Glyka News


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With Yiayia’s Recipes…

Effie Fourakis and son Achilleas, of “Glyka-Sweets,” bake and sell Greek cookies and pastries following family recipes developed by Achilleas’ Yiayia Lilly. Indeed, even non- Greek customers have learned the pastries. The “Glyka Sweets” bakery is located at 1201 Andersen Drive, Suite I in San Rafael, California, and its products are available through, through, as well as in shops and supermarkets in California.

Effie described that the sweets and pastries are made following the recipes of her mother, Lilly Papas, and that they use all-natural ingredients such that the melomakarona, kourambiedesmoustokouloura, tsoureki and the other pastries have the same flavor as those that her mother would prepare.

She also stressed that she did not translate the names of the bakery products into English, and now customers can correctly say the difficult words like moustokoulourapaximadia, kouramiedeskoulourakia, ravani, tsoureki, baklavavasilopita, etc.

“We encourage not only correct pronunciation, but also teach the tradition and the history of each sweet,” she said, in the same way she encourages correct pronunciation of her children’s names.

Effie and her husband Vasilis Fourakis have three children, Achilleas, 27, who works sales and marketing for “Glyka Sweets”, Odysseas, 21, studying computer science in college and Elektra, 20, studying public health in college.

The five-member family Fourakis has three companies in total. Vasilis Fourakis has his own company fabricating and installing closet organizing systems in homes and high-rise buildings, California Space Organizers, Inc. Effie and Achilleas have “Glyka Sweets” and Elektra has her own company, “Elektra’s Dog Treats”, which bakes and sells dog treats, which are available from her own website, One flavor of dog treats is “Spinach & Feta Cheese Dog Treats”.

Asked about her decision to go into pastry-making, Effie mentioned that a key influence in her decision to leave her previous job was her daughter’s health problems. Initially she started making pastries in her home kitchen and then the family built out the Glyka Sweets bakery and started production. They have exhibited at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco with good reviews.


Vasilis was born and raised in Piraeus and his family is from Kisamos, Chania. He came to America for studies in 1978 and met his wife through Greek dancing. In 1986 they founded the dance group “The Minoan Dancers”, based in the community of the Nativity of Christ in Novato, California.

The Minoans have a rich collection of costumes and participate in festivals organized by the Greek communities of the region and in the annual dance competition organized by the Metropolis of San Francisco and have won many awards. A special role in the education of dancers has been the “Return to Our Roots” trips they have organized for performances in Greece.


img_0323SAN RAFAEL, CA, Dec. 28, 2016 – Traditions and traditional tastes are the foundation of Glyká-Sweets, a family owned and operated bakery in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using tried and true family recipes and the finest ingredients, fueled by a drive to succeed and a deep pride of Greek culture, each member of the family brings their own creative element to the equation. Led by owner and baker Effie Fourakis and her oldest son Achilleas, sales and marketing, the Fourakis family has made it their mission to not only preserve traditional recipes, but also to unearth some of the lesser known pastries for Greeks and non-Greeks alike. You may already know about:

Baklavá, the classic Greek pastry made with layers of lightly buttered phyllo sheets and cinnamon-spiced walnut filling, topped with a honey syrup infused with citrus and cinnamon

But you may not know about:

Almond Cookies or Amygdalotá, subtly crisp on the outside while deliciously chewy on the inside, a great addition to any celebration with a wheat-free variation Almond Balls

Kourambiédes, delicate melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies covered with puffs of powdered sugar, served at weddings and other special occasions

Koulourákia, twisted butter cookies that are subtly sweet and sprinkled with sesame seeds

Melomakárona, non-dairy cookies made with EVOO, instilled with citrus and cinnamon, dipped in a honey syrup and sprinkled with walnuts

Moustokoúloura, lightly sweet, non-dairy cookies made with grape molasses, EVOO, instilled with fragrant cinnamon and clove

Paximádia, delicately sweet twice-baked dipping cookies flavored with anise, with the perfect crunchiness to dip in your coffee, tea or milk

Tsouréki, a sweet yeast bread that is traditionally served at Christmas, New Year’s and Easter, baked with aromatic Mahlépi, a spice derived from the seed of the St Lucie cherry and Mastíca, a resin from the mastic tree which only grows on the island of Chios in Greece

These are just some of the traditional desserts served and enjoyed in Greek homes, now available to be experienced by all. Glyká-Sweets’ cookies and pastries appeal to customers with adventurous palates, looking for a traditional ethnic taste. Made in America. Originated in Greece.

Glyká-Sweets’ delicacies are available online and can be found in stores around the Bay Area. They will be showcasing their products at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show January 22-24 at Moscone Center in San Francisco with Savor California at booth #604.


2016-wffs-achilleasSAN RAFAEL, CA Feb. 18, 2016 – A good recipe is composed of crucial ingredients that work in union to produce a quality product. Much like a good recipe, the Fourakis family works together to drive Glyká-Sweets like butter, eggs, flour, and even grape molasses drive its line of traditional Greek cookies and pastries. Utilizing their diverse individual talents and strengths the Fourakis family works as their own unique recipe to manage the challenges of starting a new business. As a result they’ve taken cookies from the family Easter party, and placed them on the shelves of grocery stores around the Bay Area. At Glyká-Sweets this holds true, not only for its line of traditional Greek cookies and pastries, but also for the people who make it, and who’ve made it possible.

Starting at the top, where ladies always go first, owner and baker Effie Fourakis has mastered her line of traditional Greek pastries and cookies. Without her long hours of baking experimentation and persistence, there would be no product, no line of desserts, and no business. Not to mention the other things she does for the family on a regular basis as a registered Greek supermom. Baklavá trays cooked at two in the morning and twelve plus hour days rising and baking the New Year’s and Easter traditional sweet yeast breads Vasilópita and Tsouréki, are just some of the norms at Glyká-Sweets as they navigate a highly seasonal industry.

It is not easy to start a new business while supporting a family, however, this is not the family’s first business. Vasilis Fourakis started their first business in the same year that he and Effie started their family. California Space Organizers has been in business for twenty-six years, the same age as their oldest son Achilleas. CALSO for short, specializes in custom closets and cabinetry to fit any space and has been in the San Francisco high-rise condominium market for ten plus years. Vasilis used skills he acquired in painting and construction and found a niche market to enter. Now he is the number one buyer of three-quarter inch melamine laminate in the Bay Area. CALSO is also the number one reason that the Fourakis family was able to have the flexibility to start another business, and have their own facility.

The first born of three, Achilleas Fourakis, works as the sales and marketing manager for Glyká-Sweets and manages relations with stores, takes orders, makes deliveries, and also is a baker-in-training. For Effie, having Achilleas in the bakery everyday is key to smooth operations. Those fifty-pound bags of flour and sugar aren’t going to lift themselves. Having a built-in salesman take over all of these responsibilities made things much easier for Effie, as she was able to focus on her baking and her nationwide online orders.

Odysseas Fourakis, their second son, has just started at College of Marin, a junior college in Marin County, and plans to turn his love for machines into studies of mechanical engineering. Over the last two years he has been designing, developing, and building his own cookie-scoring machine for our Paximádia (biscotti type cookies). The CNC (Computer Numerical Control) governs the blade as it moves back and forth, and up and down scoring the loaf of dough. Adamant about fixing things, with a systematic approach and an eye for spotting problems, if the machines or ovens at Glyká-Sweets are ever down, it’s never for very long.

elektra-bakingLast but definitely not least, the baby of the family, Elektra Fourakis probably has the most unique story of all. She was born with a life-threatening heart defect that required open-heart surgery at just three months old. Battling a persistent set of health problems, Elektra has faced many challenges during her young life. In addition to the congenital heart defect that eventually required a second open-heart surgery at age twelve, she is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids. Most recently over the past two years, she has had seven procedures and hospitalizations for a narrowing of her trachea.

elektra-and-cleoIn order to give back to the Pediatric Cardiac Care Unit at UCSF, and to its patients, she also makes and donates fleece blankets to the hospital. With a firecracker like personality you would never think that she had suffered through all these hardships, and dealt with limited mobility and physical activity. With help and love from her family, an electric scooter, and her hearing dog and best friend named Cleo, she is ready to tackle any task, even starting her own line of all-natural dog treats. While Elektra enjoys eating Greek sweets, her passion is baking for her canine friends. With help from the whole family, the Elektra’s Dog Treats line features eight flavors and supplies treats to eleven pet stores in the Bay Area ( Currently a junior in high school, Elektra plans to go on to study business, and continue as a young entrepreneur.

This recipe is the true key behind the full operations of Glyká-Sweets. Alone, each family member has strengths and weaknesses, but together they form an interwoven network of knowledge, skills, and most importantly charisma. A ‘refuse to lose’ attitude has watered the seed of an idea, into the sapling of a start-up business, and they hope that it will grow tall and wide as it settles itself amongst the canopy of the marketplace.


effie-polinSAN RAFAEL, CA, Dec. 28, 2015 – In a house with two kitchens, there is at least one oven always running. Such is the case at the Fourakis household where Glyká-Sweets was born. Effie Fourakis buzzes back and forth from tending dinner in one kitchen to analyzing baking experiments in the other. With a BA in Biochemistry and a Masters in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley, she is a baker with the approach of a chemist. Effie mastered her arsenal of traditional Greek baked goods right in the comfort of her two kitchens.

Effie’s pair of home kitchens set the stage for the early history of Glyká-Sweets, and served as her laboratories while she took to perfecting the desserts of her Greek ancestors. Long nights conducting baking experiments and tinkering with recipes were the building blocks that make up the foundation of Glyká-Sweets. Hard work and ambition are what drove, and drive, Effie and her family as they continue to navigate the challenges of starting a new business and their quest for success in a competitive grocery market. That drive has been the linchpin for the Fourakis family and has helped them overcome the challenges of starting a new business.

Over the course of three years Glyká-Sweets has grown out of the home kitchens and into their own commercial bakery, located in San Rafael, where all their products are made today. The first two years were mainly spent baking at home, renting time in a commercial bakery in Marin County, selling to friends and family and taking online orders from around the country. This was a time of constant learning and experimentation.

Learning the ins and outs of a new kitchen is no simple or easy task, and it can only be done by trial and error, as Effie discovered new product ideas, new methods to cut down production time, and new avenues with which to expand her business. Most importantly, however, she learned how to transfer her baking expertise from a small home kitchen to a larger commercial bakery. Massaging out the kinks of baking with new equipment, while learning the tricks of a new mixer and the tendencies of a new oven, requires three important elements: time, patience, and attention to detail.

Fast forward to present day, Glyká-Sweets’ bakery has been up and running for ten months, their products can be found in twenty stores around the Bay Area, and they will be showcasing their products at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show January 17-19 at Moscone Center in San Francisco with Savor California at booth #604. Armed with the experience and knowledge that they have acquired over the last three years, the Fourakis family looks to shake up the specialty food dessert market and share with the rest of the world some of the foods that make Greece great.


effie-vasilis-at-rack-ovenSAN RAFAEL, CA, Dec. 28, 2015 – Mixers churning, ovens firing, yeast rising, these are the sights and sounds of the Glyká-Sweets bakery. Owned and operated by the Fourakis family of Corte Madera, CA these aren’t your everyday cookies and sweets; these traditional delicacies possess character and culture.

For hundreds of years these recipes have been passed down through generations of Greeks, each family boasting their own style or method as ‘the best.’ All of Glyká-Sweets traditional desserts are Fourakis family recipes with their own unique style and method. Glyká-Sweets may not be boasting their products as ‘the best,’ but one thing they can boast is that their products are made with the finest ingredients and never with any additives or preservatives.

Each member of the family contributes their own creative element to the equation. Together they’ve taken a good idea sparked on an Easter Sunday, and turned it into a fully functioning commercial bakery serving sweets to grocery, import, and convenience stores around the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the US via the web. Tirelessly working to battle the speed bumps of starting a new business, their motivation is not solely driven by success, but also by the pride they take in their family and heritage. Greeks are a proud people, proud of their culture, proud of their history, proud of their families, and especially proud of their food.

Led by owner and baker Effie Fourakis and her oldest son Achilleas, sales and marketing, the Fourakis family is no different and they’ve made it their mission to not only preserve these traditional recipes, but also to unearth some of the lesser known pastries for Greeks and non-Greeks alike. You may already know about baklavá, but you may not know about kourambiédes, moustokoúloura, melomakárona, or koulourákia. These are just some of the traditional desserts served in Greek homes.

Sharing meals is a prominent figure in Greek culture. Friends and family gathered around the table is more than just enjoying a meal. The company is as important, if not more important, than the meal itself, the morning coffee, afternoon tea, or midnight snack. Greek home life tends to revolve around mealtime and that means that desserts are always right around the corner. Glyká-Sweets has entered the specialty food market to get those pastries right around the corner from you as well. They will be showcasing their products at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show January 17-19 at Moscone Center in San Francisco with Savor California at booth #604.