Epirus - a place that is intertwined with traditional and delicious dishes of food. Pure raw materials based on seasonality and creation, recipes that come from the past, and worthy cooks who focus on quality give life and continuity to dishes of the region's cuisine.
Through 5 selected dishes, Travel outline the cuisine which define the beautiful mountains of northwest Greece, which at the same time trigger longing for another trip to the region.
Traveling to Epirus, one will pass through historic stone arched bridges, paths that have been connecting one settlement to another for centuries, rich nature, and meet people who are inspiring, hospitable and full of truth. Every time, this trip, has a common recommendation of good traditional food.
Mikri Arktos, Tsepelovo
This is where we will try pies, delicious meats, ideal balanced combinations with legumes and vegetables, while, we will not fail to focus on dishes that are a signature for some restaurants, for some villages.
One such dish is the "Bear Plate ", which we tried at the Mikri Arktos restaurant (Tsepelovo 440 10, tel. 2653 081128) in the main square in Tsepelovo.
It is a dish made with pork, combined with dried fruits, nuts, honey and sour apple. It combines the full and rich taste, while it is nutritious and delicious.
Pies, a culinary universe
A main feature of Epirote cuisine is the many different types of pies. Savory and sweet, with phyllo pastry, handmade most of the time, or even without phyllo, the pies were a basic element of the diet of the pastoralists, who lived a nomadic life.
One of the most characteristic is the batsaria, made with wild herbs and corn flour, which is sprinkled over the filling. This particular pie is best eaten warm and is usually served with yogurt.
Another category are those that contain meat, either goat or pork, and in some cases do not even have pastry on top.
The flour pie of Zagori is a special one that is also likened to cheese bread and was usually prepared to be taken with the herders, who might be away for days, far from their home.
At the same time, it is worth noting that in some parts of Epirus, the New Year's king pie, even today, is a pie made with meat, usually mutton.
Chickpeas with Eggplants
Utilising the pulses and fresh vegetables of the region, Takis in Dilofo (Dilofo 440 07, tel. 2653 022600), prepares a dish that includes the taste and value of the place.
Chickpeas combined with eggplants and tomato sauce create a dish that is an ode to the creativity and ingenuity of the local cuisine.
Gigantes with wild herbs, a symbolic dish
Staying with the legumes, we move on to gigantes, which remain possibly one of the most popular and classic dishes, combined with wild greens.
In order for this dish to succeed, the gigantes must be fresh and well soaked, for at least 12 hours in water. Then, after they boil, put them together with the greens and the rest of the herbs in the oven.
This dish can be found in many restaurants and taverns in the area, while in some cases it is also served as an appetizer to accompany tsipouro.
Wild boar with leeks
In addition to traditional meats, such as lamb and goat, wild boar is a basic meat that finds its place in the cuisine of Epirus.
However, its combination with leek results in a dish with a special taste, in a culinary universe that stands out. We try it in Ano Pedina at the restaurant Sotiria Tsigara
(Ano Pedina 440 07, tel: 2653 071209).