June 10, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

A cod business that is over 113 years old

The tavern in Thessaloniki that sells fried cod is now in its fourth generation of owners. Over the years of its existence, the establishment has offered visitors millions of tons of fried fish, tirelessly worrying that each of them will be satisfied.

Marialisa Keranidu, the youngest in the family, did not go to the parade yesterday to help her grandfather and father in the family tavern. She says that the work week on the eve of the national holiday on March 25 is unlike any other for the whole year:

“Two weeks ago we started cooking, cleaning and butchering cod. This week we have been doing the soaking, which is done in huge troughs, because we have too many fish, and this year more than in any other. We change cold water every seven hours to get rid of the salt.”

Journalists from many countries traditionally come to Thessaloniki and certainly visit the famous tavern. At the very beginning it was a small shop, and now it is an establishment of a large successful business. For many years, queues at this establishment have been an indispensable attribute of Thessaloniki, writes CNN Greece.

The history of the oldest store “τα μπακαλιαράκια του Αρίστου” began in 1910, when Aristos’ father opened it on Katun Street. It was so small that the owner could barely fit inside to prepare his meals. The main customers at that time were dock workers, and the menu included bougatsa and various delicacies of Asia Minor cuisine, in the preparation of which anchovies and sardines were used.

In 1941, Aristos’ son took over the store and decided to serve cod to customers. There was no possibility of large production, so the preparation of fish stopped at 9-10 in the morning, and many people remained hungry. The young daughter of one of the owners says:

“Customers ate almost standing up and wherever they could stand to feast on during a break from hard work. They usually spread the newspaper on which the store served fish, on the hoods of cars, on wagons, or on any metal sheet roughly laid in front of them.”

In 1987, grandfather Aristos handed over the famous store to his nephews, Dimitris and Nikolaos Keranidis. The first was a graduate of the school of mechanical engineering, and the second – the school of physics. Noting that the business is growing, a few years later the brothers replaced their grandfather’s old baking systems with modern ones, but at the same time carefully preserved the traditions of their ancestors in cooking.

The youngest of the family, who grew up, like her brothers, surrounded by the smell of cod, does not know the secrets of its preparation. Well, or, at least, does not want to give them out, which is more likely. As she herself says, for more than a hundred years, the mouths of the few people involved in this case remained tightly closed, and no one said anything about the ingredients and dosage. Keranidou says, quoted by CNN Greece:

“All our customers want to know the secrets of grilled garlic cod, but it’s impossible. To give you an idea of ​​how well our secret has been kept for a century: not a single thing has leaked out, not even the batter that Aristos made. All that was left, was thrown down the drain so that no one would know the ingredients of the secret recipe.I can only say that our skordalia* is made with bread.And for those who will cook at home, I will reveal a little secret: cod requires a lot of oil, a lot of patience and a very strong fire, so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

* Skordalia or aliada is a Greek sauce in the form of a thick puree, which is made from potatoes, stale bread with olive oil, garlic, nuts, spices, sometimes with the addition of white wine vinegar. Skordalia is traditionally served as a side dish sauce for fried hake or cod.

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