Earlier this year Mr Iced Vovo, my Mum and I were staying at a farmhouse in the sleepy hamlet of Provarma about 25 km from the thriving city of Chania on the Island of Crete.
Surrounded by goats, turkeys and olive groves (as far as the eye can see) and with glimpses of the Mediterranean in the distance we spent seven wonderful days exploring the local area.
In the neighbouring hamlet of Armenoi we found one of the best butchers I have ever seen. (A big call from someone who was a vegetarian for over 15 years) However, this place was more than just a butchers shop, here we found the most delicious cheeses (many local), olives (mainly local), game birds, organic chickens (both local) and an amazing array of salamis, sausages (made on site) and honey (yep, local) etc.
Across the road was a bakery and café that had breads, dried cruskits (great for crumbling into your salad) and a delicious array of tempting cakes and pastries. We also discovered that they made their own lemoncello style drink. We were reward with a shot of the sweet but punchy drink after bringing in our finished coffee cups. Who cares if it was still mid morning, the baker certainly didn’t!
Both the butchers and the bakers (we never found the candle-stick maker ;)) quickly became our favourites and supplied us with goodies for a number of lunches and dinners during our stay in the area. There are also a couple of small greengrocers where you can pick up any extra supplies like tomatoes (local) and wine (local and cheap – but not nasty!)) to ensure your meal is complete.
It is also in this town that we had two fantastic dinners. One was at Tzitzikas (Cicada) a bio slow food café bar located in a picturesque setting beside a flowing aqua-duct. Be careful of the mozzies at dusk though, they ended up a little too much for us and we eventually moved inside. We had homemade ravioli style pasta with cheese, a delectable salad, potatoes fried in olive oil and sea salt, and eggplant dish and homemade bread basket. They try to source as much local and organic food as possible.
The other was Drosostalia Taverna, just on the corner to the road that leads to Tzitzikas and also beside the waterway. We discovered that the serves here are huge so order wisely. We shared the most massive Greek salad I saw on our trip, slow cooked lamb, zucchini & eggplant fritters and home-style potato chips. It was far too much but irresistibly delicious. The people beside us ordered a mixed grill and it looked like they got a whole beast!!! Great if you’re a super carnivore and ravenous…
The fantastic thing about most Greek cafés and restaurants we went to was that they provide a small dessert and after dinner drink for free! This was the case at both these restaurants. Watch out as the drink is usually something very potent and can really pack a punch!
Wherever you go around this part of Crete a delicious meal, great view and friendly people abound!
(Not to forget an olive tree or two too – there is reportedly over 30 million on the Island of Crete !)