James Chatto wrote from Greece

We fired up the barbecue about half past six, building a fire of dry sticks then banking it carefully with chunks of olive wood charcoal. There is still one man in the village who makes his own charcoal: he’s an old friend and sells us a sack every summer. The island is tinder dry at this time of year but the old brick barbecue pit I built years ago is well sheltered and the few crackling sparks from the charcoal had nowhere to go.

Once the charcoal was white we spread the coals across the pan, fanned it to a quick glow and started the barbecue with baby zucchinis and thickly sliced targets of raw onion, all liberally drizzled with salt and our own olive oil. They soon began to brown and blister and were removed to a bowl. Next came lamb chops – one of the small but well-fed local lambs, the chops still fringed with plenty of fat. In honour of the occasion, I had added a little Ontario maple syrup to the marinade of olive oil, wine vinegar, mustard, rosemary, oregano and smoked paprika. It helped the marinade stick to the chops which were soon sizzling over the coals.

We took the meat and vegetables up to the terrace and ate them as the twilight thickened over the olive groves around us and turned the colour of the Ionian sea from blue to silver-grey. The lights of Albania, two miles away across the strait, began to twinkle. Just to boost the Canadian content, I put on a CD of Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark and we toasted Canada, Anita Stewart and the World’s Longest Barbecue in a cold fresh local rose wine that tastes faintly of strawberries, bought from the barrel in a village at the foot of the mountain. A very good time was had by all..

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Author: Anita

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