Ice cream lovers rejoice in Athens. Here, no season will dampen our appreciation for frozen treats. On the contrary, the city’s many artisanal ice cream shops and gelaterias produce flavors particularly suited for cold weather and for the holidays, using seasonal ingredients.
“Lucky” sorbet at Django
While it’s true that winter fruits are just a little bit less sparkling and delicious than the spectacular ones we enjoy in the summer, fortunately there is one exception. The pomegranate, with its jewel-like seeds, is as tasty as it is beautiful to look at.
At Django, a new shop which won our hearts this summer, choose a scoop or two of pomegranate sorbet, pink from pure juice of the popular holiday fruit (in Greece, the pomegranate symbolizes luck and prosperity, and it’s tradition to smash one before entering your home on the first morning of the year). It is made solely with organic pomegranates grown by award-winning farmer Dimitra Tsakiri and juiced by hand, and Italian meringue made with organic eggs.
15 Veikou Street, Koukaki, Tel. (+30) 693.739.5363
Vintage flavors at Epik
In this retro-style gelateria at Mavilli Square, the ice cream flavor “moustokoulouro” is everything we want in the fall. Traditional moustokouloura are soft cookies made with molasses, cloves and cinnamon, quite similar in taste to gingerbread. The ice cream is made with milk from monastery of the Holy Cross in Corinth, cinnamon and crumbles of the famous moustokouloura from Daremas bakery in Markopoulo, which can also be purchased here.
Other seasonal flavors include pomegranate sorbet with lemon balm, and a vegan option made with almond milk and spiced raisin and walnut cake.
2 Dorilaiou Street, Mavilli Square, Tel. (+30) 210.646.4105
“Snowy peaks” at Le Greche
When the cold season arrives, the skilled people at Le Greche make their popular Mont Blanc flavor, inspired by the white peaks of the alps, and the old-school dessert of the same name. Made with cream, chestnut paste, pieces of marron glacé and vanilla flavored meringue.
On really cold days try some “grown-up” flavors such as the Cubano, with intense chocolate flavor and sponge cake soaked in rum and coffee. A scoop of the milk chocolate with croquant and festive Italian Torrone (nougat) is also a great option.
16 Mitropoleos, Syntagma, Tel. (+30) 216.700.6458
2 Lykourgou, Neo Psyhiko, Tel. (+30) 213.041.6299
Melomakarono at Oggi
This time of year at Oggi, where we come year-round for scoops of their silky-textured artigianale ice cream, we opt for the creamy mandarin orange-, pomegranate-, or apple and cinnamon sorbet. They also make ice cream with marron glacé – chestnuts which they boil and caramelize themselves.
At Christmas, which, thankfully, comes early here, there’s no better choice than the melomakarono flavor, made with cream and a generous amount of the traditional Christmas cookies (If you’ve visited Greece around the holidays before, you’ve almost certainly tried melomakarona, soft and syrupy cookies made with honey, walnuts and spices. If not, you can find a recipe here).
17 Voulis, Syntagma, Tel. (+30) 210.3246995
Sweet surprises at Maraboo
At Maraboo Ice Cream in Pangrati, Vicky Peristanoglou has the locals raving about the ice cream, which is made solely with natural ingredients from Greece and Italy. Here you’ll find four standard flavors: cream, milk chocolate, salted caramel and dark chocolate sorbet. All other flavors vary depending on the season, and whatever new ideas comes to Peristanoglou’s mind.
Among the many flavors worth trying this season are the apple pie made with cream, fresh apples and crumble; the persimmon sorbet; the anthotiro cheese with raisins and sweet wine from Samos; the tahini and honey sorbet, the chestnut, and of course, the gingerbread flavor.
This article was previously published in Greek at gastronomos.gr.
17 Arhelaou, Pangrati, Tel. (+30) 210.724.7037