Although most Greeks were not eating a lot for breakfast or any breakfast at all, slowly things are changing. More and more Greeks as well as hotels in Greece, now understand the value of breakfast. It is amazing how many traditional products Greece actually has, which can be served as a delicious meal in the morning.
However, for me personally, there is no better breakfast than just drinking a cup of coffee and eating bougatsa!
Bougatsa is a traditional Greek breakfast pastry usually made with creamy custard or cheese depending on whether it’s sweet or salty. It’s a very popular option for having breakfast on the go.
Where you can find bougatsa?
In nearly every bakery, pastry shops or snack bar, nowadays you can buy a “bougatsa”, with cream custard or cheese filling.
Of course, there are also special “bougatsa places”.
Some “bougatsa history” and different varieties!
The word bougatsa derives from the Byzantine Greek word πογάτσα (pogátsa), from the ancient Roman panis focacius, which is also the source of the Italian word for bread focaccia.
Nowadays, we can find bougatsa (gr. μπουγάτσα, [buˈɣatsa]) in bakeries and cafés all over Greece, but it originates from Thessaloniki and from the Central Macedonia region in Northern Greece, particularly in the city of Serres. Greek refugees from Constantinople brought with them the recipe for this pastry when they arrived in Serres after being uprooted during the Greco-Turkish War (1919-22).
The taste of bougatsa varies from one place to another. For instance, bougatsa in Veria (a city in Central Macedonia) is very sweet, whereas in Thessaloniki it is less sweet and crunchier. To make things even more interesting, there are differences in how bougatsa is served across Greece: in Northern Greece, it is served in small bite-sized pieces and, if the fling is semolina custard, then the pastry is usually dusted with powdered sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. On the other hand, in Southern Greece, bougatsa is served as a large single piece like a pie.
That said, Cretan bougatsa is also very popular and considered a local delicacy when one visits cities like Chania or Heraklion, where instead of feta they use mizithra, a soft, relatively sweet whey cheese (its texture is like ricotta), and sprinkle the bougatsa with caster sugar before serving.
As Greeks continue to tweak and develop this recipe, it’s not uncommon to see bougatsa filled with minced meat, spinach and herbs like spanakopita, or even chocolate custard cream.
Not a bougatsa fan? No problem!
From area to area, the breakfast may vary depending on the gastronomical culture of each part of Greece. Profit from the specialties of each area and enjoy a healthy breakfast:
- In the Cyclades, enjoy rusk with Naxos graviera (local cheese), Syros loukoumi (“turkisch delight) and chalvadopita, Tino’s almond sweets, Andros froutalia (a super delicious omelet)
- In Thessalia, taste olive-bread, Farsala Chalvas, thyme honey and sour trachanas (frumenty).
- In Crete, look for lychnarakia, kserotigana, graviera with honey and herb pie…
In case you prefer a simple room without served breakfast, just go to the periptero (kiosk) at the corner, buy Greek yogurt and add some honey! Simple and also very tasty!
If you want to learn how to order bougatsa at a Greek bakery or pastry shop, and discover all the delicious goodies that you can buy there then click below for more about the eBook, which includes grammar, videos, audio and vocabulary lists,
Of course, bougatsa and coffee go hand in hand!
If you want to learn more about all variations of Greek coffee, cold and warm, and how to order them, then this eBooks is useful to have