For the last 95 years, people from all over Crete, Greece and the world arrive daily at the famous Bougatsa Iordanis shop in the heart of the city’s centre to try their special delicacy, which has people lining up to taste it.

The well-known bakery is now in the hands of the fourth generation of Iordanis’ descendants and the grandson along with with his kids and wife Ioanna are in the shop every day proudly serving customers, who get a sense that they have stepped back in time.

Not a lot has changed since 1924 and this is what makes it extra special. You don’t come here for fancy décor, modern touches or sleek finishes, you make the trip to Iordanis’ to enjoy their exceptional dish that is served on a simple aluminum plate.

*The famous Iordanis Bougatsa served on simple tin plates

If you are thinking Bougatsa is famous all over Greece, what makes Iordanis so popular? It’s because most bakeries fill their Bougatsa with a sweet custard, however, Iordanis’ prepare their dish using a local Chaniot mizithra (Cretan ricotta cheese) namely Pichtoggalo Chanion Cheese PDO, which is produced from goat’s or sheep’s milk, giving it a slightly sour flavour.

Ioanna told Greek City Times that even through the toughest times when Greece was experiencing the worst of the financial crisis, locals would still come in and enjoy their Bougatsa on a daily basis because the shop reminded them of their precious past and gave them hope for the future, as Iordanis’ has remained open after so many decades.

*Iordanis and his wife Ioanna proudly run the bakery today

“We haven’t changed the family recipe. We have kept it the same as what it was back in the early 1920s. Another difference is that we use oil instead of butter, which enhances the taste,” says Ioanna.

On the wall, you see a photograph of the original Iordanis on display. It was his father-in-law, a baker from Constantinople who bought it from a Cretan Muslim. Iordanis Akasiadis, who was a shoemaker at the time, decided to learn the tricks of the trade and took over in 1924 and this is how it got its name.

There are only a handful of items on the menu: the traditional Iordanis Bougatsa, a sweeter custard version (sold at 3 euro a piece) which can be paired with a good hit of Greek coffee, making it the ideal way to start the day!

A: Apokoronou 24, Chania

*All images by Greek City Times (Copyright) 

Penny Zalalas

Editor-in-Chief of Greek City Times