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The local specialty in Corfu was pastitsada, macaroni and Greek braised meat, its time-honoured tomato sauce with cinnamon and cloves (as reinvented in Cincinnati chilli) augmented with secret extra herbs and spices (if you’re lucky).
The local specialty in Zante can overlap with braised meat sauce, but the foundations of its sauce, skordostoumpi, are garlic and vinegar. Fried up.
They warn you, travel guides and out-of-towners. It’s heavy. Has had to be watered down for tourists, they say darkly.
Eggplant skordostoumpi, on its own. (Asteria taverna.) This is actually not that far off from dishes I’ve had in Chinese restaurants:
Here pictured with ladotyri (white cheese served with olive oil), and that fine German invention, the Radler, recently embraced by Greeks, and gratefully appreciated by me on many a summer’s day.
(To those in the Anglosphere, yes, it’s a shandy, and yes, Europeans bottle shandy, and it’s awesome. New Zealanders already know all about Radler; Monteith brewery, after all, copyrighted the name. Which is why rival brewers trying to cash in on the trend spell it backwards, as Reldar.)
Beef skordostoumpi, with cheese. (Varkarolla taverna.) We’re not in China any more:
It’s yummy, but… I had to eat this very slowly…
Rabbit skordostoumpi, on spaghetti, with chunks of white cheese. (Stathmos taverna.) This was the version I’d been warned of as extra stinky, because of how the garlic and the cheese interacted:
Still yummy, still had to eat even slower and no, I didn’t finish it.
… And yes. The garlic is slowly working its way out of my system, thank you.