Sunday, 7 June 2009

Skiathos 2

It's wet, it's grey, it's cold, Mouse has gone back to bed and I've put the central heating back on...what a difference from last Thursday, when J and I clambered down to Hidden Beach to spend my birthday morning. We arrived to a bit of a kerfuffle over the state of the beach tavernas: they're all up for re-licensing and have to shut up shop until 9 June. This move by the mayor has pissed off everyone - the taverna owners want to serve food to the tourists and the tourists want to gobble it up, so no-one's happy. The taverna on Hidden Beach, which J remembers with great affection, is a ruin, and there was debris all over the shore - but we had the cove all to ourselves except for one family who had bagged a patch of sand tucked away to our left. The sun was hot and the sea was warm - perfect.
The day before, we'd driven up to Evangelistria monastery, then walked the couple of miles through forest and rough tracks to the restored Charalambos monastery.

Along the way, we found wild thyme and what we thought was a kind of wild sage.
We spent our first full day on a bit of a beach hunt and ended up at Eleni beach. There was a taverna open here, but the gossip on the sand was that it was unlicensed. We dropped in for lunch and had a bit of a shock at the prices. Now that the euro has almost near-parity with sterling, eating out is not the bargain it used to be. So most of our lunches came from our supermarket foraging, except for the day when chip fever overcame me. We headed off for the taverna and garnered a tray of apres-swim nourishment.
On our second night we headed down to the village and had a very mediocre meal, but on day three we discovered Ilya's Orchard which we (mostly) loved.
The houmus was really good with a lemony kick, and served with great crusty oiled flatbread. J isn't eating wheat at the moment, so she asked for crudites. This caused some consternation, but by our third visit, her 'sticks' were whipped out without delay. Another lovely starter was the aubergines with parmesan, served in an intense tomato sauce.
The only let-downs were the main courses: our first-night moussaka was good, but our later choices were incredibly protein-heavy meat/cheese combinations. Fine if you've been labouring in the fields and factories all day, but a bit much for gentle tourists. A deft hand with the napkin smuggled much of the meat back up to the apartment for Wedgehead.
But the charm of the restaurant reasserted itself at the end of the meal, when the bill was presented together with a snowy drift of yoghurt spread with candied fruit. We had candied lemon peel, made by the owner's mother, then on our last visit, it was candied quince. We hoovered it up - heaven on a plate.


goodshoeday said...

Sounds like the food experience was a bit mixed with some really interesting stuff and some disappointments. Like the sound of the candied quince if i get enough quinces off my tree this year I'll try making it.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Really interesting post - great photos of Skiathos. As for the food, the yoghurt with candied fruit looks really good.
*previous post deleted for rubbish spelling skills*

Chow and Chatter said...

beautiful place, hummus looks good

fran39 said...

Chow - it's a wonderful place! We hope to go back next year.
Dan and goodshoeday - I've done a bit more research on the candied fruit and it's known as a spoon sweet. There are lots of different varieties, and I'm going to have a go at making some later in the week...