Friday 15 August | 2014
Monasteries are beautiful places, usually adorned with elaborate tiles, stairways, ancient bells and a clever little garden. The Arkadi Monastery in Crete has all of these interesting things, along with grand stone arches, hallways and a centrepiece chapel.
Once you’re done exploring here, you can head to nearby Rethymnon to continue.
Gaia’s Flavours – that is what the sign says. This is the proud result of almost an hour searching for this little treasure online, relying on the ancient arts of navigation and the Greek Alphabet to finally translate its beautiful name. Lucky it is much easier to recognise along the main streets of Rethymno, Crete.
Gaia is of course Mother Earth, the Greek goddess and creator of the universe. We can be very grateful for her gifts of wheat and water, which Gaia’s Flavours has turned into mountains of traditional breads, biscuits and pastries in their beautiful shrine of natural stone, rustic wood, mosaic tiles and copper lined lampshades.
Homemade lemonade and Illy coffee are served here, which is good news if you’re not a fan of the traditional Greek brew (similar to Turkish coffee with grounds in the bottom of the cup).
And next to the gelato is the loukoumades station – where you can order freshly made donuts, sprinkled with sesame, bathed in honey and dusted with cinnamon. Honey and donuts? Our suspicions were thrown out the window. Greek honey is really something else, and loukoumades are utterly scrumptious.
The bakery section is vast, and requires great resolve to choose between the sweet and savoury breads, filled rolls, chocolate and custard croissants, a divine range of soft chocolate and nut based cookies, cheese and vegetable pies, trays of shortbread stuffed with nuts and spices, muffins, milk pie… what? I’m sorry, I’ll stop now!
A favourite is the simple buckwheat flatbread with creamy feta, green olives and oregano, offering so much flavour for so few ingredients. It is one of several flatbread style choices, but there is also a cabinet full of classic filled rolls and baguettes. In fact at γaίaς γεύσεις, there is a cabinet full of everything.
Being a tourist from abroad is wonderful excuse to try everything you’ve never seen before, and so I can comment that the croissants are legitimate, the chocolate fudge cookies are the best, one shortbread is definitely not enough, and do make your way back late after dinner for one of the mini chocolate dipped ice-creams in the freezer. It will be the best €0.60 you spend all day.
An earthy yet chic bakery that will steal your heart.