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It's time to travel!

Now THAT sounds fantastic. Spatzli with the Coq au riesling?

Never had Torche aux marrons - its going to happen as soon as I get through dry January !


Absolutely, spaetzles are the only choice of starch :yum: Torche au marrons is one of Mrs Robertd’s all-time favourite desserts. We have been known to go around various patisseries, buying them up for comparative tasting.


Let’s take you on a visit to wonderful Tokyo, where I have had some of the most fantastic food experiences of my life. 3 of my top 6 meals ever eaten were in Japan.

Aperitif: Has to be the high-baller. Suntory whisky with soda water 1:2 ratio. Or if you want the Shibuya experience, take a big slug out a can of Sprite and top up with vodka.

Starter: Gyoza, while you polish off that highballer.

Main course: Tonkatsu pork served with shredded cabbage and miso broth. I like mine with Kimchi, though that is not strictly canon.

With the meal: Ice cold (out of the freezer) Japanese lager - Yebisu for authenticity, but a better Asahi maybe, try to avoid the brewed in Birmingham stuff.

Dessert: Follow with something like a creme caramel.

Digestif: In Japan we were plied with Schochu, which is a bit like vodka. If in doubt, a really nice rice or grain based vodka and drink it like the Russians at room temperature straight from a small (not shot) glass.

Film: Anything by studio Ghibli - maybe Howl’s Moving Castle if you are new to the mad genre.

This is loosely based on one of the most sensational meals I have ever had. Lunch on a mild Autumn day in Tokyo after a nightmare BA flight which ended up taking nearly 24 hours. The crunchy/salty pork coating with the tender meat and ideally crisp and sharp cabbage contrasts beautifully; the umami miso rounds out the palate before another crisp hit of lager.


What no mochi?

Otherwise, amazing feast. We lived in Osaka for a year, where I got hooked on gyoza.


Haha, I have some of the most vivid food memories from visiting Japan but none of them involve desserts. I can barely remember any of them other than that I had many things approximating a crème caramel. Including in Kyushu when it turned out to be fish custard with soy sauce and not the sweet treat I had been anticipating!


:nauseated_face: :nauseated_face:


I think @robertd did a recipe a month or so ago for prawn custard ( Chawanmushi ?) that looked fabulous.

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I lived & worked in Greece for 3 incredibly happy and amazing years in the early 90s; I should say the dishes & wines in Greece are as varied as anywhere, and eating is generally a matter of numerous shared dishes on the table. So for our proper big slap-up tea tonight, a slightly eclectic mix is served for our “parea” - a large group of slightly hedonistic foodsters sat on rickety chairs and wobbly tables ready for a special celebratory long one on a warm summer evening by the ocean …

Snacking-to-share & pick on as the sun calms down - some cold octopus in olive oil & garlic; some saganaki [fried cheese]; some BBQd “village sausages” seasoned with orange peel & fennel seeds; some proper garlicy tzatziki; some fried gavros [whitebait]; some proper salty black olives; some raw clams; some achinos [sea urchin] for those that like it; some salty feta with oregano & oil; some revithada [a chickpea dish from Sifnos - they cook absolutely beautiful food on Sifnos]; some kaparosalata [caper salad from Sifnos]; some revithokeftedes [chickpea croquettes with dill - dill goes in many dishes from Sifnos]; some bread-for-mopping-up-the-plates.

Served not with ouzo - that comes later - but with a choice of assyrtiko or xinomavro rose [an absolute delight but rarely available in The UK unfortunately]

Our Fish - fried whole small barbounia [red mullet]; fagri [a kind of sea bream] BBQd with ladolemono [a mixture of lemon and olive oil]; grilled tsipoura; fried kalamari and garrides [prawns]; grilled octopus.

Served with some nice Malagousia or some chilled Liatiko [a light red wine that is lovely chilled]; if it’s available, some Nykteri Reserve would be perfect with this [an assyrtiko blend; slightly more rounded and mellow than pure assyrtiko]

Some fruit to clear the pallet; a smoke or a vape for those who partake [guilty as charged, your honours]

Just in case anyone is hungry and because it’s lovely and we’re enjoying ourselves - some scorpionfish soup; this meal is about sampling and sharing pleasure more than gobbling!

Meat - it can only be simple charcoal-grilled baby lamb cutlets with chips & salad. With cool-but-not-cold xinomavro.

Digestif / desert - fruit of course; but also some honey & orange blossom baklava and/or lemon bougatsa with ouzo - an amazing combination, and for me personally, how I prefer to drink ouzo; or some Mastika [from Chios - much lighter than ouzo and almost floral]

Our music is the ocean.


You’ve transported me there. Just finished lunch, but now I’m hungry again :yum:

TWS will be selling this from Thymiopoulos in spring, (available now from Borders Wines :grimacing:)

TWS just listed one of these, it features in the Community tasting next Thursday


That is good to know - thank you. It’s a mystery to me why Greek wine is still relatively niche in this country, although it is certainly developing its fanbase now. There is - as I more “formally” know now - some amazing wine to be had in Greece; I was young and wine-ignorant when I was there so had no clue about choosing wine really. But I chose many some-which-way-and-how there, and certainly do remember many times wondering why retsina was all people thought about with Greek wine. Xinomavro for a start was easy to find pretty much everywhere, and you could tell straightaway it was normally very decent wine. Ditto with assyrtiko. Even the standard simple-wine-by-the-kilo [how it’s measured from the cask] at your bang-ordinary taverna was usually pretty nice. Especially the chilled reds.


Love this! I was an archaeologist in a former (very recent) life and spent my summers from 2014 to 2018 working on various projects in Greece, mostly on Evia and in the north, normally with a month in Athens tacked on either side. The food was always tremendous and heavily influences what I most like to cook now. It’s first on my list of places to go as soon as we’re able to travel again.


Evia is very nice - my GF-at-the-time was from there originally, and we used to go there quite often to her Grandma’s place. But Athens - I could write all day about that place. That was where I lived, and it is an A-mazing city to live in. Like Rome, the sense of place & history-all-around-you there is mind-blowing; and of course a great city to have a lot of fun with the late nights and vivacity-of-life all around you. I go back there as I can, but with a young boy as wife & I now are, Athens is not yet an ideal place for us as a family really - we’re more at the beach & sea phase still, and love that I do too - so that will come later. We were back in Corfu two years ago - perfect for what we wanted; and Skopelos the year before - equally if not more perfect. I really want to get back to Sifnos, probably my personal favourite of all the islands, but it requires a bit more planning with flying into Athens and then getting a ferry out etc, and renting your own place. If lockdown ever ends, that’ll be right at the top of the list though cos our boy will love doing the train to Piraeus and then the ferry to Sifnos via the various islands on the way. As too will I! A lot of very happy memories for me around my time in Athens. Where did you used to stay there? I’m less familiar with the North of Greece, I must admit. What I did see of it though certainly made me want to see more.


I could smell this on the coals while reading this post. Wonderful!

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Yes I loved Evia - definitely one of the less explored areas for tourists! Chalkida is a great city, and I always enjoyed the bus ride there from Athens - especially crossing the bridge over to the island. In Athens I normally stayed with a friend who has a place right at the bottom of Lykavittos, between the hill and Exarcheia - quite a fun area. Though the first time I went I made the mistake of staying on Omonia sq, not the most salubrious (although not as bad as I’d heard from some people). I really need to explore the islands more though - I’ve only been to Evia and Crete, both of which I think are a world away from the much smaller islands. I’ll have to get your tips when that time comes!

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Interesting stuff. Pl. Omonia has always had its reputation, but I only ever used to pass through really. Exarcheia on the other hand also had its reputation, but one which led me to spending a lot of time around there! “Vibrant” at all times, but back in the 90s it was also the focal point of the anarchist groups when they really were quite a force in Greece; I remember fires burning & “disturbances” every November 17 all around Athens every year I was there.

Probably the best gig/concert I’ve ever been to in my life was in that old outdoor theatre at the top of Lykavittos - Bob Dylan in the Summer of 93 or 94 it was; half acoustic and half full-on band. He was amazing that night and even talked to the crowd. How could it not be amazing anyway, with that view of Athens and the moon bright above. Even Bob seemed to take it up a gear.

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Chawanmushi is indeed a set custard, and normally made with dashi, which is fish-based. I was very happy with my prawn-based version :yum:

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