I should start by saying this: come to the tour hungry! Athens for Foodies is best enjoyed on an empty stomach. And that’s because you will eat. A lot! 15 dishes to be exact! You will also discover Athens and a lot of interesting things about its culture, history, and, of course, food.
We met our guide, Elena from Greeking.me, at noon on a scorching hot (at least for us) Saturday. We have been up since early morning, had nothing to eat, and already did our own walking around Plaka (as we’ve been to Athens before and wanted to explore before the crowds were up and running). So we were certainly in the perfect mood for an Athens food tour.
I was surprised that the foods went from sweet to salty, rather than the other way around. But it worked. Perfectly. I really don’t want to spoil the fun for you so I will keep the details at a minimum.
In Syntagma Square we had our first taste of koulouri (Greek sesame bread rings) and found that the “bagels” that are sold on the streets of Athens, all come from the same factory. Therefore, you can never make a bad choice.
Then it was off to another place where we tried sweets (and discovered that the Balkans do have a lot similar foods). A cheese pie followed and then my “bucket list” food. Ever since my first visit I have been dreaming of loukoumades. Yes, they were divine. Similar to some doughnuts we do in my home country (didn’t I just mention the Balkans?) and a taste you will not forget.
It was then time for my nose to dance in the coffee shop. Nikos from Coffee Blend needs a special mention as his passion for coffee met mine and I’ve felt in heaven. And I asked a lot of questions. His love for mixing and roasting coffee has shown through his words. I couldn’t leave without buying some coffee to brew at the place we stayed in Athens.
Elena, knowing I am mostly vegetarian, has asked me if I was OK with passing through the meat market. I assured her I was OK. And I was fascinated by the fish market!
But, a warning for all vegans and vegetarians: do make sure to express your choice as you won’t have to pass through the meat market if you are not OK with that.
Time for lunch at a taverna, where Elena, again, took into account my culinary preferences. My husband is not vegetarian so the meal also included moussaka (which, yes, I did taste). It also included two dishes… I cook at home without even knowing they are Greek.
After a delightful meal – when we also chatted up a storm – we made our way to the “cold cuts” part of the tour. For me, it was all about cheese and olives, while my husband also tasted the pastrami. Oh yes, and tsipouro.
Olives, olive oil, wines, spirits, and then the amazing Greek coffee followed. And speaking about the Balkans, the way my grandparents used to make coffee when I was a child is the Greek way (and godmother still makes coffee this way!)
All in all, we had an amazing time with Elena, discovering areas of Athens we would have never gone on our own (Omonia). A welcomed bonus was the new addition to the tour: street art!
What we loved best:
- learning about coffee at Coffee Blend
- the cheeses we tried
Things to keep in mind:
- wear comfortable walking shoes
- keep your personal belongings safe all the time in crowded areas
- consider carrying a water bottle (if you do the tour during summer)
- the pace of the walk is slow, so anyone can do it
- highly recommended even if you are not a foodie (we certainly are not)
Greeking.me is a creative Greek travel agency, which specializes in taking small groups on highly customized experiences. They focus on how the guest feels on the tour and pay attention to the little things that make a difference.
There are a variety of tours to choose from if you visit Athens, including walking tours, culinary experiences, activities, and workshops. And if you plan to visit other parts of Greece (Crete, Santorini, etc) you will find some other interesting choices, as well.
Although my food tour was sponsored, this fact didn’t influence my opinion about the experience.
All photos have been taken by Cristina & Alex from LooknWalk Greece and may not be used without permission.