experience suggestion for our Youphoria Sea View
and Youphoria Beachfront Villa
By Vassilis Gialamarakis
|Yiannis Baladakis. A real character, and rare personality|
It all started here in Chania where I grew
up. Late 80’s , we were all young lads crazy with activities like, snorkeling,
fishing, sea urchin picking. We even had our perfect summer day. That would be
to drive to Falasarna beach for a swim (those days there were hardly any people
and no sun beds at all).
After a quick swim in the crystal clear
turquoise waters, we would then dive and
collect sea urchins on the rocks next to the beach.
We would then spend a good hour under the
sun to cut them open and extract the divine fresh caviar. Lunch would be followed at the Sunset
restaurant at Sfinari beach meeting our friends and restaurant owners Giannis
and Eleni Baladakis.
Secret cove just before Sfinari. Typical
Cretan shoreline with volcanic rocks and Oleanders
The menu was fixed. The fruits of our labors
(fresh sea urchin salad- no longer exists really) and
definitely Kakavia fish soup, Greek salad and of course Retsina. Now we
add stuffed cuttlefish on the barbeque.
|Cuttle fish on the BBQ|
After the feast and the wine we just sleep under
the tamarisk trees on the beach there.
Every time we had friends staying with us
we would just take them with us to share our “perfect” day at sea.
|The famous Cretan Dittany (Oreganum Dittany) The rocks over the restaurant are full of it|
Years later when I was called to show our
hotel guests “ the real Crete” I just thought that I would just take
people there and do the same thing. Of
course diving for sea urchins was not always feasible but the whole day
experience was a huge success mainly for the authenticity of it all.
We always visit a nearby Hellenistic
archaeological site of the ancient Falasarna. A real must see place (open from
0900 to 1500) and with signs placed you get essential info about it. There is
also a new app that gives you simulation of the ancient city.
Driving south to the isolated, beachside
village of Sfinari (20 minutes) where the Baladakis family will serve a lunch
of fresh local fish, Kakavia (fish soup), organically produced vegetables and
plenty of village style wine known as Marouvas.
This is old Cretan farmers wine produced only in Chania from the local
grape Romeiko, an acquired taste really resembling a sherry type wine.
Definitely worth trying and in my experience it grows on you.
|Table on the water at Sunset restaurant. The actual restaurant is at the back so you feel like dining alone in nature. |
Also, it is the end of the road so no cars and perfect for families with young
The Baladakis family will encourage you to
watch the food being prepared in the kitchen. Everything (except the beer) is
produced locally - the vegetables from the gardens, seaweed from the rocky
shores, fresh fish caught by the son Nikos, tomatoes and cucumbers from the
Salt is gathered from the rocks by Yiannis
( I get my sea salt from him each year). The goats cheese on the Greek salad is
made daily from wife Eleni.
and olive oil are from their olive groves.
After June you find on the menu - boiled
greens (Vlita - Amaranthus blitum) which
is our definition of summer greens. Try them with loads of lemon olive oil and
|The remains of a world war two sea mane that was washed out on Sfinari beach , still there.|
The lunch and the goodbye are always long
but our guests agree this is their favorite day!
Kakavia fish soup is my definition of
Not an everyday dish for Cretans, but
produced traditionally by fishermen on the boat or between fishing sessions to
use up the left overs of the catch such as very small fish, eel small crayfish
that could not be sold. A very rich taste with loads of olive oil and lemon,
this dish will take your mind away. Always served with Cretan barley Rusk- not
bread as the fishermen were away for days and bread would not last on boats.
|Dusky Grouper is granted as one of the best fish to make Kakavia soup with|
Alongside the soup you get the fish with
vegetables and remember not to order many starters as Kakavia will fill you up.
This is a meal to be shared amongst group of large party definitely represents
the real taste of Crete. For many years I had set myself a hosting challenge,
that none of my hotel guests leaves Crete without experiencing my special Falasarna fish day.
Falasarna beach is only 7 min drive from
Youphoria sea view villas and Sfinari village is 25 min.
Cost. With Kakavia soup you do not buy the
soup but the fish by the kilo. You choose what you want to eat and pay around
50 euros per kilo. Depending on the group size allow around 200 to 300grams per
person or ask them for help.