Peter and I are not romantic. Cute, yes. Romantic? Not so much. In our 20 years together there has never been rose petals sprinkled on the bed, feeding each other caviar by candlelight or long bubble baths with champagne. Though, while traveling through Santorini, Greece there was an opportunity to get a little romance on and I wasn’t about to let it slip by.
Maybe we could be converted to passionate lovey doveys while thousands of miles from home.
On the Greek island of Santorini, our shot at romance was while having a sunset dinner on the patio of an acclaimed restaurant overlooking the caldera at sunset, in a country known for having some of the best food in the world. The caldera is a volcanic cauldron that was created by an explosion thousands of years ago. Hotels overlooking its beauty charge premium fees and fine dining restaurants offer prime patio seating with a perfect view of it.
Assyrtico Wine Restaurant is one of these restaurants with a stunning view, delicious Greek food and was also the perfect place to attempt a romantic dinner overlooking the Santorini caldera.
Assytico is located right on the pedestrian caldera walkway in Fira and we arrived about an hour before sunset to partake in a special degustation dinner, pairing their excellent cuisine with the fine wines that Santorini is known for.
We started the evening with an appertif of Assyrtiko Greek sparkling wine. Prior to taking a sip, we clinked our glasses, toasting to sharing new travel experiences together in Greece.
This night was starting out very sweet and with a high chance of romance.
The dry brut was served with Assyrtico’s house made bread with walnuts and a Greek yogurt with smoked paprika and herbs.
Next came the Selladia Boutari, a wine that isn’t produced every year, only when they believe the grapes are good enough to make a quality wine. We got lucky that 2013 was a good year. This was paired with the Assyrtico’s leafy salad of smoked trout, three colored quinoa, oil and lemon sauce and scented with lemongrass. A crisp, fresh and delicious blend.
We continued drinking the same wine as the Saganaki cheese was served. My favorite. Assyrtico uses aged Gruyere cheese from Mytilini island, then wrap it in a pastry crust and served with a chutney of dried Greek fruits marinated in Vin Santo.
There is not a thing wrong with eating fried cheese, especially this one.
The next wine to be poured was the Kouloura Rose and it was paired with the fava purée with a mousse of smoked pork, pickled onions, capers and a sage scented oil. Santorini’s fava purée is different than I expected, because their beans are smaller, yellow and they cook down easier. The pork mousse that topped this puree was a fluffy egg white foam and gave the fava a smoky flavor while the capers gave it saltiness and the hint of orange added a refreshing twist.
A creative, modern blend of a traditional Greek dish.
During this course I asked the server a question in regards to the dish and Peter interjected with “more importantly, who is winning the World Cup right now?”. Not very romantic. USA was losing to Germany. Double romance kill.
The main dish was a tender pork fillet accompanied with an orange-scented fava puree and a sauce made with sour cherries and the Mavrotragano wine that it was paired with. This was my favorite wine, a blend of mandilaria and mavrotragano grapes.
The perfect blend.
As dessert was served with glasses of Vin Santo, we saw many people standing along the pedestrian path of the Fira caldera waiting for the sunset, but we weren’t budging.
We had a prime viewing location.
Dessert was a Greek version of cheesecake, a mousse of katiki cheese on Cretan rusk bread and topped with sweet cherry marmalade. The lack of sweetness that you would typically find in many American cheesecakes was welcoming in this creamy dessert.
Halva was also served, which is a traditional Greek dessert made of iced mousse. This creative version had hazelnut cocoa powder, a carrot-ginger sauce and was topped with a homemade honey-nut-sesame tuille.
A fabulous introduction to my very first halva.
…and then the sunset never came. Apparently, that occasionally happens in Santorini.
Even though the famous Santorini caldera sunset evaded us, it was hard not to feel just a little bit of romance while overlooking the cauldron, with the yachts zipping by and leaving their wakes on a perfect 75 degree evening.
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Directions: Once in Fira, park near the main Cathedral, near Hotel Atlantis. This will be at one end of Fira. Reach the pedestrian street of the caldera, then starting from the church, always with the caldera on your left hand side, walk about 100 meter and Assyrtico will be the large white building on your right. The doorway is on the first floor, but you will need to walk up the stairs into the restaurant.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Assyrtico Wine Restaurant, but all the words I write come straight from my, sometimes distorted, mind. Just as it should be.