HUFFINGTON POST

This Greek Bakery Has The Perfect Reaction To The Country's Debt Crisis

Customers at Kri Kri bakery can buy bread named after the villains of Greece's latest tragedy.
Doughy crocodiles at Kri Kri's bakery in Athens.
Doughy crocodiles at Kri Kri's bakery in Athens.

A small bakery in the Greek capital of Athens has made headlines around the world with its own very imaginative reaction to the country's debt crisis. 

At Kri Kri bakery in Athens' Pagrati neighborhood, customers can buy crocodile-shaped bread named after the villains of the latest Greek tragedy -- the country's creditors.

Some of the crocodile-shaped loafs are named after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, while others are named after International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. They're set up on the counter, facing a piece of dough with a Greek flag stuck in it. 

“We bakers do this sort of thing to tease each other. We have fun this way," Giorgos Katsoulis, the owner of Kri Kri, told HuffPost Greece. 

Katsoulis explains the tradition of making small animals from dough goes a long way back, but that it was his chief baker, Christos, who came up with the idea to apply it to Greece's current crisis. 

“Our grandmothers and mothers used to make small animals from dough like this, for children," Katsoulis said. "The chief baker here started experimenting with it years ago, and because he was talented, he was getting better at it. He kept making animals, and customers started ordering them. Then one day, he made a crocodile. Someone asked him what this monster was, and he answered, 'This is Schäuble!' That's how it started.”

Crocodile bread at Kri Kri bakery in Athens.
Crocodile bread at Kri Kri bakery in Athens.

Bakers at Kri Kri do not use automatized machinery, but instead keep things traditional. “Bread is an art,” Katsoulis says. 

Katsoulis' employees have worked for him for years. “The plans of people's lives have changed, the world changes at a rapid pace. Conditions and work relations also. I have never fired anyone. And if I have to cover for one of my workers, I will. In this area, there were businesses [passed] from grandfather to grandson," he said. 

Kri Kri's owner has kept his bakery going through several years of crisis, and he thinks the shop has a social role to play. "In the first years of this crisis, I was preparing meals with vegetables and other stuff in the oven, and if you wanted, you could pay a symbolic price; if not, I gave them away for free," Kastoulis said. "Restaurant owners from the area protested to the Ministry; they nearly shut down my bakery. At a time when soup kitchens were operating, they didn't let me!”

Katsoulis said he thinks Greeks will adjust to the latest developments in the country's debt crisis, just as they have done before. ”During the first three years of the bailouts, there was panic, but Greeks have registered images of crises in their mind, through stories from their grandfathers and fathers. For the young, it's surely more difficult, but we all learn. And live.”

But what if Schäuble walked in?

“I would welcome him," Katsoulis said. "Like I do with everyone else."

Danae Leivada contributed to this report. The story originally appeared on HuffPost Greece and was translated and adapted into English. 

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