First I got hooked to her website, Pasta Flora. I have a thing for food blogs. I tend to look at cupcakes and cookies for long hours, and Pasta Flora is a treat to my eyes and my sweet tooth. But the real treat was getting to visit super warm and kind Ioanna in her fabulous apartment which she shares with her boyfriend, talented illustrator Costas. As I have said before, Ioanna is the living proof that consuming and handling sugar can actually make you as sweet. I am sure you can see that in her creations and in her bright smile in the pictures below. Here she is in her apartment in Koukaki, a creative spirit, who takes baking and style into a whole new level.
What made you chose Pasta Flora as your label?
Well because it is the best desert you can have. Also, my friends call me Pasta Flora quite often. It comes from this character in a greek movie called Μια τρελή τρελή οικογένεια (A crazy crazy family), which is actually the craziest family in the world. Plus I wanted my label and blog name to be Greek.
What kind of marmalade would you use for your Pasta Flora?
Definitely homemade apricot jam! The one my mom makes. She is a pro at making jams, and I intend to start making some myself this spring. So far my second favorite is cherry jam.
How did Pasta Flora begin?
I always loved cooking. And I always baked. I think I got that from my mother. Whenever we had a celebration or party at home she would always serve homemade desert to her guests. It was considered untactful to buy something.
So generally which are your favorite recipes and which deserts do you despise?
I love everything that has to do with cakes. Because you can experiment a lot with it and add so many ingredients to it. I wouldn’t say I despise something, but I don’t really like galaktoboureko (a milk-cream pie).
You only share pictures of the things you bake, but not the recipes. Why is that?
It’s just that with the internet and all you can get your hands on all kinds of recipes. So I believe there is no need for me to share it, since you can find it yourself.
Your apartment is one of the most stylish apartments I have ever seen. I love the 60s feel to it. Where have you found all these amazing pieces?
Mostly from antique shops and the flea market in Monastiraki. You can find amazing stuff, especially if you go early on Sunday morning.
And how can you be sure the things you get are authentic?
Well for example Danish ceramics and china have the artist’s signature on them or a stamp.
Do you bargain a lot?
Pretty much, yes. Sometimes I get so carried away when I spot a rare piece, that the owner get suspicious and won’t lower the price for me!
Any particular obsessions on your hunts at the flea market?
Yes! Tea pots! I collect them like crazy!
Are there also any shops that you can find furniture or objects from the 60s?
Manos Lappas in Kolonaki and Mofu.
What is it about the 60s that makes it such a special decade?
Oh, it’s the shapes and the lines. There’s something completely chic about the 60s!
You are an interior designer and a baker at the same time. Has the economic crisis had any impact in your life?
Well, I have a lot more time to think and create and that’s a really good thing! You know, I totally agree when I hear people say that the crisis will force us to do something different. I can relate to that. Lately I have been thinking of ways to be more creative and do the things I love. Costas and I are on the works of launching our own e-shop and I am so excited about it.
What do you love about Athens?
Koukaki, my neighborhood! It’s great because it’s almost as if you are living in a village! You know the neighbors and it’s quiet and so nice.
How did you get to meet the neighbours?
Oh, from the rooftops! Everybody has turned their roofs into nice lounging areas with lots of plants and umbrellas for shade. We get to see Acropolis from here and in the summer we are all organized with our blow-up pool and sleeping under the stars nights!
What is the best thing about living in Athens?
The quantity of things to do!
And the worst?
That you don’t ever find the time to do those things. You always say I want to leave Athens and move to another city, but you never actually do that, because of what Athens has to offer. But then again, you never take advantage of what Athens can give you.
If you were hosting a dinner party back in the 60s what would you serve your guests?
Lots of tarts, sweet and salty. Canapés, for sure. I guess this jelly thing, that is actually fat, with the carrots and meat inside. I keep forgetting the name. The desert would definitely be pasta flora, maybe also an almond cake. And everybody would be drinking Vermouth!
Some comments about the things pictured above:
The tea-pot Ioanna is holding is her favorite one. / Apart from tea-pots, Ioanna is also collecting ornament – owls. The latest item added to her collection was found in Barcelona. / Her shoes pictured on the white carpet are also from Barcelona. / Most of the decorating sugars she uses on her cakes are bought from Euripidou Street. / The illustration in the main hall is made by Costas. / Ioanna is also designing and making clothes for children. You can see her collection of fabrics in her fridge. / The amazing cookies, cupcakes and cake she baked were given to me as a gift and were truly delicious.