Monday 24 September 2012

Corfu - A Culinary Adventure

Coffee over the water
The 2xtandem’s holiday from cycling has now reached the Greek Island of Corfu, where we have been joined for a few days by Mike’s daughter Merran - aka the Rear Seat Navigator. We’ve invited her to share a few thoughts on the subject of food, but first some:
Food Facts

There are more than 3 million olive trees on Corfu
Some are said to be more than 400 years old
A local culinary speciality is sofrito, a veal rump roast of Venetian origin
In modern times, specialist cultivation has seen the introduction of the kumquat, which is used to make an orange flavoured (and somewhat sickly) liqueur which is sold all over the island
Merran Brockie

Dinner day 3 at our local taverna
The three travellers have decided that you can record your travels equally as well by using photos of food as opposed to snapshots of landscape and the like. It is a well-known secret that Dad, Judy and I love our food and have therefore spent a great 8 days together trying out the local Greek cuisine on Corfu. The following are some excerpts from the food diary.

Day One – Our Local Taverna
Birthday lunch starters
Our first night on Corfu, we decided to have a quick bite locally, and stumbled out the gate of our campsite to the local taverna. We decided it would be rude not to have the full three course meal, so I chose the dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat) which were 100 times better than the ones you can sometimes find at home. They were warmed and came with fresh lemon to squeeze over them. Next up I tucked in to the stuffed peppers and tomatoes, which were hugely filling and so tasty. Dad had the ‘special family recipe chicken’ which was a whole lot better than KFCs, while Judy decided to stick with tradition and fill up on the delicious moussaka. Following this, our lovely tavern owner brought us some of his special ‘bloody pudding’ which he told us was another specialty here, and was on the house – even better! The litre of house wine also went down a treat.

Day Two – The Opposition
We decided we couldn’t go to the same place two nights in a row, so ventured across the road to the other local Taverna. I was introduced to my new favourite dish, baked feta, and had mussels in wine sauce for a main. Deilsh. We had also been told that we MUST try Retsina, the local Greek wine. I must say, I was expecting the worst but the three of us actually enjoyed  a bottle of it together here!

Quotable Quote
Merran emerges from restaurant: "Oh no, I think I'm having a food baby." 

Day Three – Back to the Local Taverna
Dinner day 3 - fried cheese and
zucchini balls
We couldn’t help it, with smells drifting down the driveway towards our campsite; we were drawn in again to our lovely man at the end of the driveway. This time he decided to help us order a bunch of small plates to share, and we tried his baked feta (definitely the best so far), fried local cheese, Greek salad, potato and garlic dip and zuchinni balls. Shortly after the photo was taken, I happened to get acquainted with the biggest flying bug I have EVER seen. Something that felt like a little bird flew in to my lap, and I screamed ‘there’s something in my jumper!’ The Chef could not explain to us what it was, and had to fetch his elderly parents, who claimed it was some sort of onion bug, which burrowed underground. Why did it need wings we asked? Naturally, that one was lost in translation.

Birthday lunch view
 We suspect we offended the chef when he suggested we have fries as one of our dishes, and we disagreed. He looked at us, baffled. Corfu has completely set its menus to please the flocks of British tourists who come here every summer. On blackboards everywhere you see ‘English breakfast – sausage, egg, toast and tea’. Fries come with every meal, and the waiters assume when you ask for coffee that you would like a Nescafe. All the comforts of home have been transported here for the British.

Day Four – Birthday Lunch
Birthday lunch beef stifado
A special day for us – we went out for lunch instead of dinner! Judy had received a special gift of money from her book club for her birthday last year, with instructions to spend it on a meal. As Judy was shouting, we went for broke. First up, sardines for Dad, baked feta for me (I know when I am on to a good thing) and fried eggplant with garlic aioli AND fried calamari and octopus for Judy (we may have helped her with this). After a ten minute breather to drink more wine and beer, all three of us tucked into beef stifado (slow cooked, in a juicy tomato sauce and onions) with fries.

 Being so full, we retired to the most beautiful beach out in front of the taverna, and spent a couple of hours dozing and swimming in the crystal clear, blue water, then ventured back for dessert. We all downed ginormous pieces of baklava, dripping with honey and accompanied by ice cream. YUM – thanks Judy!

Day Five – Ipsos
Tonight we decided to let our hair down, and move five minutes up the road to a beach called Ipsos for dinner. We found a wee touristy looking taverna that also had Greek food and managed more baked feta, delicious chicken with tomatoes, olives and feta with more wine and baklava! 
Day Six – Local (Again)
A quick but beautiful stop for Greek
salad and beer

We were getting separation anxiety after not being to our local tavern for two days, and were a bit weary from our day trip to Albania, so headed back for yet another amazing meal with more baked feta (I know, it has now become a theme to my day, I am 100% addicted), moussaka (delicious with eggplants) and more bloody pudding. Dad and Judy copied my early lead with stuffed peppers and tomatoes. More ouzo and wine – we decided we really could get used to living here!
Day Seven – Town
Dinner day 7 - dessert in
Corfu town
A week had passed and we still hadn’t ventured into Corfu town for dinner.  After a quick scope of the main eateries, we settled for a delightful restaurant in the main square,  amongst the gardens. We were told that Prince Philip had been born at the palace close by – this was a shock as we had spent a day driving around trying to find the blinkin palace and had given up! A great night ensued, with more baked feta (still my favourite food EVER), local fresh fish with tomato stew, GINORMOUS icecreams for Dad and I, and a litre of rose
Dancing girls at dinner
We then were treated to a performance by the local dance company right by our table – with girls ranging from 4 or 5 years up to adults dancing to all sorts of local and international songs! I almost joined them when one of my childhood pop songs came on. A great night out in Corfu!
A window display of kumquat
liqueur - a drink we enjoyed
on our last night together
So, as you can tell, Corfu may be pretty, the beaches beautiful, the water warm and the ruins interesting, but really, the most important part of the trip has been the food. When I get home I will be on to the task of recreating some of the amazing food that we have experienced here!



  1. What a great read, salivating all the way through it. Everyone is looking far too relaxed with smiles on their faces though :-)

  2. So, a rival for pizza and orricchiette huh? We may have to have a cook-off! Sounds fabulous

  3. Actually I already had dinner, but need to disappear again to the kitchen after reading this!


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