Tsikoudia production and the spirit of Crete
The wait is over and Tsikoudia production has started in our hood. It is a hustle and bustle with many visitors hanging out at the distillery during the day. The head honcho of the operation, Dimitri, starts very early at five in the morning and often gets only two hours of sleep a night during the few weeks the operation is running.
He is assisted by a younger fellow, Manolis, who shows up much later (of course). Let me stop here for a second…if you have no clue what I am talking about regarding Tsikoudia, check out my previous post Tsikoudia and the signs of things to come first.
There is a charm about this setup, true village life where people come together. The visitors who more often than not bring their own grape mush to be distilled bring food and everybody sits together for a few hours. A few hours of drinking frappe, talking politics or staring at the tiny TV-set in silence together. Oh, and it is not an old men’s club…whole families come and enjoy time together while their share of the greek moonshine is prepared.
I got my share of Tsikoudia goodness as well, right out of the distillery into a big plastic bottle. It is good, fruity and strong…just right for keeping you warm on those cold winter nights to come. But there is more to this than just getting your hands on booze.
The romance of sitting next to a wood-fired still pot, surrounded by rugged but friendly people eating and sharing home-cooked food they brought along, even with a stranger like me, is priceless. You see friendships and family ties that have been around for a long time and you can almost feel that bond. If it has evolved from true care or just out of necessity – that I don’t know, but it is there. It is deep and it feels like the Cretan spirit is still alive…and that is why we love it here.