Thursday, 12 September 2013

Hidden Treasure!

Summer is over!  The crowds have all but disappeared from the beaches, the children have all gone back to school and there is a chill in the air first thing in the morning and when the sun goes down in the evening.

Our friends at Santa Rosa Beach Hotel, Hristos and Toula, took us for a drive yesterday to the ancient coastal village of Maronia.  A 30 minute drive from Alexandroupolis.

We visited the amphitheatre built in the Hellenistic era, (just after Alexander the Great’s death), then a 3 part stage was added by the Romans during the Roman era at which time they converted it to an arena for Gladiators and of course the typical entertainment of throwing the Christians to the lions..We even saw the doorway where the animals entered!  During the Byzantine era, most now ancient temples etc where destroyed and replaced by Christian churches.  At this site they have uncovered a Byzantine cemetery.  We weren’t allowed to take photos but I saw my first 1500 plus skeleton lying in its grave…

 sitting in front of a 1000 year old olive tree

We then went for a drive to the little port of Maronia.  It was filled with fishing boats of all shapes and sizes.  Hristo started talking to a group of men on the bigger one…They were all from Egypt and had been living in Greece for several years.. 15 euros later we left with our goodies, salahi (skate) and other little fish I don’t know the name of.  About 4 kilos worth..

Maronia's fishing port

I didn’t know at the time but the biggest treasure was only about 100 metres away.  I was too busy trying to be creative with my photography to look up the hill at a balcony overlooking the sea.  That was one entrance..Up the rickety staircase.  We drove up the hill… and behind a 500 year old olive tree was a tiny little tavern with an even smaller kitchen.  Two sisters have been running this tavern for forever..the magic of this place is the menu.. Only 4-5 items, all seasonal and ALL FANTASTIC!  We had the barbounia (red mullet), crispy fried prawns, greeek salad with samphire, melitzanosalata (eggplant salad) and the best fried chips I have ever had.  No triple cooking methods used here!  They were crispy on the outside and velvety smooth on the inside.  Out of this world!!!

The view was incredible, we had the whole place to ourselves being mid week and summer over….It was magic..  The ladies are here everyday, rain, hail or shine.  It’s not as busy as it usually has been over the years due to the economic crisis but they persevere and do not compromise on the freshness of their ingredients..

Upon paying the bill, they came out with the best portokalopita I have ever tasted!...This syrup soaked orange filo pastry deliciousness sent me over the top…I couldn’t move..I nearly fell asleep in the car but held on to get home to watch my favourite Turkish series which is finishing on Friday..

Next time you visit Greece take time to stop off in Alexandroupolis, stay at Santa Rosa Beach Hotel, which is a 1 star hotel with 10 star service on the beach, go for a drive to this wonderful little village of Maronia and stop off for the best lunch you will ever have at Gianna & Roula’s Fish tavern at St Haralambos in Maronia..

 who would have thought that behind this magnificent 1000 year old tree lay this little treasure of a tavern!

ladies hard at work in their quaint kitchen!
yummy portokalopita...recipe to come!

xxxxxx Carol - Greek Food Odyssey

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