Corfu is the 2nd largest Ionian Island, a group of islands, traditionally called the Heptanese, i.e. "the Seven Islands”. Corfu’s Greek name comes from mythology: Poseidon, god of the sea, fell in love with a nymph called Korkyra (daughter of Asopos, an important river) and abducted her, bringing her to the island. He named the island after her and, over time, Korkyra become Kerkyra. Their child was called Phaiax, which gave the name to the islands inhabitants ‘Phaiakes’, earning Corfu the nickname ‘The Island of the Phaeacians’.
Ditching our bags in the hotel and freshening up, we went for a wander into the Old Town, pausing to admire the waterside sunset and sample some Ouzo.
Cutting through the Spianáda, part town square and part park, we found ourselves on Liston street in the central of the town. This impressive promenade is lined with arcades and was formally reserved for aristocrats, but now is home to cafes and bars. It was built in 1807 by a Frenchman and it’s design was inspired by the Rue de Rivoli in Paris.
We stopped at Liston Cafe to celebrate our arrival into Greece with cocktails, soaking up the lively evening atmosphere.
Samples were offered regularly of local produce, including olive oils, olives, olive tapenade and fig rolls.
The highlight, however, was the local speciality of kum quat! These bright orange fruits have been cultivated in Corfu since 1924 and are used in a number of ways - eaten raw, used in cooking, as sweets, in jams and syrups - but best of all as a liquor!
I’d never seen or even heard of this before so was eager to try and was delighted to discover a sweet tasty drink - plus I’m sure it’s good for you as the fruits are rich in vitamins ;)
This island is the only place in Greece where you can really find this liquor, due to the fruit growing, so we bought a small bottle to enjoy later in our trip.
Having worked up a hunger, we went for dinner at ‘Mic Mac’ a fast food restaurant where we had the most amazing dinner on the street.
We split a gyros pitta and chicken souvlaki - heaven!
Souvalaki is essentially skewered meat, grilled and served with chips or potatoes and tzatzaki sauce (yoghurt, cucumber & garlic) - usually pork but also available in chicken and lamb.
Gyros pitta is a greek dish of meat roasted and carved from a vertical split (derived from the Turkish diner kebab) and wrapped in pitta bread served with chips, tzatziki, onion, salad and tomato.
It was the tastiest thing I may have ever eaten!
The meat rotates in front of the heater, kept moist, fatty and crisp by adding strips of fat and adjusting the heat strength and distance between meat and heat.
|I realise most people look this excited posing with celebrities, not slabs of meat...|
We people watched and re-lived the deliciousness of our gyros pitta before the heavens opened and we grabbed a taxi back to our hotel.