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In Nicosia, Cyprus there is a traditional patisserie next to the fortification sacks and barrels that separate the free from the occupied part of the city. Its owner is Thodoris Disios, from the Greek village Kria Vrisi in Giannitsa.
Thodoris studied in Germany and then went to Cyprus in order to work for a multinational company.
After spending four to five years in Cyprus, he discovered that there was no sufficient local market for sweets. He then decided to open his own patisserie.
“I was looking to open a shop with an identity that reminded of Cyprus. Here you can find mostly franchise shops. In the beginning my store was a wreck without a roof. It took a lot of work to turn it into what it is today” he told us.
Thodoris Disios was accepted fully by the Cypriots, who account for 80% of his clientele. The remaining 20% are Greeks.
“I have some Cypriot Turks as costumers, who come here to buy kazandibi (a type of caramelized milk pudding dessert, also known as clink in English) he said.
His confectionary skills impress even the Cypriot Turks, who are also very good at making sweets.
He learned the “art” from his grandmother
He learned how to make sweets from his grandmother, which is why he decided to name his shop after her.
His bougatsa, a Greek breakfast pastry consisting of either semolina custard or cheese filling between layers of phyllo pastry, is unrivaled.
He is obsessed with traditional cuisine and never cheaps-out when it comes to quality materials.
Three times a week, he imports buffalo milk from Lake Kerkini in Serres, Northern Greece - a place where buffalos graze free.
He also makes a hearty calzone. His portions are generally large. “I go to some restaurants and they bring me a huge plate, impressively set up, but with a tiny portion. I want to tell the owner that I came here to eat, not to take a photo” he says.
He gave new life to the wreck
Thodoris has preserved the old facades, the old tiles on the floors, the architecture and the decorative elements of his store with devotion.
He spent a lot of money and worked very hard in order to give new life to his old and almost destroyed store.
He can always count on the helping hand of his wife - also from Kria Vrisi in Giannitsa, Greece.
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS