Inside a Greek’s suitcase

Inside a Greek’s suitcase

The Suitcase.

An essential product for holidaymakers everywhere. And especially for a Greek man or woman.

Now I’m not talking about what’s inside the suitcase on the way TO the holiday destination.

I’m talking about what’s inside the suitcase on the way BACK, when you are more likely to be stopped at customs and have your luggage pulled apart in front of everyone.


So what IS inside a Greek’s suitcase?

  • Olive oil – freshly pressed from an aunts/uncles/grandparents olive-tree farm
  • Olives – see above
  • Halloumi/Feta – in bulk
  • Holy water – to replenish the last of the water that was thrown over the grandchildren before they got on the aeroplane
  • Fresh figs – usually stolen from a neighbour’s garden
  • Greek key rings – emblazoned with the Greek flag and/or something rude
  • Greek coffee – because no coffee tastes as good as a Greek coffee
  • Vanilla – for the kids back home – see recipe
  • Tsoureki Bread – even though it’s not Easter
  • Pita Bread – only proper GREEK pita will do
  • Any kind of Greek cookie/favour – there is usually at least one event that a Greek person will attend when visiting their homeland, be it a wedding, christening or even a funeral – bags of favours/cookies will be left over and we don’t like food to go to waste!
  • Special rice – for the HUGE giouvetsi needed for guests back home
  • Filo pastry– for the HUGE galaktoboureko needed for guests back home
  • ‘Ornamental’ knives/daggers/pistols – that can be found in any Greek souvenir shop
  • A new komboloi – new set of worry beads to add to the collection

My in-laws always come back from Cyprus overloaded with food and olive oil – many an argument about suitcase weight has ensued at the check-in at Larnaca Airport. My Yiayia (from Greece) was stopped at customs when she came to the UK once- well I guess we do have to be vigilant these days and even an old granny being wheeled along in a wheelchair is a potentially dangerous criminal! (Luckily she only had a suitcase full of GREEK Kinder Joy for my brother – in her mind, he is still only about 3 years old).

So what’s inside your suitcase???


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  1. 24th August 2015 / 12:10 pm

    Great stuff Ekaterina and oh so true. There are people out there that think this is an exaggeration but alas no.

    My mother is 84 years old and on probably her last visit to Cyprus. She went back with all the above items plus!! She had arrived with one large suitcase and retuned to the UK with two large suitcases plus a huge holdall crammed to the brim!!

    I can’t believe how inconsiderate family and friends are loading up an 84 year old woman with all this stuff!! Talk about killing her with kindness. When I pointed this out, mother said:
    “En birazi yemou, tha mou voithisi o anipsios mou bou thoulevi sto aerothromio.”

    “It doesn’t matter son, my cousin will help me he works at the airport”
    I didn’t have the heart to tell her he is only a waiter in one of the cafes and not a Customs Officer!!

    The really stupid thing is, she lives in a Greek/Cypriot community in London where there is an abundance of shops selling all the above and more imported from Cyprus/Greece.

    Things to add to your list:

    Louganiga…… Greek sausage
    Lountza………..Smoked Ham
    Bits of various plants i.e. Mint, Basil, to plant in the UK??

  2. 15th August 2014 / 10:57 am

    loukoumi for coffeeeeeeee!

  3. 11th August 2014 / 12:42 pm

    This is hilarious, Ekaterina ! – you have long since mastered the art of sending up your country with a gentle delight.

    • EBotziou
      11th August 2014 / 12:44 pm

      Haha I’m dreading what I’ll be asked to carry back this time!

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