“Apokries” is certainly one of the most colorful and amazing festive times to be in Greece! It’s carnival time! Imagine one “big street party” when people of all ages dress up in full costume, eat, drink and go to parties!
Clean Monday or Kathari Deutera, is a bank holiday, that marks the end of carnival celebrations, inviting all people to leave behind the “sinful attitudes” of the previous 3 weeks, associated with the festivities and non-fasting food. It signifies the first day of Lent, the 40 days before Easter, and it is celebrated with picnics and outdoor excursions, building and flying kites “painting” the sky with color, and of course with delicious –yet– fasting food!
Culinary Delights on Clean Monday
That day elaborate dishes based on seafood, like octopus, cuttlefish, squids, shrimps and various shellfish, like mussels are served. It is well worth trying the traditional Greek bean soup (fasolada), the black-eyed bean salad with onion, lemon and parsley, the grape-leaf wrapped rice balls called “dolmades” and any kind of pickled vegetables and olives -along with some Greek wine, ouzo or tsipouro! They all deliver flavor and goodness in each bite!
The most traditional dip, taramosalata, is a five-star super-satisfying and savory appetizer that accompanies everything perfectly! It is made of the salted and cured roe from carp or cod fish, beaten with olive oil, lemon juice and bread crumbs. Ideally, you spread it on the “lagana,” a special kind of unleavened flatbread, baked only on that day – a combination that really works!
As for dessert, “halva” is served, a delicious treat made from tahini (sesame paste), and sugar, nuts or chocolate – simply irresistible and nutritious.
So, should you find yourselves in Greece on Clean Monday, enjoy the outdoor activities, all the dancing and all the really extraordinarily simple and insanely delicious food!