I was reminded of the extraordinary array of Greek sweets this week when one of my friends asked me if I had eaten a sweet boughatsa yet. Sweet boughatsas have a creamy custard filling, encased in fillo dough, served sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. One should not visit Thessaloniki without experiencing one; miss this, and your taste buds will never forgive you.
Okay, so we all know about delicious delicate leaves of pastry doused in honey and nuts or encasing creamy custards. But do you know about the other Greek pastries, or about their chocolate, or--when you put both together--their chocolate pastries? When it comes to these confections, every pastry chef is an artist. I remember being surprised by a sweet Greek boyfriend who, knowing that I was a bit pissed off at him, showed up one night with the most beautiful heart-shaped chocolate cakes I had ever seen. They were almost too beautiful to eat…almost. Or another time, during my first trip to Greece after my mother came for a short stay, on the island of Hydra. What does she remember the most about her Grecian travels? The pastry shop that was hidden from view, several hundred winding meters from the port. We turned a corner, and there it stood. It was something out of her gourmet chef dreams. Every pastry was a little miraculous fantasy, daring all to eat it. I don’t remember how many different ones we tasted. There were tarts with every fruit imaginable, hazelnuts galore, caramels and chocolate…lots of chocolate. Then there are the chocolate-covered sweets wrapped in foil that should read, “Surprise inside,” because you never know what you’re getting. My fav are the Volos figs wrapped in chocolate…a sheer dream. And there’s the homemade sweets from any and all things imaginable—quince, sour cherry (another fav), watermelon...even olives!
Sorry, my concentration was disturbed by some of the locals (goats) passing by. Bet you thought that only cows wear bells.
So I ate my overstuffed two kilo souvlaki in pita with tzatziki (yogurt-garlic sauce), onions, tomatoes and fried potatoes and forced myself to walk around (looking for an evil eye pendant) to make room for this mouse that was awaiting me in the hotel refrigerator.
I got back, announced to the hotel clerk that my friend had left me a mouse, and gave him my room number.
I had no idea that mice tasted like this, and I, like my friend, devoured it whole.
I think that I may come back as a Greek cat in my next life.