If you’re like me, you love wandering around food markets and walking into delicatessens, then do take a little trip to Evripidou Street in the centre of Athens. There, among many other small stores, you will find MIRAN, probably one of the best delicatessens in Greece, which sells their own popular pastourma and even little star charcuterie products from all regions of Greece.
The Miran story begins more than 88 years ago in Kesaria, Turkey. Miran Kourounlian, the grandfather of the current owners, was a young man learning and practicing the art of pastourma and soutzouki making. The events of Asia Minor forced him to flee with his family to Athens. When he came to Greece, he created a small unit of pastourma and soutzouki production for the good service of some devotee friends of his. Soon the quality of the good pastourma and soutzouki was spread all over the country.
Their delicious pastourma is an air-dried salt-cured beef coated with tsimeni, a spicy paste of garlic and paprika found in the cuisines of the countries that once belonged to the former Ottoman Empire.
Miran’s other specialty is the soutzouki, a spicy semi-dried sausage that has also crossed borders into many cuisines. Heavily spiced with cumin and garlic, soutzouki can be used in a myriad of dishes to add a burst of flavour. I personally love it as a topping to my pizza.
The third generation, Miran and Krikor Kourounlian (both gorgeous, I must confess) have taken over the business and are since 1994 in charge of upgrading the present distribution, fully educating the staff with the secrets of the job and have managed to obtain an export code of the products in the European Union and other countries. The Miran firm has truly become similar to quality and tradition.
Last year, they hired a great Greek Armenian interior designer, Martik Manikian, to redecorate their premises into a modern shop that most delicatessens in the world would be jealous of. His most interesting idea was to plant all Greek herbs literally on the facade of the store. It’s a vertical garden that impresses everyone who passes by. It feels like an oasis to see all this green among the cement buildings of the city.
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