Today is another special day in Greece and another ARGΙA (αργία – a day off work for most offices and institutions).
If you are a vegetarian, KATHARA DEVTERA (Καθαρά Δευτέρα – Clean Monday) is your day. On the other hand, if you don’t like seafood, you may be culinary disappointed.
In Greece, this is the beginning of fasting period when no meat, no dairy products and no eggs are allowed. Nothing that consists of animal blood or arrives from the animals that have blood will be consumed today or for the next 40 days if you are more orthodox about the whole tradition.
On a day like this, many Chania citizens shop in AGORA – the biggest and the oldest Municipal Market in town, built in 1911. They go there for olives, halva, octopus, shellfish and any other local specialties. They eat and fly kites! That’s how it is celebrated here.
FRESH OCTOPUS FROM THE LOCAL MARKET:
OLIVE Or PEPPER?
I’m really into all those customs so I couldn’t miss my shopping too. Excluding the purchase of a kite (no wind and rain look like no fun to me) and shrimps (already in the fridge), I bought:
LAGANA (λαγάνα) – it is a must to have this special bread on your table, usually baked only today! Look at all those loaves:
TARAMOSALATA (ταραμοσαλάτα) – it is a dip made of fish roe, mixed with mashed potatoes or bread crumbs, lemon juice and olive oil. It has this pink color and it is pretty salty!
VOLVOI (βολβοί) – they are one of my favorite. They look like tiny onions and are usually prepared as pickles. I managed to find an olive oil version which is a bit lighter and less salty.
ELIES (ελιές/olives) – there were so many, I couldn’t decide. I took the ones stuffed with almonds and red pepper. We still have a jar of black ones at home.
PIPERIES (πιπεριές) – peppers. For today I chose the ones that are green, tiny and hot and red, big, marinated ones.
LOUBINA (λούμπινα) – kind of yellow beans. To be really honest with you, this is the first time I saw it and tried it. They tasted very good, a bit like raw beans. Well, I risked it and bought a small bag…in a worst-case scenario, I will be the only one to consume them;)
GARIDES (γαρίδες/shrimps) – tiny and already peeled. ..version for the lazy housewife;)
I left agora loaded with all those tasty, fasting products…and called my friends to join us for the meal. Fasting does not mean you are going to be hungry after all!
Here, they are, our specialties of Clean Monday:
VOLVOI, LOUBINA & TARAMOSALATA:
PIPERIES & ELIES :
SHRIMPS (with the neighbor’s lemon)