Skip to content
Ships to Europe in 3-6 days!
Ships to Europe in 3-6 days!
Fortællinger fra Kreta | 49

Tales from Crete | 49

Today I sat and had lunch with my very good long-time friend Pantelis. The last time I was down here (a good week ago) he invited me to lunch, and it was now time to eat it. We had found a secluded table in his old tavern Romeos Family Restaurant, which son Manthos took over a number of years ago. But we shouldn't have any of that on the menu, not because it's not good, because it is to that extent, but instead he had chosen a typical Cretan dish that his wife Petroula had prepared all morning and it had to be a real men's lunch, just him and me, and we shouldn't wear too nice clothes, I was aware, because we had to eat with five claws and a fork.

The menu consisted of snails, which had been picked up a few days before on the "holy land" of Geroskinos, on the way out towards the picturesque Balos Lagoon. Here are said to be some of the best snails you can raise, and I don't think that's entirely wrong. "The snails come out in the evening because they hate the setting sun, so all day they hide under some bushes, pieces of rock and other places where they can avoid the sun, and in the evening they come out because they have become hungry and need to find some food . But I am too, and I'm much smarter than them, because then I just quietly go out and pick up the ones I need and take them home with me," he says while we've only just had time to cut the freshly baked broke into several large pieces. It is also important for this dish that it is large pieces of bread, because they must be used to get the wonderful sauce in which the snails are cooked.

"I always clean the snails first before cooking them," says Pantelis. "Not because it is strictly necessary, but it is now best to know they are completely clean," he says. It is done down here by giving the live snails brought home a good portion of flour like the ones he frolics in, and you just change it a few times until the flour no longer takes on any color of any kind. The snails are then cooked in boiling hot olive oil, with freshly made tomato sauce, garlic, various spices, large pieces of potatoes and squash and finely chopped onion. Then it actually just has to stand and simmer until the potatoes are completely tender and almost fall apart when you cut them with a fork.

As I'm not used to eating snails, of course I was a bit confused to start with, but I quickly got the hang of it, because there is a good little trick to get the snail out of the house without destroying it . You tap the fork on the tip of the snail housing on the top of the housing a few times without the housing breaking, and possibly insert one of the outermost tips of the forks carefully into what little remains, then it loosens from the housing and can be pulled out just as well.

I know that not everyone likes snails, but when they come directly from the holy land of Balos, referred to by some as Crete's outpost to Paradise, it's hard not to have a divine thought for this beautiful and really simple dish . But as Pantelis says, you must only take what you can eat when you get the snails out there, because there must be enough for everyone. I love when there is a small twist to the story that more than anything tells about the Cretans' attitude to life, but I also love when Pantelis says that he sometimes makes a Saganaki with small finely cut pieces of snail in it, garnished with Graviera cheese and topped with with ice-cold grated feta, and his friends eat it with great relish even though they don't like snails, and when they ask what it is, he just says: "I'm not sure I know much about that, because it's Petroula made it, but it tastes excellent" after which he puts on a big smile.

Of course, a special wine also goes with snails like this. It's a Romeiko of our own breeding, mixed with an insignificant amount of Syrah, which should be enjoyed cold with ice cubes in it. So it's actually not that crazy at all, even if it doesn't look much like a red wine like the one we know at home.

Should your path fall past Romeos Family Restaurant, you should probably not expect to get snails, because it is a longer process and difficult to deal with when you can only take the snails you can eat. But you can expect Pantelis to stand outside and happily tell you a story and completely forget that you may have just come for a good, well-prepared meal.

In the next few weeks, our guests in Elena's Group Travel will have the pleasure of meeting the whole family down here, with or without snails :-)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Tales from Crete | Elena's - The taste of Greece

Previous article Tales from Crete | 50
Next article Tales from Crete | 48

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields