In Spain we order tapas, in Portugal it’s petiscos. In Greece our taste buds get excited at the prospect of mezes, a term derived from ‘mazze’, the Persian word for snacks. Exploring the west of Crete we reacquainted ourselves with old favourites as well as trying some local specialities.
Our arrival at the Elia Hotel near Ano Vouves was idyllic. The sky was intense Greek blue, the sun warming and the hotel a charmer. Manager Jo welcomed us with a lunch which included dakos salad – a rusk bread topped with sweet tomatoes and creamy myzithra cheese drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with aromatic herbs. Accompanied by frosty Alfa beers it was enough to have me humming Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.
When I think of calamari I visualise myself tucking into tender squid coated with crispy batter in a rustic taverna overlooking a picturesque harbour where bright blue boats bob gently on crystalline seas. Those were exactly the ingredients we found at Taverna Captain Nikolas, a Cretan institution located beside the golden sands of Falassarna Beach, a 2-kilometre stroll from the Panorama Hotel.