Cold cuts - Dairy products
If we assume that pastourma or pastrima was first introduced to Greece in 1922 by the Greeks who fled away from Asia Minor after the Greco-Turkish war – the regions which accommodated the Greek immigrants were the first ones to become acquainted with this new entry that later became known to the rest of Greece – the reign of pastourma was imposed in Athens by two Armenians from Cappadocia, Miran and Arapian.
Ninety years later, at the Central Market of Athens, down Evripidou Street, the smell of pastourma will definitely make your head turn dragging you inside two shops next door to each other standing at the very same spot since 1922 and 1935, which are now run by the descendants of these two famous Armenians.
The story of Arapian begins in 1935 when Sarkis Arapian sets up a small pastourma making workshop in the old region of Kokkinia, a working-class neighbourhood in Piraeus, opening at the same time a small store on Evripidou Street selling pastourma and sujuk to Athens but also distributing it to the Greek countryside. Nowadays, a smiling polite young man, Fanis Thedoropoulos, part of the third generation of Arapian, keeps the family tradition alive sourcing many of his products from “Sary” award-winning processed meat factory in Drama, at the north of Greece.
Apart from the various types of pastourma, the range of Arapian cold cuts also includes sujuk in several shapes; flat-shaped, horse-shoe shaped, round-shaped. Even though it looks like a sausage, sujuk is different. It is made from sheep’s and beef’s meat while the exquisite spices added to it give the meat a very piquant flavour. Sujuk is ready to eat but you can also taste it grilled or fried. Kavourmas, another suggestion coming from the region of Drama, is made from sheep’s, beef or buffalo meat. Meat pieces are boiled in a spicy broth and then allowed to cool, left in the broth and the fat rendered out during the cooking process.
The savoury mezedes of Arapian are not only famous among culinary connoisseurs. They have been discovered by some alternative tourism agencies who are now offering food tours on Evripidou Street to groups with gastronomic concerns that stand amazed before a whole new world, that of the Anatolian flavours and tastes. Apart from the cold cuts that bear the label of the store, in Arapian you will also find an excellent collection of dairy products from small Greek artisan producers.