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… it finds a special place in the refrigerator of any Greek gourmet.

Or so says my husband, Basil, who many years ago was out of his mind with excitement at finding our local Greek grocer in Chicago carried pastourma, a pugnent, air dried salt and spice cured meat he loved – sneaking the thinly sliced meat from the plate his mother served to guests with ouzo in their Athens home.

Hearing the name, pah-stur-mah, I imagined something similar to the pastrami of my childhood, and actually wondered if there was any connection (note to self: check on that).  Ever the Greco-phile who wanted nothing more than to soak up as much of my adopted culture as possible, I was excited when he shared the news of his find, at least until I opened the fridge, for he neglected to share his memories of the smell of pastourma,  for along with salt there’s a generous mix of Eastern spices that make it really special.  Of course depending on your olfactory senses, that can be great, or not so great. In our own family, it means that this delicacy is only a purchase and consume immediately item, banned from our home fridge (though interestingly enough, even though taste and smell are so bound together, it’s not banned from our dinner plates).

For the adventurous, there was a recent article in the Athens News about an Greek family from Asia Minor that cures pastourma not far from the Central Market.  I haven’t made it to this particular shop, though it is now on my own personal “to do” list. If you are in the area, I suggest adding it to yours.

And for the really adventurouse, check out Peter Minakis’ blog, Kalogas, where he offers up a recipe and the steps for making your own pastourma.

By Athensguide

How does a little girl from Skokie, Illinois find herself in historical Athens, leading curious explorers through the winding streets of Plaka, down "pezodromos" to hidden ouzeries for tempting mezedhes and homemade barrel wine? The journey began more than twenty years ago, and regardless of whether the wanderlust comes from the spiritual and culture DNA flowing through my veins, or the alignment of the stars on that cold mid-December day this Sagitterian came into the world, I never seem to tire of exploring my adopted homeland of Greece. Here you'll join me as I explore Athens: be it the back streets of Psirri and Gazi, or through the National Gardens and Zappeio where a family of turtles makes their home, or down wide, treelined Imittou Street in Pagrati, which pulses with Athenian life 24 hours a day. And while Athens has stolen my heart, the rest of Greece vies for my curiousity and wanderlust. My two guys (that'd be the Greek God, Vasilis and our Greek dog, Scruffy) and I can often be found settling in for a long weekend in some charming mountain village, or a quaint fishing port on a nearby island, or learning how Greek vitners are producing wines that rival some of Napa Valley's finests productions, or celebrating a panayeri in Epirus or sharing in the festivities as a family of Cretan sheepherders come together to sheer their 1500 sheep in the spring ... And if you happen to find yourself heading to Athens, consider finding yourself a real home for your stay. Living amongst the locals, be it for 3 nights or 3 weeks, will offer you the chance to experience true Athens, beyond the Acropolis. Choose from one of our 5 beautiful penthouse and historical homes, and who knows, I may be leading you down that winding "pezodromo" to our favorite hidden ouzerie!