Monday, July 10, 2017

Life in Greece: “Do You Ever Eat at Home?”

“I am just wondering,” asked my friend Elana, “do you ever eat at home? I mean, do you cook?”

It was a valid question. She'd been at The Stone House on the Hill a couple days and never eaten a bite there.

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Stoupa Restaurant has views of the sea and the village
It made me laugh and I answered in the affirmative but she likely didn’t believe me. From the moment she and her husband had arrived we’d traveled in high gear from one location to the next as we tried to have them experience all our favorite eateries.

With even the heartiest of appetites and the best of good intentions, with so many places from which to choose, it just wasn’t going to happen in the few days they were with us. They ended their visit not once eating a meal at The Stone House on the Hill.

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Is it the food or the views that bring us back to this tavern in Kardamyli?
When discussing houseguests with our ex pat friends who live in our slice of The Mani we often ponder the difficulties and dilemmas of how many places can we take our visitors before we all succumb to that heavenly near-coma state brought on by overeating.

With a typical visit lasting three or four nights, we have to squeeze a lot of eating into a short amount of time.

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Moussaka and chips to the left; seafood pastitsio on the right

What, Where and How much?

Actually Elana’s question was one asked by many. Eating – the what, when and where – is one of the biggest curiosities we’ve found that people have about our life in the Greek Peloponnese.

* Do you have a grocery store nearby?
Yes! A large supermarket, several bakeries and the ‘fruit man’ makes regular runs through the villages selling fruits and veggies from his truck.
* Can you get rose wine there?
Yes! White, red and rose – served in pitchers in quarter-, half- and kilo amounts is the most economical at restaurants (never more than 6-euros for the largest) but sometimes we ‘splurge’ and buy a bottle (10 – 20-euro restaurant price) and drink to our heart’s content for far less than in the U.S.
* Are there restaurants near you?
Yes! Definitely!

What is Greek food?

In the United States we came to know Greek food as being a ‘Greek salad’, a gyro (yh-ero, not JI-roe) those pitas wrapped around meat, French fries, tomatoes and onions and slathered with tzatziki sauce. Or the multi-layered traditional Greek dishes, moussaka (layers of aubergine, potato, minced meat (hamburger) and topped with a bechamel) or pastitsio, (layers of pasta and meat or fish dish with bechamel).

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Easter's traditional meal - roasted lamb
Little did we know of the wonders of the varieties of Greek dishes: their stifados (slow-cooked, stew-like dishes), their grilled lamb, pork and beef, their beet root creations, oh, . . .how the list could go on. A plate of giant beans is ambrosia when eaten in a Greek taverna. The pastas and pizzas rival those produced by the Italians to the north. The fresh greens, tomatoes used in salads – not to mention that slab of feta (which rivals gold prices if purchased in the US) brings exclamations from all our visitors.

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Salads we have known, loved and eaten
Sometimes I am not sure if it is the cuisine that makes these places our favorites or if it is the settings or the warmth and charm of the owners. Perhaps it is the lovely combination of all those factors.

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A favorite restaurant of ours is housed in an old olive press in a nearby mountain village

Eating at Home

Truth is we do eat at home. Quite often.

As I said earlier, tree-ripened fruit and just-picked vegetables are in abundance. The ‘fruit man’ makes a regular run through the villages several times a week. Several fishermen sell their catch at the harbor each morning. Just across the street from the harbor there’s a meat market, a bakery is a few steps away. Kalamata, the big city an hour away has a large municipal market operating two days a week and Aeropolis, a bit closer and to our south operates a Saturday market.

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For less than 10 euro. . .
And it is fun to try new recipes. Converting ingredient amounts to the Metric systems is a bit like solving a puzzle and challenges the brain. Although sometimes it is nice to just ‘whip up’ a salad for casual deck dining.

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The bowl and serving tongs are gifts from friends
Or when the autumn or early spring chill keeps us indoors, it is fun to light a fire in the fireplace and serve up a helping of something slow-cooked during the day.

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We don't eat this 'formally' most nights.
So a note to future houseguests: bring loose clothing and an adventuresome appetite as we plan to have you sampling some incredible food served in the most picturesque locations you’ll ever find and at prices so incredibly low that you, too, will ask,

“Do you ever eat at home?”

Thanks for your many comments on last week's post about down-sizing and de-cluttering.  It is nice to know we aren't alone in this tedious task! We are taking a break this week in the declutter and downsizing efforts and are off to visit The Scout’s hometown in Central Washington State.  I’m writing a freelance article about it and we’ve got some researching to do! I'll tell you about what we find in a future post.

Hope to see you back next week and until then safe and healthy travels to you and yours. And - as always - our thanks for being with us~

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
– 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

inking up this week with:

17 comments:

  1. Some day you need to visit Siphnos. Their reputation as having the best chefs in the Aegean is tied up with their ancient (and current) production of cooking pots. Our favorite restaurant in all of Greece is there--and that's saying something!--Leotrivi. Have I recommended my favorite Greek cookbook to you? Even though you're downsizing, you might want to take a cookbook in English back to the little house in the Mani.

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  2. Forgot to check "notify me". So if you respond--use this message and I'll see it for sure. Thanks.

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    1. I don't know if you received my earlier reply (when the comment arrived in the mailbox) but yes, I would love the name of your cookbook. I'll order it from Book Depository (free world-wide shipping anywhere in the world) and have it sent to Greece!

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  3. I'll take one of everything, please! I am constantly amazed at how simple, fresh food from sea or farm to table can taste so wonderful. And, of course, dining in an atmospheric olive press or gazing at a sea view can also "season" those Greek dishes, too. 🙂 Loved your photos which had me drooling (just a little bit!).

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    1. If we ever get you two down to visit we will make sure you get a chance to experience this first-hand!

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  4. As far as food goes, among so many other things, Greece is known for its culinary expertise, simple, seasonal and scrumptious dishes and heavenly desserts. Having said that, the view from the Kardamyli restaurant would have me dining there every evening, even though there is so much to explore around the country. Lucky you!

    Hugs,
    Poppy

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    1. Poppy, You must come visit one day and we will go dine and admire that view of Kardamyli!

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  5. My friends and I used to have a (before kids) rule that staying for 2 nights or more earns the guest a homecooked meal. With all the delicious restaurants you must want to show off, I understand your dilemma. That photo of the pastitsio has my mouth watering.

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    1. It really is a dilemma - but often we solve it by having breakfast and lunch at home. . .which also is fun and makes that afternoon nap time come much more quickly!

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  6. The food in Greece is to die for. It is way more than you expect. My husband has not been to Greece (I went two times before meeting him) and I tease him about what he is missing. We have friends in Athens, so, I need to go back sooner than later. I have sweet dream about all the delicious food in there. #TPThursday

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    1. Most definitely time to introduce your husband to all the sweet wonders of Greece's culinary scene!

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  7. I really enjoyed this post and hearing about your eating and dining habits. :-) It sounds like a lovely combination of homey food and eating out at delicious places. :-)

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    1. Oh, and I so love reading about your wonderful culinary adventures!

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  8. I'll be sure to bring loose fitting pants if we ever come to visit. The food both in restaurants and at home looks beautiful and fresh. I'd love to buy fish direct from the fisherman!

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    1. Well I do hope you bring those loose fitting pants and stop by for a visit if you ever make it to Greece!

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  9. Hi, Jackie. I have a difficult time eating "at home" when I'm in Europe. There are just so many places to eat.You're lucky being in Greece with food so cheap. I vaguely remember how delicious authentic Greek food is, from my brief school girl visit back in the 1970s. Three weeks until Indy and I fly out and the downsizing and packing continues! Thanks for taking the time to link up this week.

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  10. If I could eat that good, and out, I'd probably never eat at home. Funny, because I am eating leftovers tonight from a Greek restaurant in Flagastaff. Gyros, potatoes, and unfortunately the baklava is already gone.

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