Ergon All-Greek General StoreJun 4th, 2011 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Appetizer, Charcuturie, Cheese, Condiments, Cooking Tour of Greece, Featured, Greek Food, Greek Wine, Halkidiki, Herbs, Meze, Olives, Pantry, Sani Resort, Thessaloniki
Readers of this blog will know that I try use and feature Greek products in my cooking whenever possible. There is still a supply/demand gap here in the West but the situation is improving year by year. In Greece prior to it’s entry into the EU (1981), one would only find local Greek goods and very few imported goods. Today, one can find almost every food item from all over Greece. This is becoming more evident with shops similar to Ergon opening-up across Greece.
I first discovered Ergon’s existence during my visit to the Sani Gourmet Festival in Kassandra, Halkidiki, where they have just opened a second shop. Myself and my food blogging friends were treated to an afternoon of noshing on some of Ergon’s fine products (with the help of some Ouzo & Tsipouro). I met Thomas Douzis and his staff and quickly found out that Ergon’s flagship store was located in Thessaloniki and that I should pay them a visit. No arm-twisting needed.
Ergon sells only Greek-made products from Crete to Macedonia, Epirus to Rhodes, Thrace to Messinia….the four corners of Greece! Ergon’s goal is to feature and carry products made by small artisans and they receive tips from their local clientele on the newest discovery. Ergon keeps very busy just checking out these new products and from chatting with Thomas, his enthusiasm for Greek artisan food products makes me believe he’ll stock each and every one of them!
Upon entering Ergon, you’ll get a whiff of the pastourma that hangs in the back of the store over the deli counter. Located deep in the store like a bank vault you will find deli meats like prosciutto, pastourma, pastrami, salami and sausages…..all made in Greece. Beside the deli meats are the precious cheeses that come from all over Greece: Cretan Graviera, Batsos from Macedonia, barrel-aged Feta, smoked Metsovone from Epirus and even an aged Manouri….all Greek!
Ergon is a “pantopoleon” – selling practically every pantry item for the Greek household. An array of legumes like chickpeas. beans and lentils are supplied by small producers and Ergon has many of its own labeled products, carefully vetted before appearing on their shelves.
What would a Greek general store be without olives? How about an array of olive oil, including a local olive oil from Halkidki? Ergon even sells cookbooks, there’s grape leaves, a small selections of wines, Ouzo and tsipouro.
Shopping at Ergon, one can buy goods for all three meals of the day: how about some organic eggs, or Greek yougurt made from goat or sheep’s milk? An array of marmalades, rusks like Cretan Dakos, and Greek gold…honey!
For lunch, try some of the legumes and make baked gigantes beans or a pot of Fakkes soup or Fassoulada? Don’t forget Ergon has a wide array of herbs and spices to complement your pantry.
Ergon is the type of store where one can make an impressive meze table featuring the “best of Greece”…truffles in oil from Grevena, aged cheeses from distant islands in the Cyclades, wild boar sausages, smoked Apaki (pork) from Crete or spreads made with Feta, taramosalata, roasted red peppers, smoky eggplant or a fig spread?
One of the products I went loopy over were these lasagna chips that had the texture of corn chips but were flavored with onions, spinach, oregano and they were ideal for dunking into an array of sauces. Ask about their mustards….some of the best I’ve had in years. The red pepper and tomato sauces are great on their own or to complement one of your dishes.
Ergon’s flagship store is centrally located just off Tsimiski in Thessaloniki’s shopping district. It’s located at 5 Kouskoura Street
Gregory Palama, a small street just west of Diagonios and it’s within eye’s view from Tsimiski. Ergon’s second store is located at the Sani Resort, in the marina. You’ll find in beside the Tomato restaurant and they carry almost all the goods found in Thessaloniki.
Ergon’s Sani Resort location also just opened a small Ouzeri that includes a menu developed by Master Chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos. I can’t wait to go back and try out more of the products on Ergon’s shelves, chat with the guys and talk about food, food, food while nibbling on some cheese and slices of deli meats and what the Hell…pour some tsipouro!
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