An evening in breathtaking surroundings full of pleasure, good conversation and inspiring company…
...an evening with Susi from Living Senses Paleochora!
To date, the small village of Anidri, not far from Paleochora, is known for its picturesque gorge and the local Cafenio Sto Scolio. But since this year, there is another culinary highlight that we would like to recommend with great pleasure and conviction – a cooking session with Susi from Living Senses Paleochora.
Here is our review…enjoy!
“Are we going to the old school for dinner?” I hear my mum asking.
She is visiting for the first time in almost 3 years and we are in the car, on the way to Anidri. Before the world changed, we only made the trip to the small village outside Paleochora when we went to the cafénio Sto Scolio for dinner.
But along with a few other things, the intention of today’s journey has changed also.
“No,” I say, and can sense her disappointment. “Where we are going today is at least as delicious and there is a very unusual advantage,” I continue, looking into an astonished pair of eyes. “Today, will be cooked just for us, and we even get to participate!”
A few moments later, not far from the Cafénio Sto Scolio, we reach our parking space. We walk a few steps towards a house that already looks very inviting from the outside. On the way to the entrance, we meet three other women, unknown to us, who obviously have the same goal.
I hear them talking in English and briefly experience a moment of disappointment. My mother doesn’t speak English and I’m expecting an evening in which my translation services will be needed. Yet I was expecting something a little more quiet. As we all know, things always turn out the way they are supposed to, so I dismiss the thought and enter Susi and Phil’s place, full of excitement, curiosity and appetite.
The first impression
The entire house, with its cosy furnishings and the terrace exploding in all kind of green tones, immediately spreads a welcoming feeling. Obviously, everyone present can sense this as much as I can, because when we meet on the terrace for the first time for an official welcome and introduction, it feels like we’ve known each other for ages.
6 women. 3 from Germany, with moderate English skills and 3 from England, for whom German is still a foreign language. We now know each other by name and immediately agree that we are looking forward to our evening together.
What unites us, apart from the resonating feeling of hunger, is above all the joy of being initiated into the art of Greek cooking. On the menu are tzatziki, dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), cabbage salad and moussaka (vegetarian and for meat fans). And, together with us, Susi will prepare all this delicious food.
About the hostess
Susi, as she tells us, is living on Crete and in Paleochora for more than 30 years. Initially as a summer guest, in a tent on the sandy beach, and a few years later all year round and in a permanent residence, she has practised almost every conceivable job here, learned to speak and write the language and, of course, got to know and love Cretan cuisine.
Without wishing to offend her, I would say that Susi is a Cretan bedrock. Anyone who has the pleasure of meeting her and would like to know more about life in the Cretan community will find her an authentic person to talk to, who has many other talents and abilities besides her cooking skills.
Praise, on the other hand, is not particularly important to her, so let’s move on quickly…
How it went on…
After we all have our drinks in hand and a schedule in mind, it’s straight to the knives, peelers, boards and bowls. We all can’t wait to finally get to work and as it happens, each of us has different preferences.
One finds fulfilment in peeling potatoes, another prefers to grate cucumbers and while even a passionate garlic masher can be found, I limit myself to what I do best: capturing moments.
From then on, connected with my camera, I capture all the action for future generations, except one small moment (in which I hold a cheesecloth through which the sheep’s yoghurt is strained).
While everyone goes about their tasks, Susi keeps an eye on everything, answers questions, gives useful life and kitchen tips, heats up the pots and pans and does it all with so much joy and ease that cooking happens as if it were a matter of course.
From my point of view, it is also precisely this easiness that characterizes the entire evening. After a few hours, I notice that my translator services are hardly in demand, and it is almost a bit magical to watch the participants in their floatingly hustle.
As if in passing, recipes are written down and we all agree that there should be a cookbook à la Susi. Next winter is coming for sure and if you want to pre-order a copy, drop us a message!
We learn that preparing moussaka is like preparing a 3-course meal and although I don’t really want to believe it at first, it turns out that…
Susi has not exaggerated. Judging by the amount of dishes to be washed, I would even argue that the preparation is comparable to a 4-course meal.
What grows at the same pace as the plates to be washed is the outrageously delicious aroma that inevitably spreads across the entire terrace.
Although we are all still excited and curious about the recipe of the individual dishes, it is clear, by the time we prepare the béchamel, that the joy of eating our dishes is much greater than the desire to write down the recipes for them.
Because some things cannot be explained…
My responsibilities are also suffering a little. Admittedly, I could blame it on the lack of sunlight that the last steps of our journey through the favourite Greek recipe book are no longer captured, because after all, it is already dusk as we expectantly set the table.
In fact, however, there are no pictures of the final result of all our efforts, because I think it is only fair to let anyone interested experience this moment of happiness for oneself.
Of course, I have already cooked myself. Alone and also with friends. And yet this evening was full of small and big moments that not only invited us to enjoy, but also to wonder.
νόστιμο – nóstimo – delicious
This was not only the case with every single dish we prepared today. But also the company, the conversations and the entire atmosphere. And so an absolute wholehearted recommendation goes out to everyone who wants to experience something special during their stay in Paleochora.
And for all those who have already enjoyed a cooking session with Susi, please share your experiences with us in the comments.