While it may not be well-represented outside of Greece, Greek cuisine goes well beyond feta cheese, olives, and other common favorites. On this Athens Food Tour we'll join a local chef to explore local markets and specialty food stores, delving into the varied, nuanced, and often highly localized world of Greek food. Along the way we'll sample local wine, taste thick honey with full-fat Greek yogurt, and try oily olives and anise-flavored ouzo. Are you hungry?
Athens Food Tour
Food culture in Athens revolves around the central market, the Varvakios Agora. Here, nut vendors vie with butchers and fishmongers in a heady, excited atmosphere for the attention of passersby. On the surrounding streets specialists in honey, cheese, and fresh-baked pastries offer a fantastic array of foodstuffs that demonstrate the intricacies of Greek cuisine.
After a cup of rich Greek coffee paired with sticky-sweet treats, we’ll stroll the area surrounding the market. We’ll visit several bakeries to discuss the centrality of grains in the Greek diet, explore the seasonal offerings at the vegetable market, and wind down a street devoted to cheese and spices. Here, we’ll sample a wide variety of Greek cheeses, taking care to break down the stereotype that Greek food—and specifically, Greek cheese—is one-dimensional.
Depending on the day, we’ll also take time to visit a number of different merchants, many of whom specialize in one item or another. Examples include the garlic merchant who keeps an ad-hoc seed museum of local edible plants, and the medicinal herb purveyor who carries on the traditions of his ancestors. There will be several opportunities for tasting along the way.
Our tour will include a turn into the Varvakios Central Market. Depending on the interests and stomachs of the group, we’ll pass through the lively meat and fish markets where we can discuss the various uses of animals in Greek food, from innards to local seafood. We may also walk through one of the market restaurants to catch a glimpse of local fare in its least manicured state.
Our walk will wind down at a local Greek tavern, where we will share a rustic lunch with retsina
wine. We will emerge from the market and from our time together with a much better appreciation for the nuances, history, and depth of Greek culinary traditions. To explore more about the history of food in Athenian society try our Ancient Agora of Athens Tour
Can we start the tour later in the day? Some of the markets and vendors that we visit close after lunchtime, so the walk can only proceed in the morning.
Can this walk be tailored to my dietary needs? Yes, but please check in about any dietary restrictions before your walk so we can make arrangements with your expert.