Key Flavors of Thessaloniki Culinary

Eight key flavors to get to know Thessaloniki’s culinary profile

Here are eight flavors that we should definitely taste in order to please our palates and also to get to know the city and its culinary culture.

Bougatsa [filo pastry] from Thessaloniki. It is a city trademark sought out by visitors and also an integral part of the locals’ daily routines. It could be called the perfect winter or summer tip for breakfast, and for a snack throughout the day. Some prefer the savory cheese version, others the sweet one with pastry creme. Some more demanding patrons seek out the more advanced bougatsa versions, with spinach or minced meat filling; a wealth of choices that are available in the city center.

Koulouri from Thessaloniki. A simple taste, with sesame as its main flavor feature, the Thessaloniki koulouri [bread roll] is ideal as a snack to start your day, and for every other time! Thin and crunchy or a little more doughy and soft, depending on your preference, it can be found at almost every street corner, on the trolleys of street vendors, in bakeries, pastry shops, and in snack shops that serve koulouri filled with sweet or savory ingredients.

Tsoureki. It is a baked confection that is most commonly known as an Easter delicacy, but in Thessaloniki it is enjoyed year-round, placed front and center in the windows of the most renowned pastry shops that claim the title of most creative bakers! Filled with chestnut or praline creme, covered in various toppings, tsoureki from Thessaloniki has become a must; it is now practically mandatory for visitors to the city to purchase at least one before leaving. In the city center, the fragrant smell of freshly-baked tsoureki is an original feature that enchants passers-by.

Trigona from Panorama. If we could say that there is one piece of old-style pastry making in Thessaloniki that continues to evolve, that would be the classic trigona [triangles] made of crispy fillo pastry and filled with pastry creme. They are holding fast against the onslaught of new-style desserts and remain beloved favorites for fans and the public at large. You can also find them in a more “experimental” version, filled with chocolate cream and topped with whipped cream.

Salep. It could be said that Salep remains the city’s traditional beverage, in this day and age when everything traditional seems to be disappearing. Served hot, topped with cinnamon, in the traditional small plastic cup from the street vendors on Aristotelous Square, just like in old times. It is especially predominant during the winter season, helping us fend of the cold and warm our insides. Demand peaks over the Christmas holidays.

Bougiourdi. Served in a clay dish, made with feta cheese, lots of tomato sauce and spicy green peppers, with soft yellow cheese and olive oil, and fresh oregano for a fragrant finish… Bougiourdi made in Thessaloniki is the city’s most renowned spicy dish. It is served in every diner, taverna, or restaurant as a basic appetizer, with roots in the Ottoman Empire, and its flavor wins over both locals and visitors.

Htipiti. In other regions of Greece it is known as tyrokafteri or kopanisti. In Thessaloniki, we call it htipiti and we order it with every meal. A spread made with feta cheese and spicy peppers, this traditional appetizer is available in every type of eatery, and often made at home, as well.

Mussels. Steamed, roasted in sauce, fried, served with pasta, mussels contradict the rumors claiming that Thessaloniki is gastronomically “bound” to meat alone. Mussels are in that category of delicacies that make foodies long for a taste. Other than in seafood restaurants in the city center, the freshest mussels can be found in Aretsou, Michaniona, and in the wider Prefecture of Thessaloniki that borders the sea.

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13 kilometres Thessaloniki-Perea, Thessaloniki, Greece, 57001

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