Only 20km from the city centre is Afandou village, one of the oldest villages in Rhodes. It attracts locals and tourists mainly for its famous, cleanest beach on the island, and the only golf course on Rhodes. The beach is a 4km long stretch of pebbles where one end leads to the Afandou caves and the adjacent Traounou beach whereas the other side leads to the Kolimpia gulf. The name Afandou derives from the word “afantos” which means invisible, hence the low position of the village which was built out of sight from the sea front in order to prevent the pirates from spotting it.
The Afandou beach is never crowded due to its length, and offers all kinds of water sport facilities as well as deckchairs, showers and changing huts. The sea is deep and crystal clear with strong currents at times. Traounou beach owes its name to the male goats (trayos) which visit the area to quench their thirst by drinking sea water. It’s located on the left side of the stretch with a significant large cave which is used for camping and barbeques. The beach also hosts many music festivals with well-known Greek bands and performers.
The locals are very friendly, openhearted people with a strong characteristic accent. There are cafes, bars, restaurants and stores with fresh local produce. A highlight is a local folklore exhibition with handmade crafts and carpets of excellent quality. During August a religious festival is held in the courtyard of the village’s church Panayia (Our lady) Katholiki. The church walls are decorated with awe-inspiring paintings originating from the 17th century.
Most local dishes contain fish and seafood but there are some local mezedes (small portions, Greek appetizers) which are also worth tasting. One of their best meze is pitaroudia which are small patties with chickpeas, lots of onion, tomato and herbs.
This is one of the most famous mezedes in Rhodes. They are best served with a tzatziki dip. Pitaroudia are easy to make, tasty and a great idea for fasting periods, or vegetarians. Chickpeas have a delightful, nutty flavour and are very versatile.
Recipe for tasty chickpea meze:
Pitaroudia (or revithokeftedes) chickpea patties
¼ kilo chickpeas soaked overnight
1 big onion
3 spring onions finely chopped
1 big ripe tomato
A handful of finely chopped parsley
1 tsp of finely chopped dill
1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh peppermint leaves (or dry)
½ tsp of baking soda
Plain flour (just enough to form nice patties, about a cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation time: 15 min
Servings: makes 15 patties
After soaking the chickpeas, rub them to discard the peels or skins. Put in blender: chickpeas, onions and tomato. Blend well and add the rest of ingredients. Leave the flour for the end and add as much as you need to help you form patties (they will be a little sticky). It would be better to leave the mixture in the fridge for ½ hour. Form patties and fry them in a little olive oil over medium to high heat until they obtain a lovely golden colour. Place on kitchen paper before serving in case they have absorbed too much oil. For a twist add some crumbled feta. Serve with tzatziki and enjoy!
Pictures and story: ©Georgia Gerardis 2012