On my last visit to Pyrgos, a village on one of the highest spots of Santorini, I was, to my delight, invited by Penelope to taste her traditional cooking, in Penelope’s tavern, and today, I finally got the chance to visit her.
Walking through the cobblestone alleys and the whitewashed houses of Pyrgos, I reached the main square, in the shadows of the iconic steeples.
There, Penelope welcomes her guests with shots of ouzo, suggesting the dishes of the day and her renowned specialties. Her cooking is based on local produce, fresh ingredients, and recipes handed down to her by her mother and grandmother.
Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen with her and see firsthand what makes her food famous around the island. In her tiny kitchen, this woman does wonders.
What really stuck with me at first is the lack of “fancy” utensils. With just simple gadgets- a spoon, a pan, a couple of bowls- she managed to whip up her signature, mouthwatering tomato balls in just a few minutes. Simple food, along with her love of cooking and her warm hospitality is the secret to her success.
It’s one thing to hear about the unique taste of the products of Santorini, and another to taste them – prepared in the authentic, traditional manner by a true Santorinian.
The difference is mind-blowing, and you can feel the genuine spirit of Santorini in your palate, and that is what I felt, the genuine, century old Santorinian brio embodied in sweet, kind Penelope.
If your steps ever bring you up to the village of Pyrgos, keep your appetite at full blast, and look for Penelope’s Taverna; her delicacies will definitely reward you for the wait!
Her dishes are based on what is fresh in the market that day. Any dish she suggests will not let you down. The meatballs and tomato balls are most definitely recommended.