In their early 20s, 15 years ago, a brother and sister team from the Island of Crete, started a small traditional grocery store in Athens called “Dictamo”, fulfilling their father’s life-long dream.
Mr John Koumentakis, now age of 94, decided to familiarize the Athenians with the goodness he was raised with.
Based on this belief, his son and daughter, George and Kallia, put for the first time on their store shelves of their store, pure traditional products, which came from Crete. Feta and Graviera cheese, wine, olive oil, rusks, pasta and “apaki” (smoked pork fillet) were some of the goods that they started to offer their customers.
As the years passed, and with personal research in local areas of Greece, they filled their store with conventional and organic goods from all over the country, as well as some selected organic foods from abroad.
“Everything that we sell in our store, has to first be approved by our father, and subsequently by my brother and me in order to sell them in Dictamo” Kallia says. “The personal contact and friendly relationship that we keep with the local Greek farmers guarantees the quality of the products sold in our store”.
“They are unique, pure, prime grade products” she continues. Their love for the limited and exceptional products forced them to detect and unearth, and supply the market, with goods that were about to be extinct (e.g. flour from an old wheat variety “Mavragani wheat flour”).
“We are more than happy, that after 15 years of hard work, we achieved our goal “Dictamo” became a landmark for those who love to use and cook with special groceries and raw ingredients.
“Our customers have become our friends over the years, are visit the store on a daily basis, to pick up for their homes cow, goat and buffalo milk, organic fruits and vegetables, organic eggs and yogurt and handmade bread” adds George.
In this family store, the customers can also find several kind of Greek cheeses, Cretan rusks, wines and raki, several pasta types from old wheat (Zea pasta is one of them) and also different types of “super food” for the athletes.“Dictamo” is also famous for its unique variety of herbs. George on his own has researched and collected many Greek herbs, which can be used for medicinal purposes. The Dictamo herb (from which the store took its name) is a famous herb that one can only found on Island of Crete.
More than 70 kinds of herbs can be found at the store, and with George and Kallia’s help and knowledge the customer can choose the one he needs. Also, handmade soaps made with pure ingredients are also sold at “Dictamo”. And all these at competitive prices.
The last five years, the youngest sister Evangeline who has a natural talent in cooking joined the business. At first, she was cooking and making goods for clients on request. Now, with a perfect designed and equipped kitchen under EU Standards, Evangeline provides the store with handmade traditional pies using her own recipes, sugar-free cookies and jams as well as Dinkel handmade bread, Cretan “kaltsounia” (small cheese-pies), traditional Easter bread “tsoureki” and many other.
“Cooking is my hobby. As far as I can remember, I have a picture of my mum and me making Kaltsounia at our house in Crete. I used to cook for friends in order to have them taste the traditional Cretan cuisine. After some friends’ request and my father’s momentum
I started cooking for the family store! The pleasure and satisfaction I see on people’s faces after having tasted my food gives me happiness and for that moment I have achieved my goal. We all know that food is one of life’s best pleasures.
Therefor my goal is to provide customer satisfaction through my food and to familiarize our clients with the dishes that my siblings and I grew up with! Healthy, tasty and pure goodness is our secret” she states. The most interesting part of Evangeline cooking is that an aroma from her cooking fills the neighborhood. Smells such as of fresh baked Tsoureki, cream sweet pies with cinnamon or made jams create a unseen path towards the family store!
George and his sisters, with their kindness and Cretan hospitality, wait for you, to treat you with Raki and sweet kaltsounia and welcome you to their magnificent world of Greek traditional products!