I wanted to show some amazing lighting products I found on Etsy by Light Cookie, a team of young designers, engineers and handcrafters “with great passion and love for inspiring lighting fixtures”. You can also like them on Facebook or see more of their work on their website. They ship worldwide from Thessaloniki, Greece.
The above retro-industrial, bronze sconce can be found here .
Scala Vinoteca opened in 2009 and is one of my favourite restaurants in Athens. I love the space, the food and the wine. It was designed by Maria Kokkinou and Andreas Kourkoulas. There is lots of wood and metal and it looks spacious although it is not that big. Also, the light in there is amazing.
I listened to the leaves rustling, I saw water ripples before the sun went down. I smelled the scent of the moist earth. I touched the mushrooms and the reeds. This is autumn.
Around early September each year, I go to my mum’s summer house, near the sea, and that’s when autumn strikes me first. She gives me red grapes and the sweetest figs. The sea is cloudy but warm.
Then, a few days later there is the first drizzle and the earth smells heavenly, so I make my first hot cup of coffee in months.
As it gets colder, I go to the open market on Saturday and buy quinces and pomegranates. I love baked potatoes with quinces and later on, I also add chestnuts. There is always a trip to the countryside in October. Lakes in autumn, there is nothing calmer or prettier when the golden trees are mirrored in them. I just walk without any purpose other than to crush the yellow leaves under my feet. On the way home, farmers sell pumpkins on the side of the road. Then, there comes an evening when I watch a silly movie and I need a blanket, for the first time. Some cinnamon tea too. On Sunday evenings I make pumpkin soup with saffron. I know that in my dad’s village, olive harvest has begun.
(all photos are mine)
Ouzo is an acquired taste. If you are not an immediate fan, don’t fret. Almost nobody is. But it grows on you as meze that accompany it (small plates of tidbits) come and go. Because it is always served with food, even if it is just a few olives and a slice of tomato.
Also, you have to find your own, preferred proportion of ouzo to ice and water. Some people have it straight, but most like some ice in it. Do have some water or ice added to it, since it is quite strong. It will turn milky white (because of the anise) and will last longer. But above all, in order to enjoy it, you have to be willing to kill time, to be ready to laugh and philosophize. Or, to be absolutely still and just look at the world go by. It is not something to do in a hurry or during a business lunch, God forbid.
Ouzo and meze are appetizers, not a meal, although the process can last hours and hours. That doesn’t mean you can emerge drunk from the experience. That’s a faux pas. It is a conversational drink and the reason why you have food as you go is to remain sober so as to enjoy the company.
Ouzo Pitsiladi, Ouzo Kefi, Ouzo Psihis
How to serve it
-Have tall highball glasses ready (I believe they are also called zombie glasses).
-Present a separate bowl of ice or ice bucket and a little spoon or ice tongs.
-Have a bottle of water on the table too.
-Serve some food: Olives, a slice of cheese, sliced tomato, cucumber slices, sardines, taramosalata or saganaki (fried cheese). To recreate Greek meze at home: Variety, quality, simplicity. As a general rule, the food has to be salty, a bit spicy is okay too, but not sweet or starchy.
-Each person pours their own drink and they dilute it according to their taste. Some want one or two ice-cubes, some add water, some both.
-Say “geia mas” (cheers) and clink your glasses.
Ouzo production took off at the end of the 19th century in Plomari, on the island of Lesvos.
Ouzo is made from pressed grapes or raisins and added herbs and spices (anise, fennel, cloves etc).
Only Greece has the right to produce it by European Law.
It can go up to 45% alcoholic degrees when mainstream vodka is 40%. It may be sweet but it is not innocent.
Top quality is 100% distilled ouzo.
(all photos are mine)
This summer I went to Lesvos, an island in the North Aegean. A big island and a very diverse one. I stayed in Petra, a village near Molivos, one of the most scenic places you can find yourself in. In another post, I will tell you about the food and the ouzo, as Lesvos is the ouzo capital of the world.