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Also known as Easter Cookies, Koulourakia (one of them is a Koulouraki) are pastries made at Easter for eating on Easter Sunday – though really we eat them at any time (and so can you).

Maybe this is a good time to tell people in northern Europe about the eastern Orthodox churches and how they conduct themselves during the great festival of Easter, because the Orthodox churches and the Western churches go about things a little differently.  On what is known as “Great Saturday,” (also known as the Great Sabbath, because that was the day Christ rested in the tomb, and Also known as Joyous Saturday), the eastern orthodox churches conduct a funeral service for Jesus. Later in the day comes the First Resurrection Service, which is the longest liturgy of the year and includes 15 readings from the Old Testament followed by a Gospel Reading. In the Greek Orthodox tradition, the clergy strew flower petals and leaves of laurel as symbols that the gates of hell are broken.

The following day is Easter Sunday, a time of great rejoicing, and this is when Koulourakia (and many other things) are eaten. Similar in texture to a brioche, they are made with a lot of butter, glazed with egg, have a touch of vanilla to the flavour, may be ring shaped, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. (The name actually describes a lifebelt shape). Alternative shapes are horseshoes, wreaths, and Greek letters; in Minoan times a very similar pastry was shaped like a snake, because the snake was worshipped in Crete, and this will serve to remind us that traditions like this have been adopted by the churches from much older sources, since the Minoans lived long before Christ, but still made a similar bread for religious purposes.

Look after them, keep them fresh, and eat them in the morning with coffee or in the afternoon with tea – or, indeed, at any time when you happen to feel like it.

If you want an idea how rich these pastries are, we have a recipe from the female parishioners of St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church which, to eight cups of flour, adds two cups of butter, two more of sugar, and six eggs. The recipe also lists vanilla and baking powder, but it is that volume of butter and eggs that will grab most people’s attention. The flavour is usually described as “sweet and light,” to which we would add, ‘Yeah. And RICH!’

Company Info

Contact Person: Nikos Andrea
Mailing Address: Koniele Trading LTD,
Evagorou 6, Dromolaxia, Cyprus 7020
Call/Text: 00 357 97 884776
Company Reg. No: HE343968