It isn’t just the big dishes that make the festive season feel special. While we all look forward to the grandeur of the showstopper in the centre of the table, sometimes it’s the little treats that really make us feel like the Christmas is here. For Greek chef Spyros Blentzas, those little treats mean koulourakia.
When their warm, orangey scent wafts through the house from the kitchen, it’s impossible not to feel your tastebuds firing up. All across Greece, these delicious golden cookies are loved and enjoyed by families during the Easter period. For Spyros, however, baking a fresh batch of koulourakia was always done around Christmas time. And with each bite packed full of sweet crunch and citrusy zest, it’s easy to see why his family have always chosen to enjoy them during December instead.
Spyros’ family have been baking koulourakia since before he can remember, teaching him the technique right from when he was a little boy. Thankfully the task isn’t too hard. When you’ve spent year after year making them, it’s easier to put your trust into your hands. Feeling for familiar textures to make sure the dough’s just right. In fact, there’s something quite comforting about turning that big, floury ball of dough into dainty little plaits. Not that the job isn’t important, though. It’s those little shapes that instantly get loved ones excited when they see them perched on the coffee table – much more so than the big feast itself.
For Spyros, it’s sharing the koulourakia that really makes Christmas the best time of the year. Sitting around with friends and family to catch up while savouring every single sweet bite – even if it does mean making countless batches as the month of December passes by. After all, Spyros adds, that just means that the house is constantly filled with the same rich aroma every year. “The smell from koulourakia always reminds me that Christmas is approaching. That the festive season is finally here.”
Find out how to make Spyros’ koulourakia here