Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Greek hospitality and birthday surprises

A smell of garlic began to make my nostrils twitch. I was inside the house, the shutters were closed to keep out the sun and mosquitoes and I didn't know where it was coming from.

The aroma grew stronger and stronger until it became overpowering. Like some bloodhound, I tracked it all through the house, to the utility room and out through the other side to the home of Spiros, our neighbour.

'You want some skordalia, Margarita?' he said, rhythmically mashing boiled potatoes with a cup full of two bulbs of pureed garlic and lashings of lemon juice. He added some olive oil, potato water and more lemon juice.

'You try,' he said. It was smooth, spiky and pungent. There was no way a mosquito would touch me now. In my skordalia armour, I was invincible.

It was on, then, to Gialiskari, a secluded beach near Pelekas. It's one of our favourite spots, the beach now replenished naturally with sand after last year when shingle and rocks took over the small cove for twelve months.
A lunch of grilled prawns, marinated anchovies, taramasalata and rocket salad, accompanied by a nice white wine, and then it was down to the beach, to lie out under an umbrella and grab a few pages of The Goldfinch before sleeping off the food and then cooling in off in the sparkling sea.
Back to the house for battered plaice, skordalia and boiled greens, which my neighbour had thoughtfully set aside for us, before flitting off into Corfu Town, the place buzzing with young people, vibrant and happy, for an expensive cocktail (a Margarita, of course) on the top of the Hotel Cavalieri.

And then a walk along the beautiful Liston.
Talk about being spoilt. It was an indulgence but I could handle it. After all, it was my birthday.

'Aren't the villagers having a party for you?' Number One Son had asked, when I Skyped him that morning.

'As if that's going to happen,' I said.

At eleven-thirty that night, as I sat on the bed in my birthday suit, Mr Grigg rushed downstairs to answer his mobile phone.

'They're only coming over to wish you a happy birthday,' he said as he tore back up to put on shorts and tee-shirt.

'They've got a cake and everything.'
So, hastily clothed, Mr Grigg and I sat outside, eating our wonderful ice cream cake, drinking beer and wine, listening to our friends gabbling in Greek, with the cicadas engaged in a similar sounding conversation. And with skordalia pouring out of our pores, the mosquitoes kept well clear.

Greece. There is nothing quite like it.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. It sounds fantastic. I love Greece, I feel at home as I am from Barcelona, another Mediterranean place. Have you tried their spinach food rolls? Just delicious!

    1. Delicious indeed. I love Barcelona too. Such an interesting city - and lovely food too!


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