When we left you last month, I’d just described how my ideal early morning in Chania at the Domus Renier Boutique Hotel. I’d been for a run around the harbour, and returned back to the hotel for breakfast with my partner. So now, let me describe our breakfast…
The Hotel Courtyard in Chania Old Town
The memories of the coolness of the little courtyard come flooding back. It opens out onto the winding streets of Chania old town under a beautiful historic archway. It’s inscribed with a motto from the Venetian Renier family, who first built this beautiful Chania townhouse all those years ago. I can still hear the gentle sound of water now, and the aromas of the jasmine and basil growing in the courtyard. These are the evocative smells that define a Greek summer. There was even a sprig of oregano laid out on my towel this morning – it’s little attentions to detail like this that make the Domus Renier Boutique Hotel special. It’s not just the history, the luxury rooms and suites, but it’s the smells and feelings too – the Φιλοξενία (filoxenia) – the true spirit of Greek hospitality and warm welcome, that makes you feel right at home straightaway. It’s truly magical.
Fresh Local Ingredients in the Beautiful Hotel Breakfast Room in Chania
We sit at our breakfast table. I gaze down at the beautiful parquet floor in the breakfast room. It’s authentic and historic, just like everything else. A hidden Venetian gem uncovered when they renovated the townhouse into a boutique hotel. Fresh bread is brought to our table. We grasp it. It’s still warm, fresh from the oven. We didn’t realise how hungry we were. There’s crunchy croissants, thyme honey and beautiful homemade orange marmalade. It all looks so good. I order a yogurt with unsalted nuts. A great ‘super food’. I might be on holiday, but I like to keep up with my fitness regime – my morning jog, and a healthy, balanced diet. The yoghurt arrives. It’s not like any of the prepackaged yoghurts we suffer at home. This is fresh. It’s like an awakening for me, my mouth is filled with a rich, nuanced flavor, slightly sour, cool, and light.
Authentic Cretan Breakfast Dishes in Chania
My partner George prefers staka with eggs. He reminds me that he can only really enjoy something like this here, as you need the freshest ingredients. Staka is actually the skin from fresh sheep’s milk. I can’t resist when I see his plate. I have to try some. “A single bite”, I say apologetically. He smiles knowingly. He knows my weakness! A taste of melted cheese and butter explodes on my palate. It’s simply delicious. I break an egg with the tip of my fork. The amber yolk flows forth. I tear off a soft piece of that freshly baked bread and plunge it into the egg yolk, and then dive into the staka. Perfect. But I must leave the rest for poor George!
The lady who serves our breakfast is so friendly. Her name is Stellina. We know we shouldn’t really eat more, but she gently insists we try the pie of the day. She won’t take no for an answer. We relent. When it arrives we are delighted we trusted her judgement. It’s a succulent handmade pastry with local Cretan mizithra cheese and apaki (smoked pork). This is real Cretan food, with fresh ingredients to die for, and I’m sitting here in a beautiful Venetian townhouse in Chania harbour enjoying it. I feel like a princess. “What’s that? Yes Stellina, of course I’d like to try the dessert!”
Dessert by the Hotel’s Expert Professional Chef
It’s a twisted avocado and dark chocolate mousse, with a crunchy almond biscuit. Wow. “Who thought of this?” we ask Stellina. “It’s the magic of the head chef Vassilis Sikalias” she replies with a wry smile, “Vassilis and his assistant Nektaria intend to surprise you every day”. I can hardly wait for what tomorrow might have in store! “I wonder if we can ask him for his recipes?” I say to George. Stellina leans in and whispers conspiratorially, “We can do better. We can arrange you a chef lesson with chef Vassilis. He’ll even take you to the market to buy ingredients”. My eyes light up. A lesson with a professional chef! I can discover some Cretan recipe secrets and try them out when we have to go back home. That’ll be one way to keep the magic of Crete alive when we’re pining for Chania and our next visit to Domus Renier.
Finishing our Hotel Breakfast & Preparing for our Day in Chania
We enjoy our final cups of fresh coffee, feeling wonderfully full. It’s still morning, but everything at Domus Renier Boutique Hotel is an experience in itself. Our suite, the hotel building, the view of Chania harbour, and even breakfast. Now our whole day in this holiday paradise stretches out before us. I wonder what new experience awaits us?