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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bougatsa: The story of the absolute versatile recipe, through time and space.


Bougatsa, the most well-known and loved traditional greek breakfast, especially in north Greece, has an enormously long history and is the descendant of the “Plakounta” of the ancient Greeks which means the umbilical cord. It is a closed pie with different kinds of fillings. The recipe travelled all the way to the Roman kitchen and was named in latin “Placentae”. When the East Roman empire was founded, bougatsa became a very popular dish that was prepared from special craftsmen of that time, and is an essential element in every rich feast. It is even considered a very common present. Not even the conquest of Constantinople stops the course of bougatsa, which takes its name from the Ottoman word “pogatsa” that means pie with greamy filling. The interesting thing is that the ottoman dictionaries attribute this name to the paraphrase of the Italian word “focaccia” that is also a kind of pie. As the years go by, it continues to be a very popular and common dish that is prepared by housewives in Constantinople and Smyrna, and is eaten by grownups as well as children. In Thessaloniki, where its popularity is also very high, the guild of the bougatsa crafters is founded in 1917. Nowadays bougatsa continues being a very dear dish and holds a special place amongst the other delicacies of the city.
In Greece it was brought, as many other things, by the migrants that came from Constantinople and Asia Minor. It is a dish that offers great variety due to the different fillings, but at the same time has a good quality and a low price. When visiting Greece do not hesitate to taste it!

Sotiria Strati 
Food technologist, food blogger
Thessaloniki, Greece