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  • Bar Vlaha opens in Boston area

    Posted by elissa mondschein on May 1, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    For members of the Aromanian-American community, especially those in the Boston area, March 23, 2023 was a special day. This day marked the opening of Bar Vlaha, a new restaurant in the Boston area featuring the Vlach cuisine of Greece.

    Opened by the Xenia group, Demetri Tsolakis explained that the idea came from his travels through Northern and Central Greece, rediscovering Greek food and culture through the Vlach people.

    Traveling to the villages of Archoava, Trikala, through the Pindus Mountains to Epirus, Ioannina to Metsovo (where Metsovone cheese is produced), and Zagorochoria to Grevena, and Northern Greece, he collected recipes at bakeries, restaurants, and from conversations with residents of each area. He found the Vlach people warm and inviting and ready to share information on food, restaurants, recipes, and traditions. He found that each village and area had one or more specialties, like river trout, spoon sweets, or flour and feta pie baked in woodstone ovens. As he conveyed to me, “the smell of charcoal and wood burning in these regions is an aroma I will never forget.” I asked if there were any stories he could tell us about collecting specific recipes, and he related these two:

    “When we went to Zagorochoria we were invited in by a local shop owner whose ‘yiayia’ showed us how to make alevropita, the savory feta and flour pie. She allowed our chef to take photos and even make the pie. This was a staple on our trip and has already become a staple at Bar Vlacha. We also went foraging for wild mushrooms in Grevena and found a local mushroom forager we source seasonal mushrooms from.”

    For Bar Vlaha, they are sourcing locally, just like the Vlach people he met on his travels. Getting the best milk means making great cheese, bread, and pies in-house from scratch. They are also using local sources for meats, and importing any specialty items not found locally.

    While there are Greek restaurants all over the US, they hope this new restaurant introducing Vlach fare to Americans serves to help customers rediscover the varied roots of Greek cuisine. In doing this, they have tried to stay as close to the original concept as possible.

    When customers ask questions about the food and culture of the Vlachs, the staff at Bar Vlaha love to tell their stories of the Vlach people and of their trips to villages for conversation and recipe gathering. My correspondence with Demetri ended with this wonderful sentiment.

    “We never knew there was such a large Vlach community in the States. We have had Vlachs visit us already and reach out from near and far. They are beyond ecstatic to see their proud culture in the spotlight. It was an amazing trip and glad I could bring it to life.”

    Thanks to Demetri Tsolakis for answering my questions about the restaurant and sharing his enthusiasm for Vlach people and their recipes.

    Bar Vlaha is located at 1653 Beacon Street, Brookline, 02445. The restaurant is open daily from 5pm to 11 pm, and you can make reservations for up to 20 people from their website:

    https://barvlaha.com/

    elissa mondschein replied 1 year, 1 month ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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