LIFE

Athens Walking Tours adds a culinary twist

By Jared Talkin

Athens Walking Tours, which was founded in 2004 and was recently ranked No 1 among 94 attractions in the Greek capital by users of TripAdvisor.com, offers top-rated walking tours year-round. Its walks incorporate visits to important Athenian sites which are accompanied by historical narratives given by their licensed guides. The effort is made to contrast the sites with aspects of contemporary Greek society. The tours are especially popular with visitors from Australia, America and Canada.

The staff at Athens Walking Tours is constantly working on formulating new walks with different themes. The Athens Food Tour is their newest development, launched last summer.

With a focus on local delicacies and products, the Athens Food Tour creates a culinary experience that looks beyond the common misconception that Greek food is all about moussaka and souvalaki.

The three-hour tour highlights a full spectrum of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine with visits to seven shops. Beginning at Koulouri corner, participants have an opportunity to sample the circular, sesame seed-encrusted bread rings that look a bit like bagels. The next stop is at Doris, one of Athens?s oldest vegetarian restaurants. Famous for its loukoumades -- the Greek equivalent of the donut -- Doris offers traditional home cooking. The tour ends at the Stoa Attalou restaurant, where a wide selection of Greek specialities are presented. Other stops along the way complete the experience by including a variety of traditional shops such as a grocery store, a delicatessen, a shop selling herbs and spices and a tyropitadiko, where passers-by drop in to pick up little pastries packed with cheese, spinach and other fillings to eat on the hoof.

Although the tour focuses on offering visitors a culinary experience, the historical events that have had an impact on the country?s eating habits are highlighted along the route by the guide. The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet as well as recent cultural shifts that have affected what Greeks eat are also discussed during the walk.

The Athens Food Tour presents the opportunity for the embodiment of a truly Greek culinary experience.

Tours take place Mondays to Fridays, starting at 10 a.m. The cost of participation is 39 euros for adults and 34 euros for students and children aged 6-12, while children under 6 go free.

For more information, visit www.athenswalkingtours.gr.

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