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It’s All Greek to Me

Photos by Bradley Hawks

BY BRADLEY HAWKS

It might be that time of year when you find yourself covered in flour, licking batter from a wooden spoon, surrounded by a cloud of confectioner’s sugar. While cookies and baked treats are certainly a hallmark of the holidays, Astorians can enjoy some of the finest pastries in the world all year long.

If you haven’t been yet, you should plan a visit this winter to Artopolis Bakery—one of the city’s finest Greek bakeries, tucked into a Mediterranean enclave of small shops off of 31st Street near 24th Avenue. Men in suits dunk cookies into steaming cups of coffee at wire tables, while families choose among every cookie imaginable hidden behind white veils and tucked into glass cupboards. Colorful fruits soaked in honey are available by the jar, and Jordan almonds sit in rows of canisters offering every color of the rainbow.

Whether you are craving a raspberry jam-stamped thumbprint or a honey-drenched thumb of touloumbes, a custard-filled phyllo stack of galaktoboureko or a luxurious wedge of fresh baklava, this is the emporium for all things delicious.

Greek women shuffle in and out of the kitchen, bearing trays of cheese pies and spanakopita. Tartes and macarons of every variety shine from behind glass showcases.  But don’t worry about your lack of Greek knowledge—signs are posted above many of the treats, explaining their history, ingredients and cultural significance. It’s the kind of schooling you can sink your teeth into.

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