We really started to feel like locals in Greece. We ventured out of the touristy parts of Naxos, and put ourselves in places where we needed our Greek translation book in order to get around.
I had a goal when we first thought about coming to Greece, and that was to meet someone from Greece, and cook and eat with them. I had absolutely no idea how feasible this would be, but we just kept our eyes open for an opportunity.
By chance, Mrs. Play Gourmet, happened on an article about a neat restaurant on the other side of the island. We would need to rent a car, and drive through the mountains for about an hour to get there.
We thought that would be a pretty good opportunity to explore the island and see something other than the beach or “big” city.
Along the way, we stopped and saw some cool things, like old olive oil plants, and churches.
The trip through the mountains was incredible. The roads got pretty narrow at times, but the views were sensational.
Finally, we arrived in the beautiful old town of Koronos, where the restaurant was hidden.
Once there, it required some exploration to locate. There were about 300 stairs required to negotiate before coming to the sign for Matina – Stavros Tavern.
Once inside, we had found exactly what we were looking for. There were tables under a trellis of ivy and trees, and a quaint little house, which was about 75% kitchen.
Inside was a very sweet grandmotherly woman, who ran the place; she was Matina. She cooked and her equally gentle husband hosted; he was Stavros. They did not speak english, yet were very easy to talk to.
This was the kind of place, where the cook decided at the start of the day what the menu would be, and when we get there, we eat what is served. We did not know what to expect, or when the food would stop coming, but for this occasion, we just threw caution to the wind and tried to eat everything.
You recall how everyone can relate to My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Because big Indian or Italian, or etc. families are so similar. There is always the grandmother that cooks, and tells you to eat more, even when you swear you are full. But you know she is stuffing you only out of love and adoration. This is who we had catering to us at this truly authentically Greek experience.
Not only did we take to her immediately, but she invited us into her kitchen to cook with her.
She also, brought out ingredients to describe recipes.
And she even brought out toys to play with our little Play Gourmet, so that Mommy and Daddy could enjoy the home cooking.
And the cooking was superb! Our best food from the trip. We had greek salad and home made tzatziki. Then vegetable fritters that were unbelievable, made with zucchini, onion, carrots, and dill. Next came a delicious dish of baked vegetables. Then chicken in lemon sauce, goat in a red sauce, french fries and beans.
And finally came an amazing, thankfully light, dessert. It was also good that we had our little Play Gourmet to help us eat most of it.
Prior to making it to Greece, it is almost as though we dreamt this place into existence. We are very thankful to have found Matina and Stavros.