Octopi drying on a boat in Santorini; The view a hilltop in Mykonos.
The chef is smiling, arms folded across his belly, as the first courses are served: sautéed foie gras with raisin paste, ouzo jelly and a drizzle of black syrup made with grapes from a local vineyard, and a jet-black risotto made with local cuttlefish and retsina, the infamous Greek wine often derided for its off-putting pine-resin peculiarity.
But the aroma wafting from the risotto isn’t peculiar. It’s freshly clipped basil, and the sweet marine scent of cuttlefish. The waiter pours a bottle of Assyrtiko, a crisp white with a nose full of citrus, sourced from a sandy-soiled vineyard down the road. The chef stands there, still smiling, waiting for a response. Continue reading