For the last 95 years, people from all over Crete, Greece and the world have arrived 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 his children and wife Ioanna work 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.
One of Greece’s great gifts to the culinary world, Bougatsa (Greek custard pie with phyllo) is a traditional Greek dessert made with the most creamy custard wrapped in golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter and garnished with icing sugar and cinammon.
If you are thinking Bougatsa is famous all over Greece, what makes Iordanis so popular?
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’ had steadily remained open for so many decades.
“We haven’t changed the family recipe. We have kept it the same as it was back in the early 1920s. Another difference is that we use oil instead of butter, which enhances the taste,” confides Ioanna.
On the wall, you see a photograph of the original Iordanis on display. This was the father-in-law of Iordanis, a baker from Constantinople who bought the shop in 1924 from a Cretan Muslim. Iordanis Akasiadis, who was a shoemaker at the time, decided to follow next and learning the tricks of the trade he took over in 1924 and this is how it got its name.
The walls are also full of inspiring inscriptions, testifying that the shop is a firm favourite with those who visit.
“Expensive labels mean nothing to me, even if it’s Armani;
but the bougatsa I eat; must always come from Iordanis.”
“Whenever I come to Chania, I get those sugar cravings.
Eating one whole baking pan of bougatsa Iordanis is the only way to tame them (one baking pan though won’t do the trick).”
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!
And if you can’t make it to Chania, try our traditional creamy bougatsa recipe yourself here on Greek City Times.
Address: Apokoronou 24, Chania
*All images by Greek City Times (Copyright)