes using the local, fresh ingredients.

Athens Street Food Walk

Explore where the locals hangout and eat in Athens on this small-group food tour. This foodie adventure includes a pie shop to taste traditional spanakopita pie made on spot with the freshest ingredients, the best Greek street food, souvlaki/gyro and peinirli, tasting local beer and delicious desserts like Greek doughnuts with ice-cream and honey-drenched desserts with paper-thin phyllo.

The Original Athens Pub Crawl

Discover the best of Athens nightlife on a fun-filled pub crawl. Skip overpriced tourist traps and follow your guide to the Greek capital’s top bars and clubs. Throughout the evening, enjoy three different welcome shots and 1-hour of unlimited beer and sangria.

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Athens for Foodies tour with Greeking.me

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