“Cruising the Dodecanese” is Peter Sommer Travels’ last scheduled cruise in Greece in 2017. This year, to give an impression of the experience, we are providing a diary of sorts on our blog. Rather than describing every day in detail (you can check our itineraries on www.petersommer.com for that), every day we will pick one image we took that day, accompanied by some explanations and thoughts.
Another day amongst the beauties of the Dodecanese. We woke up to a most splendid sunrise at Panteli (see yesterday's post) and spent from morning to early afternoon discovering the sights of Leros before cruising onward to holy Patmos. At lunch and dinner, we enjoyed local Greek food.
Of course, our visits on Leros included the medieval Castle of Panteli with its splendid views, as well as the town of Lakki, designed in the 1920s according to the Italian "razionalismo" architectural style, a unique and somewhat odd feature of the island.
Another key highlight, however, was lunch. As we tend to on most our trips to Leros, we called on our friend Giorgos, who runs the only winery on Leros. What he gives to us and our guests is a lot: an insight into what it means to grow grapes and produce fine wines in the harsh conditions of a small and reasonably dry island, exposed to sun and wind nearly all year; a sampling of the liquid fruit of his and his family's labours; and a superb lunch of superb and quintessentially Greek food produced from local ingredients by him and Mairie, his wife.
How to describe that lunch? They always present us with an impressive spread of dishes, and it is unfailingly the most authentic Greek home-cooking: the quality and type of Greek food you would find when invited to a Greek friend's house, or at a wedding, or at a village festival. Today's offerings included pasta with a tomato-and-cheese sauce, roast chicken with lemon, a pork stir-fry with lots of herbs from the surrounding hillsides, melt-in-the-mouth oven potatoes, a fresh green salad (all the above are shown in our picture), as well as chickpea-and-mint croquettes, fava (the famous mash of yellow split peas) and vine leaves stuffed with rice and local krasotiri (goat-milk cheese ripened in red wine sediment). All of these delights were consumed while tasting his white, rosé and red wines of various vintages.
For many of our guests, this will have been one of the most memorable moments on our cruise - the first local meal served off the boat. Maria and I - and also Nota, our other Greek expert - are very eager to present our guests with the whole range of authentic Greek food and local specialities throughout all our tours and cruises, from home-cooking to traditional tavernas to more elaborate restaurants, but always aiming for something far removed from the standardised and simplified cuisine that is a necessary but lamentable aspect of mass tourism. Unique flavours, the highest quality and congenial settings are only the most basic criteria of our choices. Incidentally, we also offer some very fine authentic Greek recipes on this very blog!
Let's see what tomorrow brings...