The rest of Yianni’s family have not arrived yet, so he cooks everything himself and says that nearly all his food comes from the island. A typical meal is a couple of shared starters – always a Greek salad, nothing like that served elsewhere in the world, the sweetest red onions imaginable, huge tangy slices of tomato, cucumber as succulent as a drink and topped with a massive wedge of feta cheese with a sprinkling of oregano.
The tzatziki might just be from a carton but the briam, chickpea balls, French beans, yellow peas, and calamari all come fresh from the kitchen. One jug of local retsina from a barrel is usually enough to accompany main courses of rabbit stiffado, lamb in the oven, meatballs, rooster in wine or souvalaki.
There are a few guidelines for identifying the best tavernas – obviously if local (as opposed to vacationing) Greeks eat there, if it’s a family run affair, if you’re welcome to visit the kitchen (Health and Safety regulations - pah!) and special offers or overly slick advertising is absent.
The village has two ‘mini-markets’ that provide all life’s essential requirements and very few pointless frills. They sell most things, like any typical supermarket, except everything is crammed chaotically into a 30-foot square room. At first they appear crazy and disorganised but eventually you come to view them as the most brilliant corner shops imaginable. If they don’t have what you want its invariably there the next day.