Savoury Christmas koulourakia
Much of the beauty of Greek cuisine is that it varies from region to region. In part this is due to agricultural possibilities (think mountainous landscapes versus islands surrounded by the sea), connections with other cultures, and local customs and traditions. Every recipe tells a story, and offers a glimpse into the rich web of history, both cultural and culinary, that makes Greece and Greek food such an important and fascinating area of study. Although many of these unique regional dishes are well known (think kalitsounia from Crete or lalagia from Messinia), others are so local that they are known only to isolated villages. The recipe which we are sharing here is one such example.
Our parents make so many types of koulourakia (Greek for cookies that are great for dunking into coffee or milk) that it is almost hard to keep track of them all. To help differentiate one koulouraki from the other, they often refer to a key ingredient. So here, we present to you koulourakia with orange…because, you guessed it, they contain a fair bit of orange juice. They also often refer to different koulourakia by the person who prefers them over all others. So these, along with being koulourakia with orange, are also affectionately referred to as “Georgia’s favourite”.
When our girls were little and we returned to work after blissfully long (but not long enough!), maternity leaves, we were blessed to have them cared for by our parents. We would drop sleepy children off at their place in the morning and, after settling in to work, we would call our parents to make sure everything was okay. The morning report we received would often go something like this:
Either of our parents: She (grand-daughter # 1, 2, 3 or 4) wasn’t that hungry for breakfast. I hope she is feeling well. I’m quite worried. She only ate half her egg, two pieces of toast, a banana and she only drank one glass of milk.
Either of us: Hmmm…well, that sounds alright. She IS only 4 years old.
Either of our parents: Yes, well she has to eat, otherwise her stomach will close (this sounds much more ominous in Greek). At least she ate 9 koulourakia when she first arrived.