by Irma Havlicek
Online Producer, Powerhouse Museum
One day, my Andros room-mate at the Kantouni Pensione, Meg Dains, invited me to try some treats she had in a small clear plastic container. I couldn’t tell what they were. They were small jubey lumps, dark red in colour.
I put one of the chewy lumps into my mouth and experienced one of the most intense flavour burst sensations I’ve ever had: fragrant, sweet and delicious!
Strangely, I couldn’t identify what I was eating. I think the flavour was simply too intense. Eventually, Meg told me that they were dried strawberries. And of course, once I knew, it seemed perfectly obvious what they were.
On one of my trips to Chora to work at the Archaeological Museum of Andros with Stavros Paspalas (the project’s pottery fineware expert) and Beatrice McLoughlin (the project’s pottery coarseware expert) who were sorting the finds from Zagora, I saw that Beatrice had a bag of the wonderful dried strawberry delights. She told me that the shop which sold them in Chora was on the main street, just a hundred metres or so up the street from the Museum.
So during my lunch break, I made a pilgrimage to the shop to buy some. The proprietress, Antonia Pertes, explained that there had been a rush on them in the last few weeks, and she wondered why. I explained that the Zagora Archaeology Project was in town, and that word had spread through the team about the dried strawberries…. I bought her last 1.5 kilos – to share on Andros and back home in Australia. (Sorry to those who had to wait until she was able to re-order them.)
Back at the Museum, I thought to myself – I really should do a blog post on that shop. But I wanted to feature the dried strawberries – and and the shop was now out of them because I had bought them all.
So I took back my dried strawberries, and my laptop to show Antonia our website, and asked if I could do a post about her lovely shop. She kindly agreed – including putting my dried strawberries back into the jar, and into a bowl for photographs.
Antonia explained that she named her shop after her favourite-in-the-world sweet treat – spelled in English as ‘rodozachari’ (pronounced with the ‘d’ sounding part-way between ‘th’ and ‘d’, and the ‘ch’ pronounced as in ‘Bach’). This translates as ‘rose sugar’ – or, as Antonia described it to me, rose jam or rose marmalade. She said that Greeks usually eat rodozachari by the spoon rather than spreading it on bread or toast as we tend to do with jam or marmalade. Sadly, she was out of stock of it, so I wasn’t able to buy any.
The photographs below give an idea of the cornucopia of delights available from this shop.
4 thoughts on “Strawberry heaven – traditional specialties of Andros”
Many thanks for this – we’ll certainly visit this shop when we’re on Andros in June – it could be a one-stop solution to all our present and gift problems!
Do let us know what you think of the dried strawberries and the rodozachari if you try them – or any other treats you discover there. I’ve got a couple more posts coming up about a cafe and restaurant at Chora, and there will be one on the Kantouni pensione and restaurant (where we stayed during the dig season in October/November last year) – with some shots of the mouth-watering home-stye Greek food we enjoyed there.
Thanks Irma – we know the Kandouni well, we stayed there last year and this year we’ll be staying there for most of June. For many years now we’ve sat on the beach just in front of the Kandouni, using it as our “base camp”, having lunch there most days – we love it and it’s so friendly!
Yes – our experience exactly…. well, except for sitting on the beach out the front, which we didn’t get to do all that often because of our work schedule and also because the weather was cooler when we were there. But we did do it a few times which was fantastic. Aahh, swimming in the Aegean…. We have added an RSS button to make it easy for you to subscribe if you like (upper right of each blog section page).