Tuesday, 11 July 2017

CreteDream (part11)

Travelling with coeliac disease is always a bit challenging, interesting, surprising and terrifying. Before going to Crete I knew coeliac disease is relatively unknown in Crete and Greece. I tried to find information about eating gluten free in there but all I found was few hotels serving also gluten free food, few mentions about local shops that sell also gluten free products and few blog posts about it how someone had made gluten free food for herself in Crete. What if I want to eat out?!

Because of gluten free demands we ended up to book a house with kitchen. I carried some basic gluten free supplies with me all the way from home to Crete. We wanted to avoid the situation I have no food and we have no idea where to buy gluten free products.

I knew from my reading, prejudices and expectations that Cretan people are a bit obsessed with their excellent food and eating well & proper. Eating out frightened me quite much. People with coeliac disease know from the experience that when you go into a restaurant and ask gluten free they often are considered as difficult clients and even rather advised go to somewhere else. Too often I am told they have nothing to me or they tell they have everything for me and then I end up only to notice they service me food with gluten. Fashion weight loosing diets -one of them is to avoid gluten- doesn't help because it makes restaurants and people start to consider it as not so serious matter. It neither is an allergy / allergic reaction you can cope with having some antihistamine meds and eat what ever.

That's why I was really surprised when I showed the translation about the issue to our waitress at the local tavern (gluten free restaurant cards you can get for example from here). It was new to her but she really took it all serious and even investigated more information about it on the internet. I really miss and respect her because of all that she did to arrange me gluten free food at the tavern. That's why I -in practical- ate only in the house we rent and at the local tavern. When I was shopping gluten free I faced similar action. All I faced was helpful staff and local people sometimes even reading the Greek text to me in English.

The local tavern in little village of Pigi is Zorbas. It is a hidden gem like the best of them usually are.

When you drive the road from Rethymno to Arkadi this is the crossing where the bus stops (Rethymno-Kyriana) and from this point you need to dive into the village to find Zorbas. (There is no much parking place and the alleys get soon very narrow.)

There is no sign for Zorbas. But right on the other side of the street are signs for the pharmacy and supermarket. They are just 20 meters far away. Go there. You find Zorbas before them. It is not that one on which fence these signs are fastened to.

Zorbas has no sign to that direction.
The sign points to the village.

You recognize it from this beautiful outdoor area under the trees on the square.

The trees lay the shadow over the tables...

...and they have been decorated in a beautiful way.

Actually the whole place is decorated in
 a beautiful and talent way!

There are couches and chairs around different sized tables.

They have also tables inside.

You would not mind about rain
if you could eat in this kind of place.

It all is very inspiring...

...with surprising details...

...in surprising places.

It calls you in and out;
as you like and prefer.

It is warm and welcoming place...

...which service is excellent also for coeliacs. Just let them know what you can have and what not. Let them serve you, they really can do it.

What I learnt in Crete was that their obsession to their excellent Mediterranean food and diet is not selfish nor pride you may face elsewhere. The point of the obsession is to E A T well and proper. When they heard you can not they did all that you could experience the joy of eating well and proper. My prejudice was right but so wrong. I could not even dream abut it what kind of warmth, kindness and friendliness is connected to Cretan food. Eating has always been a problem to me but for the 1st time in my life I experienced a whisper of it what *E A T I N G   W E L L* could possibly mean in happy psychological way around a big table surrounded by old and new friends in a strange place far away from home. There I felt safe despite it was not cooked in MyVeryOwnKitchen. I nether got any problems despite I ate there almost every night in June 2017.

I don't say Zorbas is the only place who can do this but I really encourage coeliacs to go Crete and seek their own LovelyLittleTavern where they can find caring and loving staff for your special food diets. They don't advertise it. Perhaps because good service comes naturally, they don't need to write it up on the wall what they do and don't. They do it all. Service is a part of their eating out culture. Best of Cretan food obsession is that they really need to have something for you!

Once again: Thank you MyDearTavernZorbas about it all! Miss you!

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