The Shrove Monday table in my father’s house is strongly etched in my memory. This day was always clothed in the mantle of a gourmet, but relaxed formality, elements that I do not remember coexisting in any other celebration.

Our Athenian neoclassical in Kyriakou Square (now Victoria) was open that day to friends and no special invitation was needed to come. From 12 o’clock onwards the buffet was laid and “continuous fire”.

On the plates the goodies of the whole world! The stews were limited to boiled shrimps and octopus, accompanied by “ersatz Russian” (as my grandmother used to call it), where instead of mayonnaise there was lemon whipped like cream. Now you will tell me what interests you about my own memories. Just take them as an introduction to my suggestions for this year’s Shrove Monday.

So pay great attention to the wines and arrange with your fisherman in time to get all the seafood goodies. Fresh shellfish and seafood that you will enjoy in their simplest form, raw with lemon juice, barely boiled shrimp.

As for their wine partner, how about a special blend from the vineyard in the Lilandio field? “Beach” by F Foivos Papastratis, Assyrtiko and Muscat from 30 year old vines with mild vinification.

An impressive expression of the island terroir of Evia, robust, elegantly aromatic with salinity and minerality… Alternatively we are transported to France and a fine, sharp Chenin blanc Clau de Nell 2018 (for those who remember the late Anne Claude Leflaive….).

Rich aromatic and buttery mouth with acidity and minerality will come to bind with shellfish but also shrimp and crayfish.

For those who insist on Greek, I would of course choose a Santorini from our own vineyard.

Choose from the PDO labels: Afoura-Anhydrous winery, Kavalieros-Ktima Sigala, Enalia-Gavala Winery, Skytali-Hatzidaki, Thalassiti-Gaia Winery, Mysterio-Artemis Karamolegos, Santorini-Venetsanos winery, Pure-Volcanic slopes winery-Argyros, Irini- Santowines.

Strong confrontations

An excellent fasting food, which for me is completely connected with Clean Monday, is the honeyed and crispy brik. Such a drink is properly accompanied only with chilled vodka or with an also chilled tsipouro without anise, such as Idoniko by Kostas Lazaridis or the Heffebrand lees spirit of the Lost Lake distillery. The table cannot miss pickles, meze perio, as long as they are well made. How about a fragrant, spicy, special ouzo from Avantes Distillery in Evia? And of course, the empress of the day, lacy, airy white tarama salad, which calls for champagne alongside, as Hugh Johnson suggests in his guide.

Served in crystal white wine column glasses, the modern retsina is unquestionably the wine of the day! He was born and raised for these snacks! Discover the new resins awarded in international white wine competitions! They deserve more than our attention. They deserve our support not only because they are a Greek product with a traditional name, but also because they have evolved from a few good producers into a wonderful wine, rejecting the “resinia” of the past: Tear of the Pine from Assyrtiko and Foam from Roditis of the Kehri Winery. Retsina from Savvatiano by Asimina Fragou, Tetramythos from Roditis, Pitys Ritinitis from Assyrtiko from Troupi winery.