If you’ve ever visited Greece, I’m sure you didn’t come back home “empty-suitcased”! I can think of hundreds of items that are worth bringing back, starting from souvenirs for friends and folklore objects for the home, to silver items at starting prices that anyone can afford but also jewelry from world famous makers, even leather goods such as shoes and bags in the most stylish designs. Not to mention that you could fill up a suitcase with only food related items! Greece is for me another shopping paradise (US is my number one favorite!) and I can spend hours wandering between the isles of modern super markets, the quaint tourist shops in the islands and the fashionable boutiques of the Athens suburbs. This year, I limited myself to buying only a few things and in case you like any of them, I’m sharing the sources so you can get the exact same ones, too, or at the least very similar ones.
This is something a tourist would never know: Greek soaps are amazing and inexpensive, that’s why I’m always bringing back a few bars. Any “made in Greece” regular brand sold at the super market is just as good as the other. But this specific one is my favorite. It has a simple clear scent that l love, it leaves the skin clean and fills up the bathroom with freshness! Plus, I love the Hermes head sign that gets revealed when unwrapping the package! I just discovered a couple of places to buy them online (unfortunately at a higher price); here is one. It comes in two types, Classic & Family. Between the two, I like Classic better.
It’s also called “green soap” because it’s made from olive oil. I always keep a bar by the kitchen sink and one in the laundry room. It’s pure and gentle to the skin and cleans perfectly well. It takes away most cooking odors from my hands and it’s also great for the children to wash hands after playing outdoors. Up until my grandmother’s generation, this was the only soap used in most households in Greece and it was used for everything: as a body wash and a shampoo, for the dishes and the laundry (in flakes) too! You can find it in almost every Greek market, but also online, here.
This oregano is the best of the best. Given to us by a monk from Mount Athos in the northern part of Greece, it’s guaranteed organic (no need for a certification!) and fully aromatic. I let it sit outdoors for some days and brought it home completely dried out. I’ll pass it through a sieve and will keep it in a jar. It’s the perfect addition to a Greek salad (in a bowl, just add tomato, cucumber, olives, feta cheese, sprinkle salt & oregano and drizzle some olive oil) and it’s the only seasoning a steak really needs (apart from salt & pepper, of course!). When I run out of it, my preferred brand in the USA is this one.
This is a Greek seasoning and it’s my absolute favorite addition to chicken. Since I can not find this product online, I will try a homemade version and will share it with you, hopefully soon. Just so that you know, it’s a combination of pepper, chili, oregano, onion and mustard seeds, but I will need to work on the proportions to get it right. It’s best on grilled chicken and it’s the absolute essential ingredient for an amazing Greek chicken recipe that I have and that you’ll surely love!
I just can’t have enough afternoon beach walks filled with collecting seaside treasures! Here is what I’m bringing back home: beach pebbles, larger beach rocks and even drift wood. The summer is still here, so if you’re lucky to be near the beach, find your own treasures, too (just make sure it’s okay to remove them from the beach – in Greece, it is)! You can also find pebbles and rocks at your local hardware store, in the garden section or at the craft store. I will use mine in simple crafts that I will soon share. So, stay tuned!
These super cute super small plates are only 4 inches wide and are used in Greece to serve “Spoon Sweet”. Spoon Sweet is preserved fruit (cherry is the most common but also fig, plum, grape, orange and more) with syrup, and it’s a non-fat and healthy treat. Spoon Sweets are typically served on a small dish of the size of a saucer, with a spoon. The portion is only one spoonful, just like this. I will use my cute little plates in so many other ways: Next to a large cookie jar during the holidays, on the Christmas table for individual bread serving and so much more. In Greece you can find them everywhere but they were really difficult to find online; most were vintage and expensive and others not that small as mine. The closest looking to mine were found on Etsy under “glass saucer plates”.
I picked up this inexpensive card at Lesvos airport. There is a thin metal gold-like sheet on the top of the card, a reproduction of what is believed to be Agamemnon’s (Ancient Greek hero) golden funeral mask. I will frame this beautiful card and add it onto my wall gallery. I even found one for you (unfortunately, double the price), here.
Not in my suitcase, but in my heart. Images of a beautiful country, with people who value family and friendships above all, a country that’s filled with places to visit that can certainly not be forgotten, and food to savor like never before. I wish I had a way to offer you every part of this, and I only hope that you will, one day, travel to Greece, too.
p.s. Who wouldn’t like to have breakfast or lunch right here?
Or drive to work past the Acropolis every single day?