One of the greatest advantages of my work, I mean the learning curve that it might give one in comparison to any other position in the industry , is that having worked in various household and for people of very diverse origins , I have been able to pick up recipes , techniques , knowledge and was “rewarded” sometimes by being given to cook with , specially imported honey from Crete coming in barrels or Mizithra cheese (made by local Monks residing in one of these Monastery , perched high cliff ) and my best try to explaining the sensation of eating it would be “the like , a soft cushion rolling over your tongue” , a feeling that no other cheese has ever been able to provide me with, its lightness and spoilness , like the only child being given all the present under the Christmas tree, but this one has excelled , surpassed and even caught me off guards with its feathery texture like ,as if making love to me.
Nope, not even a Brie , even “cremeux or truffled”has given me such pleasure
Joke or sensual analogies aside ,I know I have been using identical adjectives for describing the sensational feelings that other items in some of my past “Blogs” have been able to give me , but believe me when I say this is the ‘Thing’, it is the ‘Thing’!
No wonder why it is rarely imported as the Greeks would rather keep it for themselves than sharing it with this world of “ignorant” that we are (as I have so far never been able to find it in London’s most famous for its few but traditional shops, Moscow road…. yet)
Apart also from the fact that it is an unpasteurized cheese and that no salt nor sugar is added therefore making it rather fragile to transport …
Strong “Kriti Honey” is usually poured over , sprinkled with freshly ground cinnamon. Confit thick bitter Oranges skins or “Gliko” served aside along with freshly peeled almond soaked in milk. All this in the shade of a Cypress tree looking towards the Aegean sea. I would love to say that “Someone once told me, food writing describing sensations and pleasures of the table were way beyond imagination with regards to one’s soul and most desired fanatasies”…..and if anyone out there is able to try (Mizithra and many other bites), and read my mind in the way that not only this is typed here today but also in the sense or direction that our lives are going, straight ahead , over the bumps and cracs , he or she can simply join me on my trip , not without fastening his/her seatbelt as it is going to be a hell of an adventure , I feel growing in me the desire more sudden, day after day , to spread this “love” , just like when in younger age , when making a “Tartine” of Nutella , prepared with all the attention and preciseness necessary , making sure every border, corner and holes of the slice of freshly toasted Campagne bread is covered so this will taste the same yummy all the way through , making this “Gouter” the most desirable and memorable moment of the day.
What comfort may be found in such a simple pleasure…?!
Mahlepi, is another item used in Greek cooking that is essential. Essential indeed as it is found in the Tsoureki recipe, this brioche type dough that is traditional in Easter time. It is the kernel found inside the seed of the St Lucie Cherry ,it is cracked then crushed with a mill into thin powder . Its very intense flavor litteraly transform this brioche into something magical as the taste left in your mouth after each bite of this soft concocture is light , fresh and making you wonder what on earth have you just been eating. The sliced toast of the Greek Mythology found nowadays in every of Athens Bakery.
Before forgetting and as I am mentioning Athens, there is a special place , a real jewel of a bakery, you will find it in Kifissia, East of the City, in a pretty pedestrian street where locals are coming by at the weekend to collect Galaktobouriko (a milky and creamy flan like topped with kataifi crispy pastry and soaked of course with the most outrageous yummy syrup) and the Tsoureki…..Its name Varsos , do remember it because if you ever get to try their pastries, you will end up thanking me ….for life that is!
I described previously my experiences and close encounter with Indian food, it is there, in a drawer of my taste buds but nevertheless leaving enough space for the Greek celebration above but as we all well know how extensive the list of fabulous not just products but also recipes this great country has given us and I could simply and thus with the same enthusiasm , go on and on and on by mentioning some more delicacies and saying Voila! Another one ! Surprises of the day . As sometimes my mind is acting by itself and playing me tricks and taking back to the surface, memories, tastes and recipes ,thought to be long forgotten…..Que Neni! This “bougre” is as resistant as an old Bull and here comes his next item (s) again.
Let’s travel, eat , feast , let’s get ourselves enchanted by this serein and exciting growing feeling that comes with it like at the first read of a menu until the first appetizer is placed before you, coming with its little explanation sometimes needed (often I must say) sometimes not a word but silence is necessary, you want to listen , to taste , guess, discover the ingredients, “nouveaux” or old , familiar flavors, the one you would find in comfort food , the new rustic or new classical.
I guess my keyboard might be slightly slippery on this day as I am losing myself to phantasmagorical and lasting debacles on how and what food should taste like or what does it do for me …..
It is a “Blog” and in a non arrogant way, my blog, and I have brought , before you, what I consider an Item (s) of exception and consider my promised work done!
For now …..TBC