In Ancient Greece, these deep fried dough balls were served to the winners of the Greek Olympics. The Greek poet Callimachus 310/305–240 BC was the first to state that these deep fried dough balls were the ritual feeding of the victors at ancient Olympia soaked in honey and then served as "honey tokens"(χαρίσιοι in Gr).

Callimachus’ reference to these “honey tokens” is the earliest mention of any kind of pastry in European literature. Today, the “honey tokens” of Callimachus are known as Loukoumades (pronounced ‘loo-koo-MAH-thess) and can be found throughout Greece in special pastry shops that serve only Loukoumades.

In Greece, loukoumades are commonly spiced with cinnamon in a honey syrup and can be sprinkled lightly with powdered sugar and roasted sesame seeds or crushed walnuts. The pastry is also called zvingoi by the Greek Jews, who make them as Hanukkah treats. It is claimed to have been originated by the Romaniotes. A similar dish is also found in Italy as Sfingi di San. Loukoumades are best if eaten warm, the same day they are made. These delicious mouthfuls are impossible to resist.


In some places around Greece you will found them also in the shape of a doughnut and always made fresh on order.


In the US, spring and summer Greek festivals always have them cooking up and the loukoumades are as big a draw. (recipe)


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