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Sefarad, Salonica, the Jews, the Cuisine

Towards the end of the 15th century, as Jews were being casted away from the Iberian peninsula which they had been inhabiting for numerous centuries, they settled in various mediterranean regions one of them being the greek territories of the Ottoman Empire.

The sefardic Jews (from «Sefarad», which means «Spain» in Hebrew) that inhabited Thessaloniki created a very prosperous and highly-populated community, which had become the jewish center of Europe by the middle of the 16th century. In the beginning of the 20th century Thessaloniki was numbering a jewish population that had rosen to 80,000 souls out of a total population of 173,000.

As the time went by, the cuisine that the jews brought from Spain, influenced importantly by the local greek and Turkish culinary tradition, evolved into a very special cuisine which can be pinpointed today only in Thessaloniki and in Istanbul with slight variations. It is a cuisine full of tastes and scents both from the east and the west, cosmopolitan but simultaneously traditional as well; a reflection of the bustling human puzzle that characterized the city of Thessaloniki for hundreds of years.

An indispensable element of the sephardic cuisine is the set of the dietary rules, known as «kosher», which, if applied with the respective consciousness, provide alimentation for both the body and the soul.

Through this savory journey we will try to shed light to flavorsome memories, spread awareness about the sephardic cuisine and maintain this cultural component, while in the same time facilitating people who want to eat according to the rules of «kosher».