You’ll find Liopita, a place where every kind of pie (pita) is made, at 12 Demosthenous Street, in Kalamata’s Old Market. Its owner, Elpida Peristeropoulou, a woman who, because of Greece’s ‘crisis’, left her job as an accountant and decided to create something of her own, a shop specialising in hand-made pies. It’s an undertaking that the people of Kalamata have embraced with enthusiasm, many of them passing by every day to pick up a bite.
Liopita is something unusual in this city, since it sells nothing but pies and makes them using only olive oil as shortening. In the beginning, Elpida made traditional types of pies with cheese, olives, chicken etc, after a while she went on to create pies with ‘alternative’ ingredients like mushrooms, tomatoes, artichokes, aubergines, courgettes, pastourma, spicy sausage and, generally speaking, pies based on seasonal produce or Greek holidays, so that during Lent, for example, there would always be a selection of special pies for those who fast. Displayed in the shop window, you can see as many as 15 different choices.
Elpida arrives at the shop every morning at 5 am, when she starts kneading her dough, since she must have pies ready to sell by 8 am up until closing time at 3 pm.
‘Most of our customers are young, between the ages of 18 and 45, and that’s because this age group cares about proper nutrition, the value of good olive oil, etc, and seeks it out. Every morning I use up to 1000 kilos of oil from my own trees, but it’s worth it’, her husband tells us.
Elpida takes up the thread, ‘The most popular pie is the Liopita, which contains olives, tomatoes, onions and peppers, followed by Messinian custard pie (galopita), and Pita Kaisareias with pastourma or its counterpart from Cappodocia with soutzouki (spicy sausage). And they’re all made from my own recipes, which I’ve been perfecting for years.’