Corfu: the Liston, and pastitsada

By: | Post date: June 10, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

Once clear of the Spianada, I could see a bunch of magnificently run down buildings in Corfu, and the kind of stream of people I’d last seen in Old Rhodes, and which tells me that this is my kind of place

It really is postcard ready, this place.
One more block, and I came upon the Liston, the tourist highlight of Corfu Town centre for its colonnade. The Liston looks like it came right out of St Mark’s in Venice, but in fact it was built by the occupying French in 1814.
By this stage, I was beginning to wonder if there was anything Venetian left, that wasn’t outshadowed by the 19th century Western rulers of the island. Spoiler alert: with the exception of the Old Town Hall… not really.
The Liston, as you can tell, is an awesome place to have an indulgently slow coffee, watch people go by in the Spianada.
It also is a good place to have an indulgent meal, although it was windy enough by the evening that I went indoors for it, and half an  hour later, so did everyone else.
I am here to discover what the locals do, and that meant I was honour bound to have the local speciality, a pastitsada.
Here, the Aigli restaurant version: macaroni, meat with cinnamon. The meat was familiar enough once I ate into it: it’s kokkinisto, braised meat with tomato sauce featuring cinnamon and cloves. At least some Americans are going to be familiar with that sauce as Cincinnati chilli (though it never occurred to anyone in Greece to add dark chocolate to it). What’s pastitsada about it is the accompaniment with macaroni (or bucatini), rather than the more usual Greek accompaniments of rice or spaghetti.
May be an image of chow mein and pasta
The waiter suggested I not smother it with grated cheese, as Greeks do the minute they see pasta. Yeah, it was great without the cheese. But I’ve had Greek braised beef with pasta before, even if it wasn’t macaroni. Would have still been fine with cheese!
The version I had of pastitsada at Bellissimo (menu: “with lots of cheese”) was more intense, with some extra secret spices, and with chicken. (The specialty I’d been instructed to find was rooster pastitsada.)

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