Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Gifts from Crete (Δώρα από τη Κρητη)

The little laughing olive tree
felt a tad homesick for Crete:
"When you come to visit me,
could you bring some Cretan cheese?"

what cretan athenians crave

So I filled up my suitcase
with the best food from my place:
some mizithra and graviera
and a thick slab of malaka.

To fill the gaps in my baggage,
I added a few oranges.
"Oh, thank you very much," she said,
"that'll keep us nicely fed."

And how much do you think I paid
to bring the bounty of my place?
2 kilos each of all that stuff
came to just over 60 (euro-)bucks.

"And when it's finished," I reminded,
"it's time you visited the island.
Which she'll do at summertime
when the weather's warm and fine.

*** *** ***
The above-mentioned cheeses are essential during the Easter period in Cretan cuisine, especially malaka (also referred to as 'tiromalama' by the more modest).

This is triple-A quality malaka (μαλάκα) from the Hondrakis (Χονδράκης) dairy station.
I guess you could call it 'hondromalaka' (χοντρομαλάκα).
If it was made by the Archakis dairy station instead, it would be 'archimalaka.'

For a better explanation of the unmentionable 'malaka', click here. 'hondro' means 'fat', while 'archi' means 'leader'.

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  1. Yes, I was slightly worried when I saw 'the word'.

  2. Mou thimizei ola ta 'dwrakia' pou mas stelnoun k emas apo katw!

  3. maria giasou...diavazw to blog ...ka8e mera...seuxaristw pou me ferneis toso konta sta xania....vaso kafakis..........shmera phga sto makara.....

  4. Γεια σου Βάσω, τι κάνει το χωριό μου???
    Καλό Πάσχα!

  5. ειναι καλα....καλοκαιρι ακομα!!!!!!Βασω.......καλη ανασταση!!!!

  6. όταν ξαναπάς στο Μάκαρα, θύμιασε πάνω στης Ζαμπίας, αν θυμηθείς...

  7. Yummy cheese! Can't believe it is almost time to dye the eggs! Happy Easter, good health and peace!

  8. mapia mou...8umiazw panta....kai afhnw kai 1 ligotero pou mporw na kanw gia sena....einai 2 seires prin to skeftomai panta me eisai gerh...gia th xapitwmenh sou oikogeneia prepei na eisai yperhfanh!!!!!!!!vaso

  9. Mmmmmmm that cheese looks fabulous! (I gave up cheese for Lent, and am enjoying reaquainting myself with cheese this week :) ).

  10. Thanks for you comment about my Athens experience. There is an American school of archaeology that the Greek gov has allowed to work at the Agora for decades now and I was lucky to work there for a year. Amazing place.

  11. Nice, poem...ending a little "malakismeni" the good sense of course!

    I hope I find some source of this cheese until I finally visit Crete..then I'll be a "malako-fagas"!

  12. I love cheese, and I enjoyed reading your earlier linked post. It's very interesting to learn about the different Creten cheeses.