I am beginning to surrender to the fact that tea is not so easily traceable in Greece. This having been said it is known world-wide for its coffee. In fact the Greeks are the ones Australia has to thank for the big coffee culture boom that has hit the country in recent years. I am looking forward to checking out all the caffeine hideouts when I’m there in two weeks time – eeeek! I have to admit that as well as a tea addict I am also a coffee lover but for me a mid-morning or afternoon coffee is a once a day occurrence often accompanied with a slab of cake. It doesn’t give me the consistent comfort and satisfaction that I get from tea throughout the day. You know, that warm fuzzy feeling as if someone is hugging you from the inside! 🙂 Tea just knows how to cater for all occasions. This having been said I have already grown accustomed to the morning habit of having a Greek coffee – ελληνικά style!! It is super strong but gives you a well needed kick to knock you out of that morning daze!
It is kind of like an espresso and in this heat I can see why you wouldn’t want to sit down with a large hot drink. Although they do say that hot drinks keep you cooler. Something about reducing the shock that cold drinks give your body which shut of the little soldiers that fight to keep you cool like sweat glands (in very technical terms of course 😉 ).
Despite all the science my palate is turning towards the refreshing polar end of the scale. I’m sorry to have to share with you that here in Greece it is scorchinnggggg. We have been tempted to try to fry eggs on our skin it is that hot. Actually I’m feeling kinda smug as I know that torrential rain has hit the UK this week #sorrynotsorry 🙂
Greece is famous for its φραπές (frappé) comparable to a Starbucks frappucino or a Costa coffee cooler but better, in fact nada que ver! as the Argentines would say or in the cockney translation they have jack all on the frappé! Not made with any additives nor sugary syrups, it is literally cold foamy instant coffee and was first invented by the Greek Nescafe representative Dimitris Vakondios in 1957 in the city of Thessaloniki. It is seriously good and is certainly making up for the lack of caffeine that I am missing from tea.
It reminds me of the cold coffee that Hebe and I slurped up in Vietnam. Cà phê sữa đá literally translated as cold coffee with condensed milk. I am not sure which I prefer, the Greek frothiness or the Vietnamese sweetness. If you haven’t tried coffee, both cold and hot, with condensed milk, you must – now! A straw slurping warning is necessary, it’s too good to miss even a single drop.
Vietnam is a thriving hotspot for coffee and in addition to its condensed milk companion, the weasel coffee bean variety is a winner and is in fact one of the most expensive coffee varieties in the world. Let’s just say it has a unique taste, if you have never heard of it before, it is the shiz! Quite literally! The civet cat digests the bean and this is then refound in its faeces and that is the bean that is used in your coffee – yum yum!
To top off the coffee scene another must try for travellers passing through Vietnam is the famous egg coffee. This is literally, I kid you not, the most delicious coffee I have ever had in my life! It is like a coffee meringue pie! This is a speciality to the capital Hanoi and the best in town can be found in this adorable little roof terrace cafe…
Cafe Pho Co is not easy to find and is the secret gem of Hanoi. Enter through the silk shop and in Narnia style it will bring you to a fairy light lit spiral staircase. Head to the top to get a view off the city overlooking the hustle and bustle of activity around Hoan Kiem Lake.
So back to Greece…In between the ice coffees and teas, ice cream is just generally a holiday must and we are not left disappointed. I have had some pretty good ice cream over the years and the best, for me, is still found in Argentina – but I need a freshly churned new post to witter on about that. The top flavour of the week for us is the Pavlova – a creamy yogurt ice cream with frozen berries and chunks of meringue – delish! We couldn’t complain about the view either 😉
The cake scene is also not too shabby. Greece has some dreamy γλύκα (desserts) including the all mighty μπακλαβáς (baklava), κανταϊφι (kadaifi) and γαλακτομπούρεκο (custard filled pastry). The typical Greek ingredients used that I have detected include walnuts, honey, syrup, cinnamon and coconut – I have some new recipes ideas brewing 😉 Because of the heat we have definitely been hitting the cake hard at breakfast and then ice creaming it up during the day!
So although my quest to find some tea didn’t exactly go to plan, I did unlock some yummy iced delights along the way! Despite the cold weather you guys have at home why don’t you try snuggling up in front of the fire with at least a magnum, ice cream is after all perfect for all occasions. I just can’t promise you a backdrop like we have 😉
Have a chilled day!