A Zesty Life

It’s always fun to catch up with friends overseas. The love and energy shared during these times feels infinitely heightened. Last year during our trip to Greece, we travelled to the Cycladic island of Milos. The night we arrived we caught up with friends from Melbourne. They had just spent the last few days in Milos and were travelling onwards the following day. The following day happened to be my birthday too and our time together felt like an early birthday celebration.

We enjoyed a great dinner at Archontoula in the town of Plaka. Conversation was fun and full-on, catching up on life and sharing all our travel stories.

Our friends gave us great advice about seeing Milos. Just as most travel guides recommend a boat trip around Milos to reach some of its beautiful sea caves, bays and its incredibly varied rock formations, they did too – but they suggested we do this early on in our trip. That way we could avoid doubling up on places that are part of the sailing itinerary or see if there are any special places, that are accessible by land/car, that we may want to return to following the sailing tour.

There are a number of boat tours operating in Milos and our friends had joined the Thalassitra tour, which is known for its delicious food offerings and Theodoros’ fabulous knowledge and local insights. We took all this advice and we are so glad we did!!

The sailing trip was on a replica early 20th century Milos, wooden, sailing-boat called Thalassitra. We took our places on the port side of the elevated section of the front deck, which offered the perfect vantage to see the sights as we sailed. It was also very useful following lunch, when we lay down and the steady rocking rhythm of the boat lulled us to sleep… allowing us to rest between two of the swimming stops.

The day was quite long, but very enjoyable – 11 hours of sailing, swimming, eating, chatting with new friends on the boat, sleeping and enjoying Theodoros’ – our modern day ‘pirate’ tour guide’s – wealth of knowledge.

All the food was prepared on the boat in a tiny kitchen – we had loukoumades and ‘bread with cheese’ for morning tea. For lunch we had vegetarian moussaka; cuttlefish and risoni; spanakorizo (rice with spinach); zucchini with eggs; briam (baked vegetable mix); cooked green beans with tomato and olive oil; strapatsada (tomato, eggs and feta); burghal, tomato and rocket salad; and fava (yellow split-pea dip). The cuttlefish was the stand out dish – I even managed to get the recipe, but I’m not allowed to share it – so you will just have to take the tour and ask for the recipe yourselves. For afternoon tea we had halva made with semolina and a frappe. We had sweet watermelon for an early evening refreshment and lastly, kalzounakia (fried, cheese-filled parcels with honey and cinnamon) and a shot of tsipouro to toast our collective health and celebrate the end of the journey!

For island eating options, they recommended O Xamos, Medussa and O Palaios – Zaharoplasteio (Greek patisserie).

O Xamos in Adamantas was an absolute winner! We had the green bean salad, Cycladic salad, chickpeas, saganaki, roasted suckling pig with petimezi (grape molasses) and goat with lemon and mustard. Everything was delicious. (I think the flavours of the meat dishes were enhanced by the fact that the animals are raised on the owner’s farm).

They also have a full service beach across the road from the restaurant with umbrellas, banana-lounges and drinks… It’s the island lifestyle dream… Swim, eat well, drink, rest… repeat!

If, or rather, when I return to Milos some day, I will eat there ever day and just work my way through the entire menu.

Medussa in Mandrakia was good. Their smoked eel with fava dish was a stand-out and their Greek salad had the sweetest, ripest tomatoes.

The watermelon pie at O Palaios – Zaharoplasteio in Plaka, was the best on the island – beautifully caramelised, spiced and sweetened. I suggest you go in the morning, as the display table will have 4-5 pies ready to serve. Look for the darkest one and ask for a slice or two of this sweet joy. There will also be a tray of freshly baked galaktoboureko on the table too – still warm with its fillo extra crispy-crunchy and the semolina-custard thick and oozy. Even if there is another tray from the previous day, they are more than happy to serve you from the freshest batch.

It was such a good night – great company, great food and then we were served one final eating treasure. As is often the custom at restaurants in Greece, we were offered a complimentary sweet at the end of our meal. It appeared to be just a small bowl of Greek yoghurt, but when I took a mouthful I was blown away. It was thick and creamy, subtly sweet and had a generous burst of lemony goodness. I wondered about the ingredients and realised that they had simply combined Greek yoghurt, honey and lemon zest and achieved a really fabulous eating experience. Making this little gastronomic discovery was the icing on a very special early birthday ‘cake’!

I have created a video to tempt you into making this simple, but super yummy treat that can be enjoyed equally for breakfast or as dessert or just a healthy snack!

Now you don’t have to limit yourself to just lemon zest. Experiment with different citrus flavours and zest combinations. I love the lemon zesty yoghurt, because it feels like you’re eating the filling from a lemon cheesecake and the orange zesty yoghurt feels like you’re eating carrot cake frosting, but the lemon and lime zest combo is really something else! You could try grapefruit or blood orange or mandarin too. Try them all and let me know which one you like the best!

KO's Zesty Yoghurt Recipe

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