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Hora, Caught in Amber

AndrosHora, Caught in Amber

The capital town is primarily a creation of the island’s great shipping families, and has that genteel, elevated-nose feel to it. This is not a small city devoted to the tourist trade, but rather a real Greek town complete with a daily, and seasonal, routine of its own that still seems to date back to several decades ago, at least.

Hora and Kato Kastro

I. K. Embiricos Street, Hora

Shops on the main thoroughfare, I. K. Embirikos Street, seem to have no street numbers, nor can the proprietors supply them. (When pressed, they’ll lasso a postman and ask, futilely, for a precise address.) Thus, the Lygizos family sweet shop (Tel 22820 24380) may well be located at No. 289 Embirikos, but there’s no number on the door! Inside, however, you’ll likely find Stamatoula Lygizou and her son Evangelos serving up amazing pastries.

Almond "Pastes," at Lygizos, Hora

In the pink plus tiropitta

The four stars of the sweet show here are the Almond “pastes,” Nougatina, Sokolatina and Amygdalou. The pastes are made of cream and crushed almonds; the Nougatina is a confection of meringue cookies, whipped sugar, almonds and cinnamon; the Sokolatina is a three-tiered, chocolate-covered torte drenched in cognac syrup; and the Amygdalou is a tiered almond torte with whipped sugar and butter.

Beneath the Plane Trees, Plateïa Kaïri

Mezedopoleion Ononas, Nimborio

Roughly across the street is the Krisilas Bakery (Tel 22820 23464), which has been serving up the town’s best tiropittes (cheese pies) since 1964. People rush in, buy several, and then stand around in the street gobbling them down. If you arrive just a bit too late after they come out of the oven, you’re out of luck.

Spoon Sweets, Dimitris Laskaris's Shop

Another rare emporium on Embirikos Street is Dimitris Laskaris’s Andriot Spoon Sweet Shop, open since 1906 (Tel 22820 22305). Spoon sweets are rather like a heavier version of preserves, and are traditionally consumed, one sweet spoon at a time, followed by a cold glass of water. They’re the ultimate in blood-sugar-pick-me-ups, and come in an astonishing variety of flavors. At Laskaris, for example, I saw on offer: Pergamon, Bitter Orange, Black Cherry, Cherry, Rose Petal, Grape, Fig, Citron, Bitter Almond, Lemon, Vanilla and several other flavors untranslatable. I’ve been frequenting this shop since the 1970s, and nothing here is any less sweet nor perfect than it was back then.

Organic grocery in Hora

Farther along the main street in Hora, opposite the National Bank of Greece, stop in at a little shop run by Athanasia Giannaki called "Paradosiako Pandopoleion Androu," aka the organic Andriot grocery. You will find here local organic foodstuffs: herbs, rusks and breads, honey, sweets, liqueurs, capers, cheeses and preserves, among many, many other things (Tel: 22820 23462).