Cooking lessons from Ikaria

The music begins just as the feast reaches a crescendo outside the whitewashed, minuscule Orthodox church. Empty plates pile on long tables, fingers greasy, plastic bottles of homemade ruby-red wine flowing freely.

With a belly full of stewed goat, I’m pulled onto the dance floor in front of a trio of violin, acoustic guitar, and wide-bellied bouzouki. We link hands in a circle and spin, and I struggle to stay upright while matching the intricate footwork of my dance partners.

Called a panigyri, it is one of dozens of church festivals held each year on Ikaria, the only thing approaching a nightlife on the sleepy Greek island.


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