Monday, September 24, 2012

Krinos Bakery, Athens

I lived in France for some time and, while I'm not sure if it is the contempt born of familiarity speaking, I really think that a lot of places in the world do a far better morning pastry than the French.  A croissant is fine. A pain au chocolat has the sort of suburban "oh I shouldn't, I'm so naughty" air that's made E.L. James the richest fanfic author in the universe, but the really cognoscenti of the early-morning filthy nibble will tell you that it's all about the bougatsa

We went to Krinos on our first morning hoping to share a plate of their legendary loukoumades - a sort of leavened, fried donut, drowned in light syrup and dusted with cinnamon, but we were too early in our desire to be up the Acropolis before the sun and the coach parties became too unbearable.

Instead we had to settle for some of their sweet pies. I say settle...
To call this "Apple Pie" and "Cream Puff" is like calling Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel "interior décor".

We tried the apple pie. You know the McDonald's deep fried apple pie. That is to this what an Elvis impersonator in a third-rate seaside resort is to the man himself in his G.I. days. One raises feelings of agonised pity, while the other exercises an irresistible compulsion.

But the Marilyn to this Elvis, the "gone too soon, desired to the end" pastry, is the bougatsa. To describe it as a "cream-filled puff" is to do a travesty to the English language. Warm, flaky, flavoured with the merest waft of cinnamon, this pastry, Krinos' bougatsa moved me to tears of rapture.

But my head was turned on the second day by an altogether simpler snack - a plate of the loukoumades.

Oh loukoumades, I would die for (and possibly of) you.

We began the week sharing one plate of six between us. That didn't last long. Had we stayed longer I think we might have ended up with multiple portions each. And adjoining intensive care beds.

Light and crispy, these delicacies will do a number first on your taste buds then on your pancreas. But who cares?  A diabetic coma is just nature's way of making you rest between portions.

We tried these in a café in Santorini but they really lacked the Krinos magic. From the photos on the wall at Krinos they've been around for a while (ironically as a pharmacy at first, then later as a dealer of diabetes) and they've got very good at it.

To see what I mean, look for the mannequin at 87 Aiolou!

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