Corfu – as a Greek island – has a reputation for being hot and beautiful with typical Greek cuisine. Did I experience this during my trip last month? Sort of.
Yes the weather was nice enough to get a tan, and there were stunning sunrises, it my experience of the food was definitely a mixed bag. Some of the ‘not so good’ food experiences were definitely of my own doing……stuffing myself with countless freshly-baked croissants dipped in buckets of Nutella was always destined to end badly (especially considering I don’t have the greatest sweet tooth in the world).
Stuffing myself seemed to be a theme of this trip because I did the exact same at a beautiful restaurant in Paleokastritsa during a day trip. The restaurant itself was tucked into a bay with the stunningly blue water crashing against the wall, so of course whilst all of the other tourists around us tucked into your generic ‘tourist fare’ of burgers and chips, we ordered a seafood feast. Unbeknownst to us the ‘small calamari’ was an overflowing plate of goodness so on top of this we had ordered a seafood risotto and squid ink seafood pasta (not even mentioning the side order of chips which we barely made a dent in). I love seafood and all of these dishes far exceeded my high expectations….tender squid, light batter, perfectly seasoned, al dente pasta…..not a thing was over cooked and the freshness of the ingredients was the icing on the cake. I’m sorry to say that despite being brought up to clear my plate and giving this a damn good go….there were carbs left behind (come on though I couldn’t leave the seafood could I?!).
Besides this seafood indulgence, the rest of the week was spent living off fresh Greek salads and rather underwhelming international dishes which are to be expected of a bog standard all inclusive. As much as the food was barely average at best, what did excite at first thoug soon grew to frustrate me at mealtimes was observing dining habits of different cultures. I am not quick to judge, but my patience was wearing thin by the end of the week when I was bored of being shoulder barged for the rice, and being deafened by hollering at companions on the opposite side of the restaurant. I found myself craving the quiet intimacy of a Tuesday night in my local Indian with dimmed lights and hushed voices, or even just a home cooked meal in front of the tv.
The one other highlight for my tastebuds was the trip to a distillery producing local Kumquat liquor….although trying multiple spirits at 10am is not socially acceptable at home, for some reason on holiday it’s a bit more of an ‘anything goes’ attitude so I really took advantage. As well as trying the bright orange liquor there was also ouzo on offer (we were in Greece after all), and various alcohol infused fruits; my personal favourite was the Mavromatis which are best but very unjustly described as marmalade flavoured ‘Greek delights’ ..”although of course I had to buy the alcohol as well to add to my ever growing collection of spirits at home which sit on a shelf and barely get touched!
As I said, it was a mixed bag, but an experience I would definitely repeat (perhaps minus the mediocre hotel). My biggest lesson learned is not a new one…if you want high quality food you will probably have to venture out of your average quality hotel.