The Plaza Hotel and the Greek star chef Maria Loi work together for a pop-up specialty store

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Get ready for the Christmas season in New York, with markets selling tchotchkes and other temporary stores selling merchandise meant to be great gifts popping up all over town. These pop-ups, at least in my opinion, tend to offer overpriced and uninspired merchandise that any savvy shopper – or even a green one – shouldn’t waste their money on.

The Loi Specialty Shop in the legendary Plaza Hotel is a rare exception.

The store is located street level at the property’s 58th Street entrance – steps from Central Park and Fifth Avenue, where the historic Krigler Perfumes and the Eloise Pop-Up / Plaza Boutique can be found. The shop is named after the Greek celebrity chef Maria Loi. named . I’ve already written about her and have been a long-time fan. Her restaurant of the same name, Loi Estiatorio, is up the street from their shop and attracts a crowd of regulars and newbies night after night who enjoy the delicious and clean Mediterranean cuisine.

Salads with the freshest organic vegetables, Kalamata olives and served with Lois fruity Cretan olive oil? Check. Grilled Talagani cheese drizzled with organic Greek honey? Check it again. And how about the whole fish sprinkled with oregano before it is nicely grilled and presented to the guests? This time a triple check. All of these are my favorites at Loi Estiatorio, and thanks to their plaza pop-up shop, any town dweller or tourist can take home the experience for themselves or as a gift for someone else. Let me assure you that this is a gift that cannot be given again and that your family and friends will really appreciate.

Loi has selected all the epicurean delicacies in the shop herself, and the choice is huge: Their award-winning Loi Ladi extra virgin olive oil is a highlight for me and improves the taste of practically every dish, from scrambled eggs to fruit (try drizzling over strawberries and with a pinch of sea salt) with vegetables, meat and fish. Then there is the organic wild honey from Loi Meli, aromatic herbs like the aforementioned oregano, their pasta line of the same name, and their incredible handmade baklava.

But the shop sells a lot more than Loi branded items. Expect Greek tomato sauces from Kyknos, organic kiddo pasta from Helios, olives and vinegars from Sparta Gourmet, and organic Macedonian tahini from Haitoglou Bros. On the sweet side, look for Cretan ladokoulero (olive oil biscuits) and spreads like Bottega Pisanis dark chocolate spread . In essence, Lois Shop can be your one-stop-shop for all, and not just, all of your Christmas gifts.

Loi’s collaboration with The Plaza was born out of her longstanding relationship with the hotel.

“I wish everyone could travel to Greece and see my beautiful country, but instead the Loi Specialty Shop can take you there,” says Loi. “It is portable and you will find specialties there that are not easily obtained or readily available.”

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