Have Fun with Phyllo

The Greeks use the super-thin dough to make appetizers, sweet pastries like baklava, and savory main-course pastries like spanakopita (or “spinach pie,” phyllo filled with chopped spinach, Feta, onions, eggs, and herbs).

At heart, any phyllo-based pastry is simple. Layers of phyllo are blanketed with melted butter, filled, and then the whole thing is baked. The trick is creating the phyllo itself.

Only four ingredients go into phyllo—flour, water, salt, and (not surprising with Greek food) olive oil. Some homemade phyllo recipes call for raki (white vinegar) and lemon juice. One way of making phyllo on Crete calls for the ingredients to be kneaded into dough separated into equal pieces that are then formed into balls.

The balls are rolled flat with a heavy rolling pin. Then each disk is hand-rotated into a large, round, thin sheet. The sheet is stretched on a huge table covered with a linen sheet, and stretched and tugged until it covers the table. Trimmed, dried, and cut into 16 rectangles, the phyllo pieces are separated by linen pieces, then stacked in shops and ready for sale.

Luckily, during Passport Greece, we’ve shortened the phyllo-making process for you. First, learn fun, delicious, and creative uses for phyllo dough in our Cooking School classes, then head to the Frozen department and buy your own. 

Register for a phyllo class near you:

Phyllo Favorites – Working quickly, you'll learn to layer and shape phyllo to create crisp, flavorful favorites. 

Phyllo, Fillo, Filo! –  Learn how to use and work with this delicious dough that derives its name from the Greek word “leaf." 

Have Fun with Phyllo

The Greeks use the super-thin dough to make appetizers, sweet pastries like baklava, and savory main-course pastries like spanakopita (or “spinach pie,” phyllo filled with chopped spinach, Feta, onions, eggs, and herbs).

At heart, any phyllo-based pastry is simple. Layers of phyllo are blanketed with melted butter, filled, and then the whole thing is baked. The trick is creating the phyllo itself.

Only four ingredients go into phyllo—flour, water, salt, and (not surprising with Greek food) olive oil. Some homemade phyllo recipes call for raki (white vinegar) and lemon juice. One way of making phyllo on Crete calls for the ingredients to be kneaded into dough separated into equal pieces that are then formed into balls.

The balls are rolled flat with a heavy rolling pin. Then each disk is hand-rotated into a large, round, thin sheet. The sheet is stretched on a huge table covered with a linen sheet, and stretched and tugged until it covers the table. Trimmed, dried, and cut into 16 rectangles, the phyllo pieces are separated by linen pieces, then stacked in shops and ready for sale.

Luckily, during Passport Greece, we’ve shortened the phyllo-making process for you. First, learn fun, delicious, and creative uses for phyllo dough in our Cooking School classes, then head to the Frozen department and buy your own. 

Register for a phyllo class near you:

Phyllo Favorites – Working quickly, you'll learn to layer and shape phyllo to create crisp, flavorful favorites. 

Phyllo, Fillo, Filo! –  Learn how to use and work with this delicious dough that derives its name from the Greek word “leaf." 

Have Fun with Phyllo

The Greeks use the super-thin dough to make appetizers, sweet pastries like baklava, and savory main-course pastries like spanakopita (or “spinach pie,” phyllo filled with chopped spinach, Feta, onions, eggs, and herbs).

At heart, any phyllo-based pastry is simple. Layers of phyllo are blanketed with melted butter, filled, and then the whole thing is baked. The trick is creating the phyllo itself.

Only four ingredients go into phyllo—flour, water, salt, and (not surprising with Greek food) olive oil. Some homemade phyllo recipes call for raki (white vinegar) and lemon juice. One way of making phyllo on Crete calls for the ingredients to be kneaded into dough separated into equal pieces that are then formed into balls.

The balls are rolled flat with a heavy rolling pin. Then each disk is hand-rotated into a large, round, thin sheet. The sheet is stretched on a huge table covered with a linen sheet, and stretched and tugged until it covers the table. Trimmed, dried, and cut into 16 rectangles, the phyllo pieces are separated by linen pieces, then stacked in shops and ready for sale.

Luckily, during Passport Greece, we’ve shortened the phyllo-making process for you. First, learn fun, delicious, and creative uses for phyllo dough in our Cooking School classes, then head to the Frozen department and buy your own. 

Register for a phyllo class near you:

Phyllo Favorites – Working quickly, you'll learn to layer and shape phyllo to create crisp, flavorful favorites. 

Phyllo, Fillo, Filo! –  Learn how to use and work with this delicious dough that derives its name from the Greek word “leaf." 

Greek Olives and Olive Oil

By the time of Classical Greece, the olive tree was held as sacred, and peasants to the ruling class ate olives at breakfast,to quiet hunger throughout the day and as enticement to the evening feast. It is not all that different from the use and admiration for the olive in modern-day Greece.

You most likely recognize Greek table olives either by their place names such as Kalamata, or by their curing and processing, cracked, brine-cured, etc. While there are dozens of different kinds of olives, only a few main varieties are what we have come to think of as table olives. The confusion starts here—these few types of olives just happen to come in many sizes, and from many different parts of Greece, so that they all look different and are all called by different names. Part of that difference is that all olives change from green to black as they mature. Depending on the variety and the curing method, some olives are processed unripe, or green, while others are left to mature and darken on the tree. Others still are purposely harvested late, when their skins are leathery and wrinkled. Here are a few highlights we are most excited about for passport Greece:
  • Atlas-sized Mt. Athos Green Olives – Plump halkidiki olives are a classic Greek table olive with a smooth buttery flavor and firm meaty texture. These ones are extra large and perfect for stuffing with your favorite deli meat.
  • Atlas-sized Dry Cured Halkidiki Olives – The olive's herbal and buttery finish is intensified by a dry salt cure. Perfect for adding a savory note to your braises.
  • Taverna Kalamata Olives – The unique blush color of these PDO olives makes it a conversation starter on a traditional mezze platter. They are also more mild than a traditional kalamata.
  • Messinia Estate Grown Kalamata Olives – The olives from this township near Sparta are very mellow, fruity and extra plump because of the wet climate.
  • Thassos  Olives – Cured in a bed of sea salt, these specialty dry-cured olives are filled with concentrated herb and fruit flavor. These deep flavors makes this olive perfect for cooking with.

From beautiful Greek olives, comes the oil that created a lucrative empire that Greek ruler after ruler thrived on. And we are so excited to offer a truly unique assortment of olive oils for this year's event, many of which are making their U.S. premiere and really best represent the best of Greek oils.

With 60% of the Greek cultivated land is devoted to olive growing, there are more varieties of olives in Greece than in any other country, and some of the olives represented in the oils include: Koroneiki, Kothreiki, Manaki, Matolia, Athenolea, Megaratiki, Patrinia. From regions including Laconia, Crete, Peleponnese, Corinthia, and more. After tasting more than a dozen of the oils with our buyers, I have to say that these are some of the most approachable oils I have tried as many are buttery in flavor and satiny in texture.  Of all we tasted, two really stood out to me:
  • Ladolea Premium Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – Made with rare Ladolea Patrinia olive in the seaside village of Melissi Corinthia. This oil is then bottled in handmade ceramic pots, based on a Corinthian design that dates back to 700 B.C.
  •  Yannis Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – An early harvest pressing of 100% local Chalkidiki olives. This oil has a nice fruity aroma and is one of the more flavorful Greek oils in the set with a spicy, peppery finish, and is a great value at $9.99 a bottle.

So let the olive branch bring you peace and just the perfect olive for your taste.

Greek Olives and Olive Oil

By the time of Classical Greece, the olive tree was held as sacred, and peasants to the ruling class ate olives at breakfast,to quiet hunger throughout the day and as enticement to the evening feast. It is not all that different from the use and admiration for the olive in modern-day Greece.

You most likely recognize Greek table olives either by their place names such as Kalamata, or by their curing and processing, cracked, brine-cured, etc. While there are dozens of different kinds of olives, only a few main varieties are what we have come to think of as table olives. The confusion starts here—these few types of olives just happen to come in many sizes, and from many different parts of Greece, so that they all look different and are all called by different names. Part of that difference is that all olives change from green to black as they mature. Depending on the variety and the curing method, some olives are processed unripe, or green, while others are left to mature and darken on the tree. Others still are purposely harvested late, when their skins are leathery and wrinkled. Here are a few highlights we are most excited about for passport Greece:
  • Atlas-sized Mt. Athos Green Olives – Plump halkidiki olives are a classic Greek table olive with a smooth buttery flavor and firm meaty texture. These ones are extra large and perfect for stuffing with your favorite deli meat.
  • Atlas-sized Dry Cured Halkidiki Olives – The olive's herbal and buttery finish is intensified by a dry salt cure. Perfect for adding a savory note to your braises.
  • Taverna Kalamata Olives – The unique blush color of these PDO olives makes it a conversation starter on a traditional mezze platter. They are also more mild than a traditional kalamata.
  • Messinia Estate Grown Kalamata Olives – The olives from this township near Sparta are very mellow, fruity and extra plump because of the wet climate.
  • Thassos  Olives – Cured in a bed of sea salt, these specialty dry-cured olives are filled with concentrated herb and fruit flavor. These deep flavors makes this olive perfect for cooking with.

From beautiful Greek olives, comes the oil that created a lucrative empire that Greek ruler after ruler thrived on. And we are so excited to offer a truly unique assortment of olive oils for this year's event, many of which are making their U.S. premiere and really best represent the best of Greek oils.

With 60% of the Greek cultivated land is devoted to olive growing, there are more varieties of olives in Greece than in any other country, and some of the olives represented in the oils include: Koroneiki, Kothreiki, Manaki, Matolia, Athenolea, Megaratiki, Patrinia. From regions including Laconia, Crete, Peleponnese, Corinthia, and more. After tasting more than a dozen of the oils with our buyers, I have to say that these are some of the most approachable oils I have tried as many are buttery in flavor and satiny in texture.  Of all we tasted, two really stood out to me:
  • Ladolea Premium Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – Made with rare Ladolea Patrinia olive in the seaside village of Melissi Corinthia. This oil is then bottled in handmade ceramic pots, based on a Corinthian design that dates back to 700 B.C.
  •  Yannis Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – An early harvest pressing of 100% local Chalkidiki olives. This oil has a nice fruity aroma and is one of the more flavorful Greek oils in the set with a spicy, peppery finish, and is a great value at $9.99 a bottle.

So let the olive branch bring you peace and just the perfect olive for your taste.

Hold Greece in Your Hand

Around the world, working district have been the birth place of street food, and in Athens that meant souvlaki and gyro stands. Whether near the old beer factories or the machine repair shop district in Monastiraki, these hand held Greek classics are waiting for you.

Next, lets tackle the basics… what is the difference between a souvlaki and a gyro? 

Souvlaki starts with small cubes of hand-selected pork, chicken, or lamb. It’s skewered and marniated in the most basic of Greek ingredients oil, lemon juice, and oregano, then grilled over an open flame. The delicious looking picture above is souvlaki. I have equal admiration for the gyro, made by slicing long strips of beef and lamb that’ve been stacked on a vertical rotisserie, and slowly cooked as it turns in front of the heat. Either can be served on warm, chewy pita bread, with onions, fresh tomatoes, parsley and a tangy tzatziki sauce. Souvlaki is also often served with fried potatoes or rice as a dinner plate.

For me, it really is the tzatziki that brightens up a gyro. Traditionally made from Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill, and a hint of lemon, this cool sauce is the perfect counterpoint to the roasted meats. We have authentic prepacked tzatziki sauces in our dairy section. Also, during Passport tzatziki will be available on the bulk bar if you are wanting to recreate your own souvlaki stand at home.

If not, each of our stores will be grilling and roasting everyday from 11am-7pm during Passport Greece. Just like on the busy streets of Athens, souvlaki and gyros will be made to order. I’d suggest you order both.

Hold Greece in Your Hand

Around the world, working district have been the birth place of street food, and in Athens that meant souvlaki and gyro stands. Whether near the old beer factories or the machine repair shop district in Monastiraki, these hand held Greek classics are waiting for you.

Next, lets tackle the basics… what is the difference between a souvlaki and a gyro? 

Souvlaki starts with small cubes of hand-selected pork, chicken, or lamb. It’s skewered and marniated in the most basic of Greek ingredients oil, lemon juice, and oregano, then grilled over an open flame. The delicious looking picture above is souvlaki. I have equal admiration for the gyro, made by slicing long strips of beef and lamb that’ve been stacked on a vertical rotisserie, and slowly cooked as it turns in front of the heat. Either can be served on warm, chewy pita bread, with onions, fresh tomatoes, parsley and a tangy tzatziki sauce. Souvlaki is also often served with fried potatoes or rice as a dinner plate.

For me, it really is the tzatziki that brightens up a gyro. Traditionally made from Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill, and a hint of lemon, this cool sauce is the perfect counterpoint to the roasted meats. We have authentic prepacked tzatziki sauces in our dairy section. Also, during Passport tzatziki will be available on the bulk bar if you are wanting to recreate your own souvlaki stand at home.

If not, each of our stores will be grilling and roasting everyday from 11am-7pm during Passport Greece. Just like on the busy streets of Athens, souvlaki and gyros will be made to order. I’d suggest you order both.

Briny, Briny Good

To start with the basics, Feta is a brined medium-soft cheese made of at least 75% sheep's milk. Feta is a bit like Champagne, loved the world over and sacred in it's home country, with large variations in recipe and preparation, even though like Champagne, Feta is a product classified as Protected Designations of Origin or PDO. Each Feta tastes different and reflects time honored family recipes past down through generations. A few of my favorites coming in for Passport are from Arvanitis Dairy in Thessaloniki:

Barrel Aged Feta PDO – This cheese has a more complex flavor because of its aging in beach wood barrels, and a bit of sweetness in the taste. The texture on this Feta is more creamy than other traditional Feta.
Feta PDO – Bright and grassy aroma with lots of tangy lemony flavors. This Feta like the barrel aged is handmade, but has a bit drier texture.
Manouri PDO – Now while this Arvanitis cheese is not Feta, it is made exclusively with the whey from Feta production, and the mild flavor and creamy texture have me dreaming of 100 different ways to use it. First on that list is simply topped with Nefeli's Sweet Kalamata Relish with Figs and Almonds

And as a bonus, Michalis Arvanitis, third-generation cheesemaker at Arvanitis Dairy will be at our stores samples his authentic Greek Feta in the Deli/Cheese Department on the following dates:
– Dallas Lovers Lane, May 6th, 1:00-7:00pm
– Fort Worth, May 7th, 1:00-7:00pm
– Plano, May 8th, 1:00-7:00pm
– Dallas Preston Royal, May 9th, 12:00-6:00pm
– Southlake, May 10th, 9:00am-1:00pm

It is important to mention that in Greece, Feta is a multi-purpose cheese, found simply topped with olive oil and herbs on every table as well as used in dips and dinner. This is part of the reason Greeks consume more cheese per person than any other country in Europe, 60% of which is Feta. Below are a few recipes to try and really transport yourself from our aisles to the Greek isles.

Briny, Briny Good

To start with the basics, Feta is a brined medium-soft cheese made of at least 75% sheep's milk. Feta is a bit like Champagne, loved the world over and sacred in it's home country, with large variations in recipe and preparation, even though like Champagne, Feta is a product classified as Protected Designations of Origin or PDO. Each Feta tastes different and reflects time honored family recipes past down through generations. A few of my favorites coming in for Passport are from Arvanitis Dairy in Thessaloniki:

Barrel Aged Feta PDO – This cheese has a more complex flavor because of its aging in beach wood barrels, and a bit of sweetness in the taste. The texture on this Feta is more creamy than other traditional Feta.
Feta PDO – Bright and grassy aroma with lots of tangy lemony flavors. This Feta like the barrel aged is handmade, but has a bit drier texture.
Manouri PDO – Now while this Arvanitis cheese is not Feta, it is made exclusively with the whey from Feta production, and the mild flavor and creamy texture have me dreaming of 100 different ways to use it. First on that list is simply topped with Nefeli's Sweet Kalamata Relish with Figs and Almonds

And as a bonus, Michalis Arvanitis, third-generation cheesemaker at Arvanitis Dairy will be at our stores samples his authentic Greek Feta in the Deli/Cheese Department on the following dates:
– Dallas Lovers Lane, May 6th, 1:00-7:00pm
– Fort Worth, May 7th, 1:00-7:00pm
– Plano, May 8th, 1:00-7:00pm
– Dallas Preston Royal, May 9th, 12:00-6:00pm
– Southlake, May 10th, 9:00am-1:00pm

It is important to mention that in Greece, Feta is a multi-purpose cheese, found simply topped with olive oil and herbs on every table as well as used in dips and dinner. This is part of the reason Greeks consume more cheese per person than any other country in Europe, 60% of which is Feta. Below are a few recipes to try and really transport yourself from our aisles to the Greek isles.

Discover Tea from the Greek Isles

The most popular tea in Greece comes from the Sideritis plant, also called "ironwort." The plant grows in wild in rocky slopes of Greece mountains higher than 3,200 feet, which is how the tea made from the plant's dried leaves and flowers gets its most common name: Greek Mountain Tea.

Greek Mountain tea is also known as Shepard's tea in some English-speaking countries. The name is a nod to the Greek shepherds who made tea from Sideritis while tending to their flocks in the mountains. As with many facets of the Greek lifestyle, Greek Mountain tea has a place in mythology as a favorite of the Titans, who were said to live on one of the Greek mountains where Sideritis grows wild.

We're showcasing several authentic Greek teas during Passport Greece. Stop by our Bulk Department and look for:

Krocus Kozanis Teas
These herbal teas are made from Greek Red Saffron made from Crocus sativus harvested just outside the village of Kozani in northern Greece. The plant is harvested every autumn for three weeks, when the 150,000 pounds needed for one pound of Greek Red Saffron tea are cultivated. The brews you'll get are not only rich in anti-oxidants, but also have a slightly spicy taste that pair well with familiar flavors like honey, lemon, and cinnamon.

Anassa Teas
Greek herbs rich in essential oils are hand-selected from the more than 6,000 herbs growing wild in the country, almost a third of which can only be found in Greece. A collection of 15 organic herbs, like mint and chamomile, are blended to honor Greece tradition and make one great cup of tea you're sure to enjoy.

Navarino Icons Teas
If there was ever a package that sends your imagination on a sun-soaked trip trip to rustic mountains, it's the brown burlap bags of these direct-from-Greece teas. Herbs like spearmint, chamomile, and Sideritis that grow wild in Greece are hand-picked and sun-dried for these teas that look, feel, and smell as near to nature as they once were!