A 20-minute drive south of Heraklion will take you in the heart of the wine region of Crete in a quaint village named Archanes. This village offers many attractions - museums, shops, traditional workshops and cooking classes, and its architecture is well-preserved with many renovated houses and villas for rent. There is a peaceful and cheerful atmosphere to the village with shops, cafes and lovely bistros to eat. Many tourists will make the short trip to Archanes and spend an hour or two with a quick exit. I would suggest you discover this little village a bit longer.
This is where you will find a specialty shop named Bakaliko, where the owners have a unique story. Bakaliko offers a wide range of Cretan specialty products. Susanna (Zsuzsa) and George have sourced some of Crete's unique higher quality products. Olive oils, jams, honeys, nuts, sweets, and much more. Zsuzsa’s cooking is impressive combining local ingredients with a flair of international inspiration. She offers occasional cooking classes and is an avid lover of nature and trekking.
But what is unique about Bakaliko is how it all started. Zsuzsa and her former associate (Agnes) came from Hungary. They started this new adventure about 7 years ago. Zsuzsa and George now run it their own. Their commitment and friendliness make it a joyful experience for those who seek local delicacies and insights into Crete's hidden treasures.
Oh, they also have an impressive list of local wines! George will guide you through his selection and provide his insights of Crete's best. His knowledge for both Cretan and Greek wines is unique. I have met my share of wine professionals in Crete, and spending an evening with George is second to none.
Life is filled with unusual coincidences. We accidentally met in February 2017 while I was meeting with Zacharias Diamantakis at his winery. Both were trekking for a visit (they take part of a group called Walkers of Crete) and it happened to be the same day. We ended up spending the evening in Heraklion as they invited us to a unique screening of a short documentary called “Frozen Ambrosia” made by a Greek Californian film maker on extreme skiing. Yes, there is snow in Greece, and you'll encounter snow-capped mountains in Crete from December to May. Constantine Papanicolaou has also produced a sequel for extreme skiing in Crete called “Crete Arising” to be released in 2019. Here’s the trailer. Quite the scene where snow and sandy beaches mesh in the rugged landscape.
I would offer some advice on the menu as to what to try but it is useless. Well maybe you should try the chocolate soufflé.
Let Zsuzsa impress you with what specialty she may suggest. She changes the menu regularly. Let George guide you through some of Crete's best wines. He knows his Greek wines as well. A large selection. No disappointments here. Quality food, reasonable prices and a unique experience that will encourage you to enjoy Bakaliko and discover Archanes, one of Crete's most charming villages.