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A piece of Greece - in Luxembourg!
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A piece of Greece - in Luxembourg!

4 min. 10.12.2013 From our online archive
One of the best kept secrets about Greece is its rich and diverse cuisine. But, it won't remain hidden for long if the owner of Greek epicerie and salon de consommation Au Gourmet Grec, Georgios Gryllos, has anything to do with it.

(JB) One of the best kept secrets about Greece is its rich and diverse cuisine. But, it won't remain hidden for long if the owner of Greek epicerie and salon de consommation Au Gourmet Grec, Georgios Gryllos, has anything to do with it.

The economics graduate set up the country's only Greek store six years ago in the rue de Bonnevoie.

Since then, he has been importing the most mouthwatering food, cosmetics and beverages from all over Greece to show Luxembourg that Greek cuisine is about more than just Feta and Ouzo.

How did Au Gourmet Grec get started in Luxembourg?

G-I moved from Athens to Luxembourg in 2002 to work in the financial sector. I had discussed opening a Greek store with my father before and, after a while, I thought: “why not?”.

It's true that the choice of Greek products is limited here. People don't know much about Greek cuisine apart from their experiences on holiday. For the majority of people they think the food consists of one or two dishes and Ouzo. But, the cuisine is much deeper than that and there are a lot of producers who make great quality products in Greece. I wanted to show people what Greece can offer in the area of food and wine. For me it was a real passion and that's evident from the fact that the produce sold here is the result of a lot of research.

How do you select the products that you sell?

G-Luxembourg is a slightly limited market. It's not a big market because of the size of the population. To discover new produce we have to travel to Greece and visit the different regions.

Otherwise we will ask our producers to recommend other products. We try to test at least six or seven similar products before making a final choice.

Are your customers solely the Greek ex-pat community?

G-We think that there are about 2,000 Greeks living in Luxembourg, which translates as about 200 families. I would be very happy if they all shopped here. It's true the shop is very well known in the Greek community but there are a lot of Greeks who have lived here nearly 30 years and their tastes have adapted to the local cuisine so it's not only Greek people who come here. I think that's part of our success that we attract so many non-Greek nationalities. Often it starts with people coming in to buy just one thing, then they keep coming back.

How have the recent financial problems in Greece impacted your business?

G-There are a lot of Greeks going to other countries, looking for work and if they can't find work at home it's natural that they look outside. The problem is that it's not that easy to find work in Luxembourg either. I had a young man no older than 25 who came over looking for work. He asked for my help but couldn't find anything and had to go back to Greece. It's really sad to see that kind of despair. The crisis has affected everyone. I have uncles who have retired and seen their pensions reduced by several hundreds of euros because of the austerity measures.

What role has your family played in the running of your business?

G-My father runs an accountancy firm in Greece so he divides his time between Luxembourg and Greece. It's good to have the family around me. I had no idea at the beginning. I knew about the produce but managing a shop and working with the clients, I wasn't so sure about. My father taught me everything I needed to know.

What's the most popular product you sell?

G-Our olive oils are very popular, followed by cheeses, our wines and frozen goods and pastries.

What's the strangest product that you sell?

G-I don't tend to sell strange things but we have stocked some really exceptional luxury items. For a certain period we had wild truffles from the mountains in the north of Greece. They went very quickly. Unfortunately, it's not a product we can sell regularly or in large quantities.

People can also find more unusual things. Among our cheese, we have the well-known feta and halloumi but also rarer cheese like Kefalotiri, Metsovone and Anthotyros sec. We sell a range of fresh wild boar and venison sausages (Paleskipos).

What happens if you don't stock something that people ask for?

G-It's happened in the past that a customer knew exactly what they wanted, the brand. So, we've ordered things in especially for them. But, we can only do that for customers who want to make bulk orders.

Location

87, rue de Bonnevoie

L-1260 Luxembourg.

Tel: (+352) 26 48 11 77

Fax: (+352) 26 48 11 77

Email: augourmetgrec@hotmail.com

Wort.lu/en is running a series of articles covering different nationality shops around the Grand Duchy. Click on the link below to see more.