Did you know that 70% of vacationers factor in food when deciding where to travel? So, it comes as no surprise that many choose Greece as a travel destination and one of the purposes of this blog is to bring you (the reader) closer to the Greek cuisine. Some want to relive the sights, aromas and tastes, others eat vicariouslt through this blog. Both parties welcome!
One of the most popular dishes among Greeks and non-Greeks has to be Bougatsa. Bougatsa is a type of phyllo pie that may contain a filling of semolina custard (the most popular). There there’s cheese filling and for those with a heartier appetite there’s kima or mince meat.
Most Greeks will buy some Bougatsa for a quick breakfast or a late morning/afternoon snack. Most Bougatsa shops sell out of their product by mid-afternoon and they close for the day. After all, they have to wake up early to make the dough, filling and bake the next day’s Bougatsas…ready for the morning rush.
Bougatsa is a specialty of northern Greece with the best being made in Serres and Thessaloniki. Bougatsa is made by placing the filling in the middle of hand-stretched/opened phyllo. Last summer while in Greece I had the privelege of watching father and son opening phyllo dough at their Bougatsa shop in the Panagia Faneromeni neighborhood of Thessaloniki.
I have learned to open phyllo from my mom but the method of opening phyllo in the air like the Bantis’ do is awesome and I want to be able to do this too!
Isn’t Dimitri amazing? If you’re going to visit Greece you should also visit Thessaloniki and taste authentic Bougatsa. Bantis Bougatsa is located in the Panagia Faneromeni neighborhood and although you will find Bougatsa shops throughout the city, perhaps a dozen are making their own phyllo and Bougatsa.
Dimitris and son Philippos allowed me to then try and open phyllo in the air then make my own Bougatsa by placing the filling in the center then folding the phyllo dough around the filling liked an envelope. This experience was one of the most memorable of last summer’s trip!
Now watch son Philippos open phyllo in the air, just like his father Dimitri taught him!
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