CULTURE

Traditional cuisine from all over Greece

Traditional Mediterranean gastronomy is the specialty of Critida, a delicatessen which opened in Kolonaki a year and a half ago and also operates in Iraklion on Crete. A company based on Crete that started out with the production of extra-virgin oil, Critida, run by Vangelis Kabadais and Giorgos Andreadakis, later moved on to packaging and has recently expanded to traditional homemade gastronomy and organically produced food. Critida oil is still produced, and distributed in select stores across the country. It is exported in large quantities to Scandinavia, Germany and France as well. The oil is also to be found at the Critida delicatessen among numerous other products, many of them represented exclusively by Critida. Honey from Kythera and goods from Tinos that include capers, sun-dried tomatoes and preserves (glyka koutaliou), all from the small production unit of Ms Delatola, are among Critida’s exclusive specialties. But goods from every region of Greece can be found at the delicatessen. Examples include smoked sausages from central Greece, ouzo accompaniments (mezedes) such as anchovies, octopus with herbs, salted tuna, cod and gray mullet from the region of Fanari at Komotini, lountza (smoked beef) from Myconos, pasta from the Cyclades, and herbs from Crete and the Peloponnese, together with tsipouro (arrack) and fatourada (tsipouro distilled with cloves and cinnamon) from Kythera. All the products, including fresh eggs and milk, come from small production units across Greece. Because production is small scale, Vangelis Kabadais says that in some cases Critida buys the entire output for the season. Kabadais came to know all of the small production units (sometimes family- or home-based) that he works with through the contacts he acquired in the years that he distributed Critida oil. His experience in the field and contacts are his guarantee for the quality of the products. The idea of Critida is to bring products straight from the producer to the consumer. Kabadais says that it all started out of a need to find traditional, homemade and preservative-free cuisine in the city in addition to his care for and interest in the periphery of Greece. Kabadais also says that there is an increasing demand for traditional gastronomy. At Critida, consumers looking for both standard and unusual Mediterranean cuisine will be greeted with a huge variety. Siglino (pork boiled in spices and its own juices), a traditional recipe from the Mani and Crete, cheese varieties such as ladotiri from Zakynthos, kalathaki from Mytilene and graviera from Sfakia as well as a broad range of both fresh and deep-frozen recipes (oven-cooked eggplant or mushrooms, all sorts of pies from Crete) make up Critida’s appetizing delicacies. Also available is a range of wines. Critida, 5 Dexameni Square, Kolonaki, tel 210.363.2474.