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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 “Glyká Sweets” bakery is located at 1201 Andersen Drive, Suite I in San Rafael, California, and its products are available through www.glykasweets.com, through www.amazon.com, 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, kourambiedes, moustokouloura, 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 moustokouloura, paximadia, kouramiedes, koulourakia, ravani, tsoureki, baklava, vasilopita, 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 “Glyká 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 “Glyká Sweets” and Elektra has her own company, “Elektra’s Dog Treats”, which bakes and sells dog treats, which are available from her own website, elektrasdogtreats.com. 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 Glyká 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.