A Family that Took Dairy to a New Level

The story of Chatzis, Thessaloniki’s master of buffalo cream-based desserts.


 When the Chatzis family opened their first shop, the street that it’s still on today was called Sabri Pasha. Fotis Chatzis, the patriarch of this remarkable family, is a guardian of memory – this is where you come to find out what the city used to taste like. “This was the center of everything. Everyone wanted to be here – Greeks, Slavs, Jews, all the Balkan people. It was a nice mix. My great-grandfather, Suleiman Suleimanovits, came here in 1888. He sold boza, (a drink of fermented millet) out of a stamna (a clay vessel) strapped to his back.” It was the next generation that opened the store, in 1908, selling mainly creamery products and a few syrup pastries. Today, the street is called Eleftheriou Venizelou, but the recipes are the same. 

Their cream is made from buffalo milk – the family has their own herd on the shores of Lake Kerkini, just so they can make things they way they used to. When asked about this, Fotis shrugs. “You’ve got to have ekmek (cream so thick you can slice it with a knife), because kazan dibi (a sweet similar to crème brulee) is just not the same without it. So what are you going to do?” They make all the politika desserts, the heavier Constantinople-style siropiasta (syrup pastries), that are hard to find anywhere else. Hanoum bourek, for instance, is custard in a golden, tender filo rich with egg yolks. Another favorite is taouk yiouksou, a sweet cream simmered with ground chicken breast – you can actually taste the chicken in it, and it’s delicious.

Fotis Chatzis passed away a few weeks after sharing these memories. The store is still run by the family.

INFO

• 50 Eleftheriou Venizelou. • Tel. (+30) 2310.279.058

• 73 Themistokli Sofouli & Argonafton, Kalamaria, Tel. (+30) 2310.417.808

 

• Open daily: 7:00-24:00



Read More

Editor's Pick

12 Christmas Destinations in Greece

Greece at Christmas is a unique blend of cultural immersion,...


Editor's Pick

Greece’s 6 Coolest Towns You May Have Never Heard Of

Athens isn't the only Greek city worth a visit. These...


Experience

Thessaloniki’s Diverse Communities

Thessaloniki's position at a cross roads between cultures and as...


Thessaloniki

Art Hopping

Thessaloniki has a famously artistic soul; these are some of...


Greece Is Blog Posts

An Ode to Local Products

BY Yiouli Eptakili

No more avocado toast and croque-madames. From Thessaloniki to Crete...

read more >

How Can Greece Become a Gastro-Tourism Destination?

BY Yiouli Eptakili

It’s about more than just taking a trip...

read more >

Leaving Room in Greece for Everyone

BY Greece Is

Labor Day, this year September 5, marks the...

read more >