Akanes, the traditional sweet of Serres, is a legendary delicacy with a rich history dating back to the era of Turkish rule. The Beys, who took their summer holidays in Lailia close to Serres, discovered the unique flavors of akanes, which are said to be attributed to the light and refreshing waters of Lailia, one of their basic ingredients. Today, akanes are not only popular in Serres but also well-known throughout Northern Greece, particularly in the cities of Thessaloniki and Kavala.
This delectable dessert is handmade and has a distinctive appearance that resembles loukoumi. However, what sets akanes apart is their unique, strong flavor, which comes from the use of fresh goat or buffalo butter in their recipe. Compared to ordinary loukoumi, akanes are heavier and thicker, owing to their high-fat content.
The basic ingredients of akanes include water, niseste, sugar, fresh goat or buffalo butter, and a delightful filling of roasted almonds. While the classic almond filling remains the most popular, there are now many variations of akanes available, including ones with pistachios, walnuts, or chocolate. Modern versions of akanes also use cow’s milk butter instead of the traditional goat or sheep butter.
Traditionally, akanes are served with a cup of hot, strong coffee or tea, and they are a staple dessert in many households. Despite their long-standing history in Serres, akanes have gained wider recognition in recent years, and efforts are being made to protect and promote them as a unique cultural heritage of the region. With their distinct flavor and texture, akanes continue to be a beloved dessert that embodies the rich culinary traditions of Northern Greece.