Recipes from my #1 Amazon bestseller The Great Mediterranean Comfort Food Tour
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FRAPPES & FREDDOS: Greek Hipster Coffees
Athanasia, Thermaikos Bar, Thessaloniki, Greece
Everyone in Greece was drinking Turkish-style coffee until a single impulsive moment at a 1957 trade fair changed the nation's coffee culture forever. The Swiss manufacturer Nestlé had come to the trade fair in Thessaloniki in order to promote instant Nescafé and a short-lived product involving chocolate milk made in a shaker. One day a Nescafé employee called Dimitrios Vakondios was desperate for a jolt of caffeine but couldn’t find any hot water. On impulse, he borrowed the shaker from the chocolate milk rep and mixed Nescafé instant coffee with cold water and ice. The idea of iced coffee was shockingly radical — yet irresistibly alluring in Greece’s warm climate. Suddenly everybody in Thessaloniki wanted to try it, and soon iced instant coffee became the drink of choice for younger, trendier Greeks everywhere.
This revolutionary drink was dubbed the frappé (from the French "frapper," meaning to hit, referring to the ice smashing around in the shaker). It can be served with varying amounts of white or brown sugar, with or without condensed milk, and — if you really want to feel the love — a scoop of ice cream.
The frappé reigned supreme until the 1990s, when it was overtaken by the freddo, a similar iced drink made from the classier Italian espresso. It can of course be configured to any degree of sweetness, and if you want milk, you ask for a freddo cappuccino.
Frappé Recipe: Mix up a little water, two teaspoons of Nescafé, and four teaspoons of sugar. Use a blender to beat it to a creamy consistency, add ice and a little condensed milk, stir, then top it up with a bit more water.
Freddo Recipe: The process is the same but with one or two shots of espresso in place of the instant coffee.
For more on Greek coffee culture, including how coffee grounds are used for predicting the future, see my post Greek Coffee: Freddos, Frappés & Fortunetelling. To see Athanasia prepare these coffees, watch the video below.