What The Greeks Taught Me About Dinner

A classic Greek coffee in the morning.

Friends of my instagram feed know already that I’ve been away on the glorious island of Kos last week, soaking up lots of sun, surf and fruity cocktails.

We stayed in a much nicer All-Inclusive hotel than this blogger has been used to in previous years and I was frankly thrilled to have an abundance of lovely, fresh food for every meal. Previously I’ve found myself smiling through the ordeal of selecting something-with-chips twice a day whilst repeating the ‘such good value though’ mantra.
What with Kos being an island we expected, and enjoyed, a lot of fish and seafood. And what with it being a Greek island lamb, oregano, ouzo, olive oil and sheep and goats cheese were also plentiful. The tomatoes out there whilst arguably not the prettiest are some of the best I have ever tasted. Wee volcanic island Nisyros even makes ice-cream from them, and bloody lovely icecream that is too. I don’t think I took a single meal, breakfast included, without a mass helping of the beast-sized red salad fruit that we all too often neglect on these shores. Fan. Bloody. Tastic.

lush, juicy tomatoes for lunch in Greece

Of course the usual All-In pitfalls were present, namely going home with an extra three kilos and I’m not talking about all the jars of thyme honey in my suitcase. When it’s all there, we eat too much of it and let’s be honest if there’s a cheese bar to the left and a pastry table to the right you’re going to make two trips rather than a single decision. What the hell, you’re on holiday! The need to cater for several nationalities also leaves once susceptible to all sorts of funny foreign breakfast ideas that HAVE to be tried. Three types of white bread and two ryes. Sweet yoghurt, strained yoghurt, fruit yoghurt. Luminous green strips of candied melon (to die for, btw). Roast potatoes alongside the Local Sausage and omelette stacks. Yes that’s right, roasties for breakfast, who can say no to that? I mean yeah it’s a bit weird and it’s not even Sunday but it’s roast potatoes. Good ones at that, all crispy and covered in oregano. To hell with convention, pass me a bigger plate please!

Travel does indeed broaden the waistline mind, so in the absence of anything else to report on this week, here are my top gems of foodie wisdom as learned in the Dodecanese. The Canary Islands can eat my dust.

  • There is no such thing as too many tomatoes, when you have good ones they go with everything.
  • Courgettes are amazing, and almost as universally applicable as tomatoes.
  • Leave the coffee prep to the professionals.
  • Any ingredient left within six inches of a sheet of filo pastry immediately becomes Pie.
  • You can make Pie from pretty much anything.
  • Never turn down a taste of local sausage.
  • Try the pastries, especially if they look like there’s jam in there
  • Yoghurt and cheese are king, but plain old milk can just fuck off. There isn’t any. Anywhere.
  • If you’re going to eat animals, you should be prepared to see the whole thing cooked and dumped on your table, eyeballs and all. Looking at you.
  • Tomatoes are fruit, why wouldn’t you make ice cream from them?img_0612THAT sweet tomato ice cream from Nisyros. Wonderful.
  • Everyone’s cousin makes the best raki in the region.
  • Don’t drink that raki.
  • Fried cheese is a totally legit side dish.img_0600A simple serving of flash fried halloumi, crunchy and caramelised on the outside, soft and squeaky within! Nothing like the battered rot they serve you in a chain pub in the UK.
  • There no such thing as bad wine, just wine that isn’t quite cold enough.
  • You can’t do better to a carrot than to pickle it.
  • If it possible to scoop the insides out of something, you should do so immediately and replace it with rice.
  • Anything with more than two types of rum in it is essentially rohypnol, and should be avoided if you don’t have an immediate secure location to lie down in.
  • That chocolate cake is nowhere near as dry as it looks.
  • You can’t get Mythos beer at home and that’s a really bad thing.
  • You will always forget how much you like moussaka and thus be pleasantly surprised when you try it.
  • Don’t mess with your olive oil. First press, extra virgin, done. And FFS don’t cook with it.
  • There is no Turkish anything. Even Turkish delight isn’t Turkish in Greece. Who even is Turkey?!?!?!?
  • Yamas.
A Mythos with a view.

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