Seeing as how it is Holy Week for the Greek-Orthodox, most of us are fasting in some degree and we’re also juggling the duties of preparing for the big feast that awaits us this upcoming Sunday for Easter.
Toronto boasts of having about 120,000 Greeks in the Toronto area, over a dozen churches and our very own Greektown (Danforth). The eastern side of the city (east of Yonge st.) has a large population of Greeks, many who left the inner city to pursue a better life in the ‘burbs.
In Scarborough, you’ll find many Greeks, there are two churches and many cafes, shops and businesses that are run by Greeks and cater to Greeks. One such store is Kostas Meat Market, located in Scarborough.
My family (like many other Greek families) have patronized Kostas’ shop for years, be it to stock up on olive oil, Greek pasta, spices, phyllo or of course, meat. Yesterday, I popped into Kostas’ to beat the mad rush of last minute Greeks who will be picking up their Easter Sunday supplies…the showcase being lamb.
What would Kostas Meat Market be without it’s fine reputation for meats andhis butchering? I’m delighted to share with you a virtual shopping tour of Kostas’ place, patronized by Greek and non-Greeks alike. Grab a shopping cart and let’s spend some money!
The main reason I stopped by Kostas’ place is to pick up some lamb. Kostas’ lamb is all from Ontario, butchered on the premise and for Easter, a register of lamb orders are kept to keep things orderly during the last few shopping days of Easter.
During Easter Sunday, an array of appetizers/mezedes are offered for nibbling while sipping some libations until the lamb is ready. One such delicacy are sweetbreads.
Greeks love their sausages and we do have an array of sausages from Macedonian, wine sausages and here, Spartan sausages with orange peel.
Not every family does the whole lamb on the spit for Greek Easter. Some families roast their lamb or prefer grilling smaller cuts, like racks of lamb or lamb chops.
Some kebabs might also see the grill to feed the hungry family and guests on Easter Sunday. After 49 days of Lent, it’s all about the meat!
Kostas does a brisk business also selling souvlakia, all made on the premise.
What’s souvlaki without some Tzatziki?
Kostas also sells a wide array of herbs and spices. Here, we have some of the world’s best saffron, from Kozani, Greece.
Greeks will often stop by to replenish their cache of Greek coffee and Nescafe for a iced Frappe coffee.
Greeks love their dry rusks, be it the Cretan Dakos or the other varieties, perfect for making canapes.
What would Greek cooking be without olives…lots of olives!
Other preserved items are also on offer. Here, roasted red peppers are a usual arrival on my table.
Tomatoes. Greeks love their tomatoes and back in the time before fridges existed, canning preserving foods was a neccesity. Kyknos brand tomato paste has been stocking Greek pantries since 1911.
Another must-have item in the Greek pantry is olive oil. Everyone needs some more olive oil in their cooking. Next time you need to buy some more olive oil – make it Greek olive oil.
Some of the best (if not the best) honey that’s produced in the world comes from Greece. Here, internationally recognized Attiki honey is made up of a blend of Greece’s finest. You get what you pay for.
Sea salt. I only cook and use Greek sea salt for all my cooking.
Kostas also has some frozen items, like phyllo and kataifi pastry. You want to buy your phyllo from a store like Kostas’, where the turnover is high, guaranteeing you a fresh, workable phyllo each & every time.
Also found in the frozen section was this huge octopus…I best Kostas sold a few of these during Lent!
Kostas also sells many dried items and foods. I’ve told you before…Greeks love their pasta.
Gigantes (lima beans) are a family favourite..be it on their own or as a side dish.
In the days right up to Easter, lambades are sold for adults and children alike. Just before midnight, when the clock has almost indicated it’s Easter, all lights in the church go out, our lambades are lit. As is customary, I bought three lambades for my godchildren.
A Greek food store would be nothing without the inclusion of cheese in their inventory. Here, large wheels of hard and semi-hard cheeses are on offer.
I was delighted to see Kostas also sell some barrel-aged Feta. This is the Cadillac of Feta cheese. It takes at least two months to make from start to finish.
If it’s not for Kostas’ fine meats and sausages, then you MUST at least stop by and buy a wedge of the barrel-aged Feta. It’s not cheap but it’s worth the splurge.
Kostas and his staff are always pleasant to deal with, prices are fair, his staff are versed in both English and Greek and if there’s a Greek food item you’re looking for…chances are Kostas will have it!
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