You probably know that Dan and I love a food tour, and of course we took one in Corfu Town, Greece this summer. This article details the tour and the delicious things that we ate. Unlike some of our other food tours, this was a food and historical tour, so food tastings were interspersed with a Corfu history lesson and stops at some important sites, such as Saint Spyridon Church and the Venetian Well. Here is Dan and me before the food portion got started!
ALL OF THE TRADITIONAL GREEK BREAKFAST FOODS
After seeing some beautiful sites and learning some history about Corfu Town (which I don’t go into here, suffice it to say it was the main highlights!), we stopped for our first tasting, a huge greek breakfast in Corfu Town’s old town. We first tasted cheese pies and spinach and cheese pies, which are basically the named ingredients wrapped in fragile phyllo dough. These are easy enough to find in Corfu and Greece generally, but these were really good. We also ate the sweet version, topped with powdered sugar. Next up were two new things for me, small spoons of tahini butter and chocolate tahini butter. According to our guide, Greeks use this similarly to how we use peanut butter and Nutella. I really liked the tahini butter and could definitely eat it on a regular basis (and should have brought some home!). We then moved on to the “delights,” or desserts. Baklava and a chocolate square were on offer as was traditional Greek yogurt topped with a fruit marmalade. Our meal was served with Ginger Beer, which is a type of soda popular in Corfu since 1950(!). To be clear, it does not contain alcohol and you can find it pretty easily around Corfu Town. What a breakfast! If you are in Corfu, you can probably find most of these things on the breakfast table, but not all together!
Our second stop was at the craziest spice shop in Corfu Town named Sweet N Spicy. Owned by a Canadian wife and Greek husband, Sweet n Spicy carries all sorts of spices, including traditional Corfu spice mixes, Greek spice mixes and even a few American ones. Here, we smelled a few traditional spices and did a blind olive oil tasting of three olive oils: one made with the owner’s mother’s recipe, one with her husband’s recipe, and one traditional Greek recipe. All of the olive oils were great, but we preferred the mother’s recipe. This shop is a great place to buy souvenirs to take home, including spices and olive oil! And yes, those traveling to the US can take olive oil and spices home – I recommend keeping them in the original package with the label for spices.
JACKIE KENNEDY’S FAVORITE BUTTER – GALAKTOPOLEIO PERIKLIS ALEXIS
Our next stop was a fun surprise: Galaktopoleio Periklis Alexis dairy shop. Perikilis Alexis is a very old-school, unassuming shop located just off of a main tourist street in Corfu Town. I would never had stopped had it not been for this tour. Upon researching it after the tour, this store’s butter is referred to as the “caviar of butter.” And, according to our tour guide, it was Jackie Kennedy’s favorite butter when she lived in Greece, and she even flew it to her husband’s island on a regular basis. Quite the reputation! At Perikilis Alexis we tried their famous butter on a baguette with honey and it was truly the best butter I’ve ever had. A bit sweet, creamy and not at all heavy. It was excellent on the bread paired with honey. We also tried a rice pudding-esq. dessert topped with cinnamon. That was also fantastic, but the butter was the standout for me.
We next made a quick stop at Lazaris Distillery and Artisan Goods. Lazaris is a Corfu brand specializing in liquor and sweet treats out of two of Corfu’s famous fruits: kumquats and lemons. As a result, most of their products are bright orange or yellow, and very easy to spot anywhere tourist things are being sold. Here, we tried the kumquat candy, kumquat chutney, chocolate and lemon candies that were sort of a marshmallow consistency, kumquat-cello, limoncello, kumquat cream, and lemon cream (both creams were like a Baliey’s Irish cream consistency). It was interesting to try this brand that we had seen so much around town. Lazaris sells these goods in a variety of sizes for tourists to take home as souvenirs or gifts. The airport also sold the liquors and a small selection of candies from Lazaris.
The next stop was at Stazei Meli for savory and sweet loukoumades. Loukoumades are traditional Greek snacks in the form of round fried dough. The savory ones, which I cannot recall previously having tried, were topped with Feta cheese, oregano and local salami. On the savory plate was also tomatoes and olive paste, both with oregano. This was my very favorite dish of the tour. Everything worked really well together. The sweet loukoumades were served with a honey-esque syrup and cinnamon. While very good, sweet loukoumades are easier to find, so these were not as exciting for me. That being said, this is definitely a great place to try this Greek dish!
Next up was a tasting of Greek wines at Arthaus! We were a bit iffy on this, as we don’t usually love Greek wine, but it was really good! Our guide also told us about some Tannic wine from the North of Greece that we found later on our trip. That was much more to our liking than some of the lighter Greek wines. For this tasting, we tried a local white wine from Corfu, a red and rose from the Peloponnese, and a Greek dessert wine. All were good, and I surprisingly liked the white wine the best. Our wide was paired with the most beautiful plate of Greek meats and cheese! The Greek salami and mortadella were my personal favorites.
TA KOKOPIA: A TRADITIONAL GREEK LUNCH!
The final stop was at a full scale restaurant called Ta Kokopia for traditional Corfu fare. Our meal started with one of my least favorite Greek things – ouzo with water. Greeks drink this before a meal as an aperitif. For those unfamiliar, ouzo has a licorice taste, and its just not my favorite. In any case, this ouzu was pretty decent, but that may have been because it was hot and the drink was cold! Our ouzo was paired with a Greek salad topped with a big wedge of Feta cheese, tzatziki sauce, and a fish egg sauce. The Greek salad and Feta were excellent, as expected. The fish egg sauce was too fishy for me. We ended the meal with two popular Corfu-specific dishes. The first was Sofritto, which is veal in a garlic and parsley sauce. The second dish was Pastitsada, or beef in a tomato and spice sauce served with pasta. Both meat dishes were quite tasty. I think I slightly preferred the Sofritto, but that’s probably because I’m a huge parsley fan. Both dishes can be found at other restaurants in town (such as Alatopipero).
STEAL OUR TOUR
Corfu Walking Tours: We took the Corfu Food and Cultural Tour. Book in advance to ensure availability.
Sweet N Spicy: Agias Sofias 16, Corfu 49100, Greece. They have an online shop.
Lazaris Distillery and Artisan Sweets: Souleika 2km Achillion National Road, Kerkira 490 84, Greece. Easy to find through out Corfu town.
Stazei Meli: Gkilford 60, Kerkira 491 00, Greece. Super casual.
Arthaus: 1η Πάροδος Αγίου Σπυρίδωνος 3, Kerkira 491 00, Greece.
Ta Kokopia: Kalocheretou 12-14, Corfu Town. Reservations accepted online.