The best Bougatsa of Crete

The history of bougatsa, according to historical reports, begins with the gastronomic pleasures of the Byzantine Empire and more specifically with Constantinople, before it was conquered by the Turks.

Byzantium was famous for its pan sweets as well as its pies, a tradition that continued even after the conquest of the city. As the traveler Evlia Tselebi informs us, in the 17th century, Constantinople had two famous bakeries that prepared kourou bougatsa, kigmali (that is, with minced meat), peynirli (with cheese) and “sade bougatsa” (sprinkled with sugar).

It is worth mentioning that the original version of the bougatsa was without cream or other content inside. It was served plain. Only with sugar – maybe cinnamon sticks too. However, its special feature, in which the Phyllo..sophies (lit. Dough-Wisdoms) specialize, is its very special dough, the so-called air dough, where, according to the original recipe, it must be opened by hand in the AIR! So that it is fluffy and crispy!
Etymologically, the word seems to be derived from the Italian focaccia which refers to a type of flat Italian bread. The name focaccia in turn comes from the Roman “panis focacius”, meaning “hearth bread”, referring to the fact that focaccia was traditionally baked on coals in Roman times. This recipe then consisted of coarse flour, olive oil, water, a very small amount of yeast and salt, and was probably quite simple. It is worth noting here the association with the original, simple, unstuffed version of the bougatsa.

The word focaccia was transliterated into pogátsa in Constantinople, and was transferred with slight variations to Slavic countries as pogača to arrive at today’s Bughátsa ‘bughátsa’.

After the Asia Minor disaster, bougatsa, like many other asia minor sweets and foods, entered Greek cuisine. Bougatsa dominated in northern Greece as a large number of refugees from Asia Minor were housed there, but also in other places where Asia Minor refugees happened to be resettled.
ancient roman bakery
Μπουγάτσα με Κρητική Μυζήθρα, μέλι και καρύδια
Bougatsa with Cretan Myzithra, Cretan wild honey and walnuts
The story of Apostolos Salkitzis, the master of the bougatsa of Hamidieh of Smyrna, is one of them. In 1922, Apostolos Salkitzis came to Crete and made his abode in the central square of Heraklion, at the lion’s square, right across the famous Morozini fountain. He brought with him his mastery of bougatsa and dough sheet in general. He also introduced, uniquely in Crete, beyond the classic bougatsa with cream, bougatsa with mizithra, a delicious marriage that resulted from the experimentation of grandfather Apostolos, who wanted to combine local raw materials with Asia Minor recipes.

Years passed, cities industrialized and most foods and sweets became standardized as a result. The materials were frozen and to be produced in large quantities lost their original quality. Bougatsa also became an industrial product.

The family of Apostolos Salkitzis, four generations now, chose to resist this trend. Serving the mandate “The Best Bougatsa of Crete” we make the Bougatsa (and every dough sheet we use in our recipes) as it was back then. By hand, in air, fresh every day and crispy. The ingredients, selected, pure, from selected small producers of Crete. The recipes are authentic, just like back then.
And, although over the years, the family has introduced new flavors and evolved existing ones, each change is made with respect for both tradition and uncompromising quality.

So today, you can enjoy bougatsa with cream or with myzithra, bougatsa with apple, bougatsa with goat cheese and zucchini, bougatsa with minced meat, vegetable pie, vegetable pie with myzithra, with local Cretan, thyme honey (or without), with local ice cream (or without) , with cinnamon (or not) in various combinations and flavors to choose the ones that suit you best.
The Best Bougatsa of Crete
Bougatsa with Cream by Phyllosophies

“The Best Bougatsa of Crete” is not just another sentence. It is the choice of a family of four generations serving 100 years of history!