I did a cheese and wine run to a Greek Island, Lesbos, last week when I had the opportunity. The ferry leaves from Ayvalik in Turkey, which is a famous place for seafood, and after 90 minutes you are on Lesbos, the Lesbian island.
I caught this mystical sight of the sea half way to Lesbos, which felt surreal. The Mediterranean sea makes unusual patterns because of the hight salt level. I’ve been living and swimming in this desired part on the Earth but I still have issues mainly with food.
(Click on the photo for a large image because it’s worth it!)
I’ve heard so much about the Turks hopping to Greek islands just to eat seafood and stock duty-free items, mainly alcohol. The Lesbos centre was
rather completely dead and, it being the 3rd largest Greek island, it is difficult to see sights in one day unlike other nearby islands such Kos and Rhodes.
With all shops closed for siesta, there was only one option: to eat lots of seafood. We walked along the shore opposite to the arrival port and spotted a restaurant, which was full of people. The menu wasn’t as big as the restaurants next door and has several Turkish dishes but I was impulsively pulled in by the sight of the bread.
“If the bread is good, the food is good” is my criteria to pick a restaurant so….
The famous giant octopus leg, smoked mackerel, sardines, and prawns.….all the things that are impossible to get in Turkey. We ordered without checking the price, partly to prove it right that in Greece, you can eat as much seafood as you can for one third of the price you pay in Turkey, and partly because we wanted to treat ourselves without worrying about the bill.
The octopus was really delicious,crispy outside and tender inside. Oh….how have I missed you?
And the sardines were so fresh and tasty. I mopped up all the oil with the good bread and ate without uttering a single word except hmms and ahhs. Reviews for good food and wines have to be measured by the number and the length of hmms and ahhs produced. No words necessary!
A big plate of grilled prawns arrived with Greek olive oil. OMG, they were the best I’d eaten for sure. The freshness is all about seafood. I showered the prawns with the fruity Greek olive oil, which doubled the pleasure of eating them. The ruby coloured, fruity house wine wasn’t up to scratch but I wasn’t there for wine and it was only €7 for a jug – how can you complain about that?
It turned out the huge crowd filling the place was Turks on a tour. I sneaked a glance at their tables and they all consumed a vast quantity of food. We went up to the counter to pay the bill, prepared for a surprise, but we were rather surprised how cheap the meal was!
Over 1 kg of prawns, all the seafood and 4 big salad for only that price????? So they were right, saying that it is worth to visit a Greek island and eat lots of seafood and turn back with unlimited duty-frees.
Though I didn’t like the wine drunk at the restaurant, I’d had a good experience on Kos and I was sure it would be better than Turkish wines so I took the opportunity and bought 6 mixed bottles from the Duty Free shop. It was shame that I didn’t get to visit proper wine stores because they were closed; they should be working harder, no? Everywhere was cash payment only.
The evening I returned to Istanbul, I opened one of the bottles and it was good. Not having the knowledge about Greek wine, I can’t say much about them, but it will be an interesting discovery while going through the other 5 bottles and comparing them.
This wine is made of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 60% “Limnio“, the native grape variety and Aristotle’s favourite. Nicknamed “Volcano Limnos”, the grapes are grown in the volcanic soils of Limnos island. The wine had quite peppery and herbaceous aroma, something you would detect in old Cabernet, but the bottle was 2011. What pleased me the most was the tannic after taste, which I don’t get in Turkish wines. It was nice to have the mouth-feel and complex aromas of fruit and earthiness all together.
I’m certainly looking forward to opening the other 5 bottles. 🙂