As I delve into the topic of Greek cured meats, I couldn’t but rave about the wonderful handmade products Hector Botrini serves in his Etrusco restaurant in Corfu (see photo above) including the salami, coppa and nouboulo (a traditional Corfian recipe). I also have to mention the great, limited edition smoked ham and silverside the Bralos Farm has made from their own animals. Georgiadis Meat Workshop and Tsianavas Deli Meats collaborate on a lovely ham made in a very traditional French style.
Greece is primarily known for its various sausage varieties but there are areas that make deli products that deserve international recognition. For some reason the producers remain inward looking, with only small amounts being made available to shops in Athens or Thessaloniki. I’m referring to the Cycladic ‘louza’ for example, which was very recently standardised by Yiannis Kritikos in its version from the island of Tinos: tender, very meaty and slightly aromatic. Kritikos also produces a spicy, garlicky salami called ‘saltsisi’. There is also the rich and lightly aromatic ‘noubolo foumikado’ from Corfu. Made by 2 or 3 local workshops, we find it in a handful of good Athenian delicatessens. I also need to mention ‘zaboni’ from Naxos, otherwise known as ‘rustic prosciutto’. This product is strictly confined to the island though so you’ll only find it there. Other low profile cured meats included: tsiladies, liokafta and tsigara, pichtes, kavourma and many many more.
The better known products include the peppery Lefkada salami (try the spicy, red pepper corn, chorizo-like Polychronopoulos salami), syglino from Mani and apaki from Crete.
In a special category are the cured meats produced by Stremmenos in Evritania, whose products include great gammon marinated in wine, very good prosciutto and a special black boar ‘lontza’.
Another great factory is Sary in Drama. They produce gammon with rosemary, smoked turkey with pine nuts and chestnuts, amazing ‘Karamanlidika’ sausages and pastrami, as well as pasturma from beef, lamb and camel.
Talking about pasturma, we can’t ignore the experts: Miran. They make about 10 versions of it, including one from buffalo meat and of course the classic camel variety. You should also definitely try their sutzukia. Rarer treats still include the lightly smoked rabbit apaki made by the Alexandrakis family in Rethymno, Boras’ buffalo salami, The Chasapaki’s buffalo kavourma, Douma Vital Farm’s smoked black boar fillet and Fotiadis Farm’s smoked pancetta.
As far as ‘choriatika’ (peasant) sausages are concerned, every region has a certain way they use local meats and spices. There are a huge variety of ingredients (orange, leek, thyme and oregano), some are smoked and some are cured in vinegar, there are beef based ones, goat based and the list goes on and on. My personal favourites are the ones stuffed with cheese which I love as part of a hot dog. I recently tried some lovely Karpenisi feta stuffed sausages from Vrekos, Tsianava’s sausages with graviera cheese and a Moutevelis’ variety with feta and sundried tomatoes.
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