Cheeses-Butters Karatza: The Absolute Specialist in Traditional Greek Cheeses
In 1930 Emmanuel Karatzas, born in Piraeus and descending from Karava, the capital of the island of Kithira, set out with his brother Panagiotis to realize his life long dream. The founding of the all cheese shop: “Karatza bros”. A cheese lover himself, it took him very little time to acquire the knowledge and become an excellent cheese taster. In time came the experience required to enable him to personally select his favorite cheeses from producers around the country. And he was good at choosing those who knew better than others the alchemy required to promote the virtues of their product.
In 1932, this time on his own, he moved on the crossing of Athinas and Sofokleous street, to charm the central market of Athens this time with his skill of selecting the tastiest of cheeses. Since then the shop holds the same “cult” label reading: Cheeses Butters KARATZA with trademark little Michalakis (his eldest son) carrying in his back basket the cheeses brought from the villages. His greatest passion was the cheese tasting trips he took each year all around Greece. It is during those trips that he gathered and refined the best selection criteria of great cheeses as well as of great producers. Some of the relations he selected are still working collaborations today!
As one might expect, both sons of Emmanuel Karatzas were initiated very early on to his love of good cheese. Thus, in 1953 at the ages of 18 & 14 respectively, when they were called upon to taking over the already famous shop, they were ready to carry on the family tradition as well as the search of producers and cheeses.
Eugenia-Niki Karatza, is Emmanuel’s grand daughter and the youngest daughter of Konstantinos Karatzas. She has been walking in the family footsteps since the age of 16. In 2002, she founded a branch cheese-shop on Metamorphosi’s square thus spreading and reminding to those on the northern suburbs of Athens the traditional austere selection criteria of the Greek splendid cheeses.
This coming summer the whole business “Cheeses-Butters KARATZA” will pass on to her already experienced and college educated hands. Thus, the history of the Karatza cheese shop will be crossing over the gate of the third consecutive generation and will be righteously claiming the title of the absolute specialist in all Greek traditional cheeses.