Meet the Maker: Daphnis and Chloe
Daphnis and Chloe is a small batch culinary herbs and spice shop located in Athens, Greece. Started in 2013 by Evangelia Koutsovoulou, she aims to bring the quality and diversity of culinary plants from small farms across Greece to our kitchens around the globe. Evangelia says she “started my business because I came across this question: Why were certain herbs from my childhood so much better than what I can buy now?” Her drive to answer that question has made it possible for all of us to enjoy and appreciate the flavors of the Greek countryside right here in Ann Arbor. In 2018, they created an office/laboratory/retail space in Athens. If you’re lucky enough to visit Greece, you could shop in person for their herbs. In the meantime, you can find them on our shelves at the Deli!
The thyme flowers are one of Deli Managing Partner Grace Singleton‘s favorite culinary herbs from Daphnis and Chloe. She says they are beautiful and delicious. Daphnis and Chloe harvest while the thyme is blooming so you get the combination of the flowers and the buds of the herbs. “Thyme is one of my favorite herbs to use in the kitchen at any time, but these are especially fragrant and flavorful,” says Grace. The buds are dried fully formed, not broken into little pieces of thyme, which is what we’re all used to seeing. Grace thinks the whole thyme buds store better and keep their flavor longer, perhaps because there is less oxygen and less exposure of the inner leaves of the bud. She takes the whole buds and just breaks them up with her fingers before using them. Roll your fingers over the exterior and end up with just the stem in the middle. It’s ok if the stem ends up in the dish too, as it’s not overly thick so it won’t do anything but add some extra flavor. Ari says that the smell of the thyme flowers “transports me back to the Greek countryside (if you haven’t been, it may make you want to go)”.
The Greek Mountain Tea is a favorite of our tea buyer Jackson. He says you can taste history when you drink this tea! Herbal Mountain Tea has been a staple in Greek pantries for millenia. Originally harvested from wild plants growing on rocky, mountainous slopes, most selections today are cultivated. Evangelia works with an organic farm in Grevena to source this rare, slightly purple varietal. It’s minty, citrusy, floral, spicy, and above all, delicious! It never gets bitter with long infusions, just more intense; you can typically steep each serving 3-4 times before it has given up all its aromatic goodness. And because it’s naturally caffeine-free, Mountain Tea is perfect for any time of day. Try it once and it will quickly become a staple in your pantry, too.