Though not as accessible as their pastry cohorts, Greek cookies have their own allure. Most of these cookies are crisp and dense, since combining cookies and coffee is common. Others are light with a European-styled taste profile, offering a balance of flavors.
During the annual Yiasou! Greek Festival in September, thousands of Charlotteans trek to Dilworth to stock up on Greek desserts. But Greek cookies and pastries (as well as American items) are available year-round from Chef Frank Kaltsounis at Big View Diner (16637 Lancaster Highway, 704-544-0313) in South Charlotte.
While Christmas is not as crazy a celebration in Greece as it is here (Easter is the main Christian holiday), some of the foods traditionally served during this holiday include cookies. While the Big View Diner bakery roster has more than a dozen cookies, including oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle and chocolate chip, special cookies are available during the holidays.
The best of these are the perfectly formed, delicately flavored almond cookies made by Maria Kaltsounis, Frank's mother. Also quite good is the soft Melomakarona, a spice cookie with nuts, cinnamon and cloves. A favorite with kids is the chocolate-dipped spritz cookie with sprinkles. Kourambiede, a Greek shortbread heavily coated with white powdered sugar (similar to a Mexican wedding cookie), is available in a full, not bite-sized, cookie. Other Greek cookies include the long, narrow and twisted Koulourakia, in both vanilla and chocolate. Many of these cookies are available year-round. Boxes of holiday cookies are available now for $9.99.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-522-8334, extension 136.