The best way to describe the Yoleni’s food experience is through the words of a visitor to Athens who describes it in TripAdvisor: “What a find!”. Now add to that “What an experience” and you have a winning combination of Greece’s finest food products available for sale and a dining experience that will whet your appetite for more.
What started off as an online shop for specialty food items has evolved into a mega boutique of the best edible products from dozens of micro producers across Greece, and now into an on-the-spot eatery in the heart of Athens, offering these very products on a plate.
Attending the presentation of Topos by Yoleni’s, GTP Headlines had the chance to indulge in a wide array of traditional dishes prepared by younger-generation chefs for the company’s new Topos endeavor with the consulting touch of food expert George Pittas.
“We’ve brought on board six female cooks and chefs who prepared 18 dishes representative of Greece, hoping to offer our customers a homemade cooking experience of our mothers and grandmothers,” Nikos Kouris, sales manager for Yoleni’s told GTP Headlines, adding that “the idea is to introduce Greeks to dishes from other regions and foreigners to recipes prepared as closely as possible to the original dishes veering away from the touristy versions we often come across.”
Discovering Greece Dish by Dish
The evening alternated between a brief introduction to each region and its traditional dishes by Pittas, who is also the founder of the Greek Gastronomy Guide (GGG), followed by a poetry reading, traditional music from the region performed by a four-member group of young instrumentalists from the Zisi Foundation, and then … the big moment, the food.
We sampled everything from velvety fava (or split pea puree), succulent cod with Corinth raisins, and a mean rooster Pastitsada to an eggplant ragout, a carob-based herb pie, and a smooth trahana pasta with mutton – to name just some of the 18 traditional dishes on offer from six Greek regions, not to mention the colorful salads.
“The idea is for Topos by Yoleni’s to introduce visitors – both Greek and foreign – to local dishes, wines and products, and through their experience here whet their appetites for more, initiating them in a way and stimulating them to seek more of the product and traditional tastes when visiting a particular destination,” Pittas told GTP Headlines.
“Each product holds within it the identity of a region… the Yoleni’s experience served on small plates is the ‘ambassador’ … together with the Greek Gastronomy Guide, visitors to Greece get a culinary passport of sorts enabling them to embark on their discovery of Greece and Greek food with well-researched guidance and information.”
The six cooks/chefs who curated the dishes are: Constadina Voulgari dishes for Crete, Lila Tsatsi behind the edible offerings from Epirus, Eleni Armeni for the Ionian Islands, Filitsa Karamanli for the Aegean Islands, Stella Spanou for the Macedonia-Thrace region, and Stavriani Zervakakou for the Peloponnese.
Meanwhile, the restless foodie can find any product or recipe from any region in Greece and order online at Yoleni’s site. The company ships to 28 countries, and the site and blog offer everything from recipes and foodie secrets to gift basket ideas and nutritional insight.