Plan your gastronomic visit to Athens including visits to producers, walking food tours, cooking lessons and day trips related to gastronomy

Volos & Mount Pelion

Volos situated at the foot of Pelion, the mountain of Centaurs, is a magical place graced by mother nature and widely written about by past and contemporary novelists. 

view of Pelion villages|plate with kolitsiani are fried monkfish tails|fouskes an iodine-rich seashell eaten raw|pelion greece map|Spentsofai made with fried peppers

FOOD & TRAVEL LOG

Travel and dine with Marilia Piperoglou

ααα

Για Ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ.

Volos and Pelion, the mountain of Centaurs, make up a tantalizing gastronomic destination inspired by the natural beauty and wealth of land, forests and sea.  It is a magical place graced by mother nature and widely written about by past and contemporary novelists.
Pelion is also a protected wildlife area included in the Natura network. Protected wild flora includes Crocus veluchensis, Lilium chalcedonicum (endemic of the Balkan region), Campanula incurva, Digitalis grandiflora and Sideritis. Protected wild fauna includes several species of bats, Lacerta trilineata, Muscardinus avellanarius, Mediterranean turtles, Pinna nobilis.

In Volos, gastronomic “meze” are the epicenter of the food scene and are served to accompany tsipouro. Their variety, taste and originality could easily beat Spanish “tapas”. The places that serve tsipouro, called “tsipouradiko”, can be found on the walkway along the port. Because the variety of “meze” is wide, it is best to visit the “tsipouradiko” with friends in order to taste as much as possible and enhance the experience! In Thessaly, every round of tsipouro comes with a different variety of “meze”, starting with seafood and fish. 

plate with kolitsiani are fried monkfish tails
Kolitsiani

During my travels, I have been particularly impressed by a type of sea anemone fried in batter (“kolitsiani”), fried monkfish tails (“peskandritsa”), fried fresh anchovies (“gavros”) sprinkled with vinegar and rocky-shaped “fouskes”, an iodine-rich seashell eaten raw. If you are lucky, you may also find sea urchins, clams and other seasonal seashells. Meat based “meze” follow the tsipouro rounds. 

fouskes an iodine-rich seashell eaten raw
Fouskes

Other tasty traditional meat dishes include:

Trahana” that has a porridge-like texture and is cooked with sausages, beef casserole with quince and chestnuts, rooster casserole in tomato sauce and homemade pasta.

Stuffed courgette flowers. The flowers are cut early in the morning and then stuffed with rice, fresh herbs, and minced meat. They are served in a delicious egg and lemon sauce.

pelion greece map Gastronomy Tours - Gastronomy Tours
Pelion villages

On the Aegean coast, the seaside villages of Chorefto, Agios Ioannis, Damouchari and Papa Nero stand out for their magnificent beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. Marvelous Fakistra and Mylopotamos are also a must see.

Tsagarada village is a jewel on its own, built on the luscious green slopes of the Pelion Mountain. It has 4 districts, each with its church and central square, all featuring enormous centenarian plane trees and fresh running water. The plane tree in Agia Paraskevi is considered to be 1000 years old and one of the oldest trees in Europe. 

While visiting, it’s worth taking a walk along the stone paved footpaths of this village, known as “Kalderimi”. 

Upon returning, while heading towards Volos, you must stop at Milies, Vizitsa and Pinakates. Milies is famous for the single track old steam railway, known as “Moutzouris”, which used to connect the village with Volos. The railway offers a lovely slow ride in spring with glorious views of the Pagasitikos bay. 

In Vizitsa and Pinakates, both protected, historical villages, you will admire imposing Ottoman-style stone mansions or choose to stay at one of the splendid stately homes, which have been restored with respect and converted to beautiful hotels with character. 

Last but not least are the villages of Agios Lavrentis and Agios Georgios facing Pagasitikos bay and accessible through the country road joining Volos with Milies. 

From the gastronomic scene of Pelion I would particularly point out: 

“Tsitsiravla”, a pickle made from the young leaves of the plant Pistacia terebinthus to perfectly accompany tsipouro, wild asparagus (boiled or in an omelet), wild greens and egg stir fry and of course wild mushrooms which are in abundance in spring and autumn (boletes, Caesar mushrooms, chanterelles, lactarius, etc.) in the chestnut rich forests of Pelion

Among meat dishes the following are a must-try: 

Spentzofai”, made with fried peppers, tomatoes, spices and the traditional Volos sausage. “Boubari” is ewe gut stuffed with minced offal, rice, minced meat, spices, onions and oregano. One could say it is Volos’ answer to the Scottish Haggis! 

Other tasty traditional meat dishes include: 

Trahana” has a porridge-like texture and is cooked with sausages, beef casserole with quince and chestnuts, rooster casserole in tomato sauce, and homemade pasta.

Stuffed courgette flowers. The flowers are cut early in the morning and then stuffed with rice, fresh herbs, and minced meat. They are served in a delicious egg and lemon sauce.

Fern shoots (hand-picked in early spring from the forest). They are boiled and served with olive oil and lemon juice or made into crispy fritters. I have tried these in Agios Lavrentios and Agios Georgios. Alternatively, in Pinakates and Vizitsa you should try fresh oregano fritters from the wild oregano shoots in early spring as the herb is at its most fragrant stage.

Of course, one must not forget the delicious Pelion pies, made with homemade filo pastry, and filled with courgettes, with spring greens and herbs from nature, with mushrooms etc. They are relish!

Cheese and dairy: 

Feta, kaseri, manouri and galotiri.

Wine: 

The local grape variety is “fraoula”, a pale red variety. 

Other produce: 

Zagora apples, the unique “firikia” apples native to Greece which give a delicious preserve and various patisserie uses, quince, chestnuts, walnuts, figs, mulberries, blueberries and raspberries. Fruit and nuts are used to make excellent preserves by the agricultural cooperatives of Pelion villages.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

LOOKING FOR GREAT IDEAS TO BUILD YOUR HOLIDAY AROUND?