If you're a lamb-chop lover, and you've not had paidakia... hie thee to Greece! In my well-traveled opinion... and I am a fanatic for lamb chops... the finest in the world are prepared in a corner of Attica, just about 25 kilometres southeast of Athens. As you'll see in the accompanying video, they're not like American lamb chops. Forget the meaty, medium-rare eye, and the short cut and frenching of the bone. Attica lamb chops, or paidakia, are cut thin, with a long, curving bone. On that bone is beautifully untrimmed meat and fat. The "eye" is small, comparatively, and cooked much longer... but it still as juicy as the gods who once frolicked in this area! The whole effect is crackly, crisp, intensely lamb-y.
I first discovered paidakia like these about five years ago, when I got a recommendation on a taverna in the town of Kalyvia (only a 15-minute taxi ride from the Athens International Airport). Now I never fly through Athens without taking that taxi!
But just two years ago, Vassili Papagiannakos, a great local winemaker, took me to HIS favorite taverna for paidakia, more or less in the same area: Gavrilis, in the small village Kouvaras. Another epiphany!
Recently, I was back in Attica... and had the great good fortune to go back to both tavernas to have a taste-off. I would never turn down a chance to go to either one... but my winner is in this accompanying video:
For more stories like these, sign-up for free weekly emails at dRosengarten.com