Day 5: Putting a Greek spin on Christmas

Melbourne is proud of its rich cultural heritage. This Christmas, why not head down to the Greek precinct (Lonsdale Street, between Swanton and Russell Streets), where you’ll find some great shopping, pastries and restaurants?

Caras the Greek Shop, Lonsdale Street

Caras the Greek Shop, Lonsdale Street

A great place to find Greek-themed Christmas presents is Caras The Greek Shop. The specialty importer of Greek music CDs and DVDs has been a fixture on the street for many years. It also sells a huge range of souvenirs, novelty gifts and religious paraphenalia. Hot right now is music from Greek crooner Antonis Remos (CDs $36.50) and cookbooks by Kathy Tsaples (‘Sweet Greek,’ $45) and Melbourne’s own George Calombaris (Press Club Modern Greek Cookery, $59.50).

Caras the Greek Shop, Lonsdale Street

Caras the Greek Shop, Lonsdale Street

Caras the Greek Shop, Lonsdale Street

Caras the Greek Shop, Lonsdale Street

Just a couple of doors away is International Diethnes Cakes, a patisserie and cafe run by Emmanuel Giovanoglou and Bill Batzogianis that has been around for more than 40 years. Manuel’s son John, who also works in the family business, says traditional honey biscuits (Melomakarona, $10 per packet) and almond shortbread dusted in icing sugar (Kourambiedes, $11 per packet) are particularly popular this time of year.

Traditional honey biscuits and almond shortbread – International Diethnes Cakes

Traditional honey biscuits and almond shortbread – International Diethnes Cakes

John Giovanoglou, International Diethnes Cakes

John Giovanoglou, International Diethnes Cakes

Of course, Melbourne is famous for its Greek food, so why not cap off your shopping trip to the Greek precinct with a great meal? As wells as Tsindos Greek Restaurant there’s Medallion Cafe Restaurant, Dion Greek Restaurant, and the restaurant that never closes (except on Christmas Eve), Stalactites.

Tsindos restaurant, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Tsindos restaurant, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

For more great Christmas-in-Melbourne ideas, stay tuned to our 30 Days of Christmas blog.