Monday, September 10, 2012
We just came back from a dreamy ten days in Greece. Since this was our sixth time on Paros, we’ve developed a pretty regular routine. Every day over breakfast we decide which beach to go to. Although our hotel is right at the water’s edge, on a pretty, sandy cove outside of Naoussa, we like to head further afield. Like most Greek islands, Paros has a few beaches that are crowded and full of organized ‘clubs.' Luckily, there are way more hidden, out-of-the way beaches, where we’ll find no more than a dozen other people. Which is why we keep coming back.
One of our favorite destinations is Lageri. A visit here involves parking our jeep at the edge of a dirt road, then hiking for about 20 minutes to get to a completely dreamy cove. We usually bring a picnic, and settle in for the day.
But not all of beaches are so rustic. We also love a beach with a good taverna. And that pretty much goes for almost every other beach on the island. Even some of the emptiest beaches are blessed with a great place to eat lunch.
The tavernas are always simple, and always delicious. You’d think that since they are right on the water’s edge, that fish would be a big thing. But usually that’s not the case. Instead the tavernas are often surrounded by a handful of olive and fruit trees, and grow a lot of their own vegetables.
One of our favorites is the Taverna at Glyfa. Set back from the beach, the stone building is ringed by what has got to be one of the driest, most struggling, vegetable gardens ever. It looks as if nothing could ever grow here, but somehow - miraculously - small tomato plants, zucchini, onions and eggplant make there way through in the red clay soil.
And in fact, this taverna is known for it’s skill at preparing vegetables.
We always start off with the inevitable Greek Salad. Chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Instead of the usual feta, mizithra , tops the salad. This local fresh goat cheese is a bit softer, tangier and less salty. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of pungent oregano is perfection.
We then go straight for the Taverna’s specialties: stuffed vegetables. A plate of tiny stuffed grape leaves, dolmades, first. Tender brined leaves stuffed with a minty mixture of rice and ground lamb, smothered in the creamiest, lightest avgolemono sauce.
A pair of rice-stuffed tomatoes comes surrounded by a few potatoes (not so different from the ones I make in Italy). Pale green zucchini are carefully hollowed out and stuffed with a rice and beef mixture. Again, a hefty dose of lemony avgolemono pools on the plate.
A cup of Greek coffee and we stroll back to the beach, to nap under the shade of the tamerix trees.
Pretty nice vacation routine, right?
Glyfa is located on the south east coast of Paros, and you have to have a car or motorbike to reach it.