Delicacies of pastourma, soutzouki and bull meat
Κourounlian Miran is considered to be the man who made pastourma widely known in Greece. Miran, a refugee from Caesarea, Cappadocia, who fled from his home after the genocide of the Armenians, travelled to Istanbul, from there to Chios Island and finally, to Piraeus, where in 1922 he started making pastourma, the art he mastered best. A few years later, he opened a tiny little shop on 45, Evripidou Street in Athens.
In 1950, Miran opened a processed meats factory. From that moment onwards, Miran products started being distributed throughout Greece. When Berdos, his son, took over the management in 1983, he expanded the plant turning it into a modern unit. Currently, Miran and Grikor, the founder’s grandsons, are at the helm, with the firm carrying out export activities to countries of the European Union and to other third countries.
Pastourma (or pastrima) is a typical Anatolian cured meat, which used to be prepared in many regions of Greece and more precisely, in those in close proximity to Turkey (i.e. Thrace, the Northeast Aegean Islands, the Dodecanese Islands). Greek refugees from Asia Minor introduced pastourma to Athens and the rest of Greece; when they lost their homes for good in 1922, Greek refugees came to Greece empty-handed carrying though their civilization with them. In the old days, according to connoisseurs, the best pastourma was made from camel meat. Nowadays, pastourma is prepared from veal. At the last stage of its preparation, the meat is coated with tsimeni (a spicy paste) and left to cure. Pastourma owes its characteristic smell and flavour to the most potent spice used in the spice blend which includes fenugreek, paprika, allspice and cumin.
In the past, when spices were the only medium for preserving and ensuring pastourma’s characteristic flavour, it took more than one week for its smell to leave the body of the one that had consumed it! Luckily, nowadays that we are living in the era of the refrigerators, the quantity of the spice utilized is much less and we can say goodbye to the smell much sooner!
Recently, Miran store on Evripidou Street underwent a renovation now boasting a green façade of live plant. In the special tasting spaces configured inside the store you can try Miran products but also the products of other small artisan producers.