A Smyrnaian Patisserie (and not only) in the heart of Heraklion

Σμύρνη των Ελλήνων - Πατρίδα των Φυλλοσοφιών

Smyrna. An earthly paradise. An abundance oasis and a Middle Eastern sensory feast.

Kilometer-long caravans arrived in the city with products from the depths of the East, to be forwarded to European markets, using the largest port in the eastern Mediterranean.

Due to this commercial boom, Smyrna became a multicultural center with visitors from all over the world. Its cuisine, as expected, received influences from many others, giving rise to special and fine tastes. It developed differences from the corresponding “Political”, becoming lighter, more extroverted, with obvious European influences, thus reflecting the cosmopolitan character of the city.
Σμύρνη - Παζάρι
Sweets, of course, had a prominent role in Smyrna cuisine.

In the pastry shops of Big Bezesteni (Izmir’s fabric market) one could taste ice creams, yogurts, rice milk, muallebi, creams, lukum, seker lukum, kadaif, kazan dipi, curcumbinia, dozens of types of baklava, etc.

All around, you could see dozens of street vendors with their kebabs, halva and frozen sherbets. Sweets for every taste and every desire. Recipes from ancient Greece, from Byzantium, from Arabic countries and from the Ottoman Empire, recipes that were true family and historical heirlooms.
Recipes that were brought from the western shores of Asia Minor to the refugee districts of Greece in 1922 and from there they survived to this day and are cooked in kitchens in Nea Smyrni, Nicaea, Nea Ionia, Crete and all over Greece.

In the center of Heraklion, Crete, such a cuisine has been prospering and developing steadily for 100 years.

It is called Phyllosophies and it carries the thread of the tradition of Smyrna’s culinary masters from the Asia Minor disaster to today. Here, in 1922, Apostolos Salkintzis, a culinary master of bougatsa from Smyrna, made his abode.

Μπουγάτσα Μυζήθρα με γλυκό κυδώνι - Φυλλοσοφίες
Bougatsa myzithra with sweet quince – one of the special proposals of the Masters of Bougatsa
In this place – in addition to the bougatsa which is the trademark and masterpiece of Phyllosofies – the famous “Bougatsa of Apostolis” – grandfather Apostolos also created a small Smyrna patisserie, preparing and serving selected Smyrna sweets with the original recipes, which he brought from him home.

We keep these recipes carefully guarded as a family heirloom and so every day, using pure local ingredients, among other dishes, we prepare for you:

LOUKOUMADES with honey, sesame, grated walnuts, powdered sugar & ice cream or chocolate.

Although associated in most people’s minds with the Constantinople, loukoumades (Greek honey donuts) have a much older origin.

The first mention of this historic sweet pastry is recorded in the Olympic games of 776 BC. and named honey coins. Their shape was even then round and they were offered as a prize to the Olympic Winners, along with the winner’s wreath.

It is worth mentioning that in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, loukoumades were served as a tribute to the first gold medalists in the history of mankind.

Aristotle, Archestratus and Aristophanes also mention them in their works. It is said, in fact, that the recipe for its preparation is the first recorded ancient confectionery recipe. Recipes for loukumades are also found in Arabic cookbooks of the 13th century, from where the Ottomans probably took them and incorporated them into their own cuisine.

Their current name comes from the Turkish word lokma meaning bite.

These delicious balls of dough fried in oil, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, are perfect for any moment of the day. Here in Crete, we are used to them with local Cretan honey and cinnamon, but we also serve them with sesame, walnuts, sugar, ice cream or even chocolate. It goes without saying that here at Phyllosophies we use pure thyme honey, flour from local mills for the dough, olive oil for frying, and pure local milk for the ice creams.

Our customers, in fact, report that our loukoumades are the tastiest they have ever been served.

Come and try them and tell us what you think.
Παραδοσιακοί Λουκουμάδες - Φυλλοσοφίες
Traditional Loukoumades with Cretan thyme honey and sesame
Λουκουμάδες με μέλι Ηράκλειο Κρήτης Φυλλοσοφίες
Fresh traditional loukumades with honey & sesame from Phyllosophies


Κανταΐφι Φυλλοσοφίες Ηράκλειο Κρήτης
Traditional kadaif made from fresh dough that we create ourselves and crunchy nuts.
Another famous and beloved dessert with a history lost in the years of the Ottoman Empire.

An ancestor of the kadaif (a form of pudding filled with nuts) is mentioned in the epic “A Thousand and One Nights” with names such as “yassı kadayıf”, “taş kadayıf” or “taş ekmeği”. It is also mentioned in Arabic cookbooks, such as the famous “Kitab al-Tabikh”, and dates back to before the 15th century.

Its current form is made from “tel kadayif”, a thin fibrous dough that is baked long enough to keep its shape. These “tel kadayıf” are then shaped into various forms and filled with walnuts. In Turkey it is prepared in dozens of different ways and fillings.

It usually contains nuts such as almond, walnut, hazelnut, pistachio but it is poured with honey syrup which gives it a particularly sweet taste. The authentic kadaif is rose-baked and the whole secret lies in the baking and the excellent quality of the nuts and honey.

In Phyllosophies we use Cretan thyme honey, local Cretan butter and extra virgin oil. Our recipe is a family heirloom and we have been following it faithfully for over a hundred years.


Baklava is also a sweet pastry with a long history, although not sufficiently recorded. Many countries claim its creation, but the prevailing theory is that it was originally created from Turkish tribes of Central Asia, and it was perfected in the kitchens of the Sultan’s palaces.

Many ancients pastries claim to be its ancestors,  among others the Byzantine Greek sweet pastry kopti which contained nuts and honey, but did not include dough. Another variation is mentioned in a Chinese recipe book from the 1300s, called güllach. Today, in modern Turkish cuisine, there is a similar dessert with the almost identical name güllac in which thin sheets of dough are baked with milk and sugar and served with walnuts and fresh pomegranates. However, in its current form, baklava is not found before the Ottoman Empire.

Its current versions are also numerous. Some include clove and cinnamon and others rose water and cardamom. It is almost a “sacred” sweet for the Turks, with the training of its craftsmen (ustas) lasting up to 8 years! This training includes the perfecting of each craftsman in stages that include the preparation of the dough, its transformation into thin sheets, the binding of the syrup, baking at the appropriate temperature, etc. In fact, its version with pistacchio was already registered in 2008 through the Turkish Patent Office and is included in the European Commission’s list of protected products of origin (PDO).

In Philosophies we have a long tradition in the making of baklava! Our unique way of creating (opening) the phyllo (dough), combined with the fresh goat and sheep butter and the cracked pistachios with which we serve it, can satisfy even the most demanding guest. It is a crispy and light tasting, genuine Smyrna baklava.
Μπακλαβάς Φυλλοσοφίες Ηράκλειο Κρήτης
Traditional Smyrna Baklava from Phyllosophies with a family heirloom recipe

Greek Politiko or Byzantine

Παραδοσιακό Βυζαντινό από τις Φυλλοσοφίες
The aristocratic Byzantine
Greek Politiko or Byzantine is a sweet pastry that owes its existence to the creative imagination of the cooks of cosmopolitan Constantinople.

It is based on the classic ravani (revani in Turkey), the well-known confection made from yogurt and semolina that, after being baked in the oven, is covered with syrup.

On top of this delicious dessert, the cooks of the city added cream, which sometimes includes pastry cream and whipped cream and sometimes plain cream.

It is sweet, festive, light, and especially aromatic. Come and try our own family’s version with semolina from local mills, Cretan butter and fresh goat milk cream.

We are waiting for you to sweeten you!