Kafeneio tou Galani
In Naxos, a small head village of sublime beauty Chalki has its own distinct character formed by the old neoclassical mansions with their roof tiles, the characteristic balconies adorned with beautiful balustrades and the paved courtyards, evidence of affluence of few when life in other villages was hard. Thanks to its position at the center of the adjacent villages’ road network, the village of Chalki prospered and was a significant commercial hub at the time.
Located next to a stream surrounded by tall plane-trees that a listed little elegant bridge in continuation of the public rural road crosses, Chalki, enveloped in a scenery of a few small charming green vegetable gardens irrigated by the stream’s flowing waters, is nowadays a habitual stop where thousands of tourists on their way to Filoti and Apeirathos villages take a break in order to visit Vallindras distillery where the famous Kitron Liqueur is made and to stretch their legs for a while wandering around Chalki’s narrow alleyways.
Galanis’s Kafeneio (Galanis’s coffee house, Kafeneio tou Galani in Greek) is situated in the middle of the main street of the village. In 1990 Antonis Salteris and his wife Katerina succeeded Markos Lambadakis, owner of the coffee house since German occupation. Kyr Markos (kyr, added before the name of an old men, is a way to salute or address him in a respectful way, an informal word) used to make heavenly cheeses but -most important- he was the one who established kataifi (thin-strand pastry stuffed with coarsely chopped nuts, almonds or walnuts drenched in syrup) and galaktomboureko (custard-filled phyllo pie drenched in syrup) as the signatory sweets of this place.
In the summer, the “Kafeneio tou Galani” takes over the sidewalk across the street since locals sit on the narrow sidewalk or on the marble steps of the houses near-by and drink their ouzo watching people passing by.
A few steps away, on a slab-paved alley protected by the thick shadow of a vine visitors can enjoy mousaka and keftedakia (the Greek style meat balls) prepared by kyra Katerina (kyra, added always before the name of an old married woman, is a way to address or salute her and translates to great respect before her, an informal word). Have a chat with the coffee-house keepers if you have the chance, they are people of sterling character!