Out and about with Michalis
Let’s join Michalis on one of his trips around his picturesque little town of Loutraki, as he gathers together only the best and the freshest of local produce, to be used in his delicious, traditional Greek dishes, served daily at the Agios Efrosinos magirio.
Michalis, with Nikos, outside the green grocers, next to them, Michalis’ trusty bicycle, and its small trailer filled with sumptuous, fresh, juicy vegetables.
Located on Ethnikis Antistasis Street, next to the railway track, where, up until the late eighties, ran the Athens to Loutraki train, you will find Nikos Vlassis, green grocer extraordinaire, the only green grocer in Loutraki who actually grows the produce sold in his shop. Nikos tends his quality crops, in fields situated opposite the Loutraki Casino, watering them with the famous, clean and healthy Loutraki water.
Michalis especially enjoys this trip to see Nikos, good friend as well as supplier, because, Nikos, being at the opposite end of the town to Agois Efrosinos, means that Michalis has the chance to take a leisurely, morning bicycle ride across his little town, watching it wake up and prepare for its daily business.
Michalis, with the baker (also named Michalis) and his family, just look at those mouth-watering kouloria (cookies)!
The bakery, run and owned by Michalis Kokkinos, is a typically Greek, family run, business.
Michalis, his wife and his mother, are up before dawn, mixing, kneading and baking our daily bread. Since the very first day, that Michalis opened his magirio, Agios Efrosinos, his first “Good Morning” (Kalimera) of the day, is wished to Michalis the baker.
Michalis at Mr. Sozon’s flour mill, buying flour.
Thirty kilometres South of Loutraki, lays the small village of Saint Vasilios, Nemea, where there still exists a small working flour mill, run by Mr. Routziou Sozon.
Mr. Sozon, coarsely grinds the local wheat, making the resulting flour rather difficult to use (It is not used commercially) but giving it an interesting flavour.
The pastry we make for our various pies, using this coarsely ground flour, produces a unique taste, causing our customers to search for our recipe, to no end result though, as they do not realize that the secret to good food, is not to be found in the recipe, but, in the quality of the carefully chosen ingredients.
Michalis with Sali and Pink, outside their fishmongers shop.
Sali is from Kourdistan, his wife, Ping, from China. They have two children, wonderfully named; Adam and Eve, and have lived in Greece for approximately ten years.
They have a small fishmongers in Loutraki, and, each morning, whilst buying sardines for Agios Efrosinos magirio, Sali greets Michalis with” Salaam Alaikum” (Arabic for Good Morning) while Ping greets him with ”zao shang hao” (Chinese for Good Morning).
Michalis, outside the magirio Agios Efrosinos, as Andreas delivers olive oil.
Every Wednesday, while on his rounds, Andreas makes a stop at Agios Efrosinos, to deliver fresh olive oil, liquid gold as Homer, the great Greek poet called it.
Andreas Koutsodimos has one of the most modern olive presses in the Corinth area and supplies Michalis with excellent, flavourful olive oil, all year round, along with a cheerful “Good Morning”.
Michalis in the Boleti Brothers Butchers, Yiannis Boletis, behind the counter. The Boleti brothers butcher shop is situated in the centre of Michalis’ small town, Loutraki.
The Boleti butchers, a streamlined, modern shop, is supplied with agioprovata from the mountainous regions of Corinth, a type of young lamb Michalis favours, known since ancient times in Greece, used for its milk, wool and meat.
Youlbassi agioprovata a delicious Greek traditional dish, consisting of lamb, slowly cooked in paper, is a staple of Agios Efrosinos, and owes its success, to the constant good quality and freshness of Boletis exceptional lamb agioprovata.
Michalis shopping for spices.
Bachar, one of the oldest spice shops of Athens, is found in the old centre of the city, an area now filled with Eastern immigrants, making their way to Europe.
This makes for a very interesting cosmopolitan area, not only the people and their cultures but also for the many different types of exotic cuisine to be found there.
Spices, therefore, are in high demand for the people now residing in this area.