In my exploration of Athens, my path led me to the traditional Loukoumi manufactory of Vomvyla in the beautiful suburb of Koukaki. It is a stop on one of the charming tours of Epiculiar, who we are lucky enough to be cooperating with. Check them out: https://www.epiculiar.tours/
For all of you who wonder what Loukoumi is, I will break with Greek protocol here:
In most parts of the world, it is known as Turkish Delight.
This is, let me say, a loaded trade name here – especially for a country that considers itself to have been under Turkish occupation for more than 400 years.
And doesn’t Loukoumi sound a little more magical anyway? (To be fair, it is of Arab origin nonetheless)
We were welcomed by Manos, the man in this picture, with a big smile, his hands plastered with icing sugar and corn flour – the coating that helps keep the Loukoumi fresh.
While he was wiping his hands, he bade us come into the small production space. Everything there seemed to be hand-made: the pots and scales, the racks and tables. The manufactory is over 70 years old.
Manos explained to us, that he took over the family business at the behest of his father, a few years ago. He gave up civil engineering, which he studied in Germany, and has been producing the Greek delicacy ever since.
He described the process of making Loukoumi with all its intricacies and, also, hardship.
The high temperatures to extract the aroma of the fruits occasionally makes the work hard to bear, especially during the Greek summer months.
I enjoyed listening to Manos immensely.
He was telling his and the Loukoumi’s story as if they were one.
Always being truthful about his real dream, the civil engineering, without sounding disillusioned or bitter. Speaking from his heart and accepting life’s serendipity.
Only great men walk away from a dream with a smile.
Manos is one such man.
Thank you, Manos. I really enjoyed my time with you.
And…your Loukoumi is the best I ever tasted!