The Sweet History of the Oldest Bougatsa Shop in Chania

Greek heritage is made from the traditions that the culinary culture of the country has passed down from one generation to the next. One such culinary landmark is the flavor of Bougatsa.

Bougatsa is a dish made with filo pastry and with fillings that can change from region to region. In Chania (Crete), the most famous pastry shop, Iordanis Bougatsa has been baking fresh bougatsa on a daily basis since 1922. Through the years, the uniqueness of his shop has been published in endless food and travel magazines.

The Story of Iordanis

Iordanis Akasiadis and his wife, Ioanna, are the current owners of Iordanis Bougatsa. They carry with them a tradition that’s over 95 years old.

Iordanis’great-grandfather was a baker who arrived in Chania from Ortakoy, a village near the ancient Greek city of Nicomedia, completely burnt back in those times. He was forced to relocate to Chania during the compulsory population exchange between Turkey and Greece.

Upon arrival, he bought a bakery shop from a Cretan Muslim who also had to move to Tukey. The original shop was in the heart of the old town, on the streets of the knives, Maxaradika (Sifaka st.). Now the shop is in a more modern venue, just a few steps away from the Municipal Market of Chania.

Iordanis Bougatsa

There is no other secret than authentic ingredients to produce a real success. And a traditional recipe. Iordanis Bougatsa is not made with cream, but with local myzithra.

The olive oil and the flour they use also come from Chania. Besides, they only use handmade filo pastry produced by themselves.

This bougatsa only needs five ingredients: flour, water, olive oil, myzithra, and salt. Sugar is only added before serving it. Iordanis and his wife explain that, in fact, the name bougatsa does not stand for the dish in itself, but for the technique to work the filo dough.

Fillings, on the other hand, can vary from meat to spinach or onions, while some bakers in Greece serve it sketo (or empty). Iordanis now cooks only on one flavor but used to serve bougatsa with different fillings in the past.

Iordanis Bougatsa is on Apokoronou street, downtown Chania, and it’s open every day from 6 in the morning, when their oven starts producing this sweet treat every half an hour. People arrive from the airport and the port directly to the shop for a delicious breakfast. Others, going to bed at about the same time, also pay a visit to Iordanis. They are open until 14.30 on weekdays and close an hour earlier during the weekend.

One more tip: Even when bougatsa is their only specialty, their Greek coffee the best in town.

by Gabi Ancarola / Greek Reporter

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