If last week you walked around the neighborhood of Kolonaki in downtown Athens (with your authorization in hand like a responsible citizen), you may have spotted a shop still under construction, its walls painted yellow.
You may also have spotted the letters hanging above the entrance, forming the word “Kora” – the Greek word for bread crust.
If you happened to pass by again yesterday, it may have taken you a second to realize that the construction site on Panagiotou Anagnostopoulou Street has now been transformed into a dashing bakery serving fresh sourdough bread and assorted viennoiseries, with delicious aromas wafting down the street.
Indeed, yesterday was opening day for Kora, the hip new artisanal bakery founded by Maria Alafouzou and Ianthi Michalaki, which has high ambitions of taking the ancient arts of bread and pastry making to new heights, even in a city where the competition is already stiff.
Maria is a writer and editor with a passion for food, who has long dreamt of opening her own food business in Greece. Ianthi is an acclaimed pastry chef and baker who has worked in the kitchens of some of the finest restaurants around the world.
Together, they form a dynamic duo thanks to their innovative spirit and value-driven business mindset.
“We use long fermentation methods, which make our products more nutritious and digestible than conventionally produced breads. We search for the finest ingredients on the market, championing dedicated growers and producers across the country,” they write in their mission statement.
Boxes of Comfort and Joy
With their opening coinciding with the holiday season (albeit one under lockdown), the two women decided to prepare special Christmas gift boxes to bring people “comfort and joy” in the close of this difficult year.
The festive, shiny red boxes are filled with a tantalizing selection of festive products: milk jam, croissant granola, garden salt, spice sugar, vanilla and cocoa shortbread, sourdough crackers, and pistachio and cherry nougat.
The boxes can be bought online at korabakery.com for collection at the shop.
Maria and Ianthi also want to give back to the community by donating part of their sales to charities, working towards making their bakery carbon neutral and basing their business on the principles of zero waste.
Feel like helping out by tasting delicious products ?
Check out their website or, if in Athens, nip down to Panagiotou Anagnostopoulou and let the mouth-watering smell that fills the street guide you to their state-of-the art bakery.
Tip: The preparation area is open and visible from outside the shop, so you can see the magic happen right before your eyes.