Bright blue sky, whitewashed houses, electric pink bougainvilleas and the dry, hot sun, yup, Greece is exactly how you picture it (as in, just as wonderful as you remember it from the movie version of Mamma Mia!). Or, at least, the island of Santorini is that amazing.
Santorini exceeded all my dreams of Greece, and, in the five days that we visited (with my dear friend, her Austrian fiance, and my sister), we traversed the island, zipping around in a tiny car from rocky red beaches to picturesque towns.
Santorini is a volcanic island, its ring shape formed by an eruption and collapse of the volcano thousands of years ago. Our little stucco cave house looked out onto the caldera with the most stunning volcanic island rising out of the abyss and some of my fondest memories of Santorini are sitting on our balcony soaking up the warm sun, then sipping wine by candlelight late into the night.
But, despite those views, Greece’s food is really its crown jewel. The cuisine echoes the climate: the juicy tomatoes, cool cucumbers, and salty feta in a Greek salad seem somehow more amazing under the hot Mediterranean sun. We had simple breakfasts of Greek yogurt and honey, light lunches of fresh vegetables, and long, luxurious dinners of roasted eggplant and bulgur salads and it all stuck with me long after the tan had faded.
After dinner, we'd indulged in all kinds of sweets, mostly because there was a bakery near our house and they had a full assortment (and we felt the need to taste test). My favorite was the baklava with light layers of filo dough drenched in honey and stuffed with nuts and these Baklava Filo Cups are inspired directly by that bakery. This is everything you expect from baklava but fit into a small cup. It's the classic sweet simplified but still so amazing, just like the island of Santorini itself.
All photography and food styling by Sonja and Alex Overhiser of A Couple Cooks.