Akanes is a unique traditional dessert of Serres. Visually it looks like a small Turkish delight. The difference is the taste of fresh butter and well-roasted almonds.
The story of akanes in Serres begins during the Turkish occupation, when the Beys spent their summer holidays in mount Lailia, Serres. It was prepared using the techniques of that era: in large cauldrons they boiled retzeli (something between jam and marmalade) and molasses with water from the spring of mount Lailias. That is why the name “Akanes Lailia of Serres” has remained. It is said that the water of mount Lailias, being cooler and lighter, was the main ingredient and what gave all the akanes its unique taste. The molasses and retzeli were replaced with sugar cane juice and starch. Today, instead of sugar cane, regular sugar is used. After the mixture became thick, fresh butter and nuts were added in it. It required many hours of mixing during the preparation process. A slave was always there and stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon. When the mixture cooled, it thickened and was cut into small pieces and served as dessert. The basic composition of akanes today is: sugar, butter, starch, almonds and cornstarch.
Today, no one can say with certainty where the name akanes came from. The history of akanes got lost in the era of the Turkish occupation, and perhaps the history of the origin of its name too. There is no etymology of the word. Nevertheless, there is a version that may be closer to what actually happened. The word “akanes” originated, as the legend says, from the greek word “anekatevo”(to stir), because the mixture needs long hours of stirring, and from the affirmative “nai” (yes), which the slaves, who were the ones who stirred the mixture, always said. After the liberation of the city from the Bulgarians in 1913, the slaves became artisans and started preparing this dessert in the city. Currently, there are four businesses that prepare the traditional akanes in the town of Serres.