It’s hard to know where to start in describing the experience we had with Maria. To put it simply, we had
an incredible, activity packed, 17 day honeymoon in the Greek Islands and my husband and I unanimously agreed that our dinner with Maria and her husband, Nikos was the highlight of our entire trip. If you are the type of traveler who likes to learn something about the people, the history, and the culture of the place where you re vacationing, and someone who loves food, I cannot recommend this experience more. It was my birthday and my husband wanted to set up something special as a surprise. I was dressed and ready for dinner at a restaurant when Maria pulled up in her car to pick us up. I had no idea where we were going or what to expect. She drove us to her house, chatting along the way about who we were, what brought us to Syros, etc. Their house is adorable and the table was set up outside on their terrace, which was lovely and quaint with views of the water (a very romantic setting). What really struck me immediately about Maria was her passion for food and not just for the act of cooking, but the ingredients, the history and culture, the medicinal properties of certain herbs she incorporated, etc. This woman knows food and the way she explained everything to us in detail made the food (which was mind blowingly delicious) that much more special. With each course, Maria explained where the ingredients came from (almost everything was native to Syros), why she made it the way that she did, and often what the history behind the dish was and why it was important to Greek culture. We learned so much! Between courses, Maria and her husband disappeared into their kitchen as they prepared the next round of food, which made for this really nice balance between a romantic and intimate experience for my husband and I and an informative, intellectually stimulating food class.
The main course was a veal dish that we learned was an ancient recipe that had originally been found on the wall of a cave dwelling and yet was still prepared by Greeks today–it was delectable. The evening ended with a chocolate souffle cake complete with candles that Maria made to celebrate my birthday. As if that wasn’t enough, she also presented me with a gift–a special facial oil to use at night that repairs and rejuvenates the skin (it’s amazing..I’ ve been using it ever since!). The cherry on top of the perfect dinner was that Maria and Nikos sat with us at the end and we had an amazing conversation about life, current events, cultural differences between the US and Greece, travel, etc etc. We so enjoyed getting to know them and felt like we were friends who had been invited over for dinner. The feeling we had when Maria dropped us off that evening was something like that feeling you get when you’ve just discovered this amazing secret that you know most others will never know about or have the opportunity to experience and you’re just so thankful that you were lucky enough to somehow be let in on the secret. I’m writing this review so that YOU can be let in on the secret. If you re in Syros, please do yourself a favor and go spend some time with Maria and Nikos. You will learn so much and you will leave feeling more knowledgeable about the amazing island of Syros, the people who call it home, and the food grown/raised there. We can only hope we will someday be lucky enough to find ourselves back in the company of Maria and Nikos, enjoying another incredible meal. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.