Thessaly is a virtual mosaic of people and ethnic groups who, through time, have maintained their traditions, their customs and their local cuisine. The Vlachs live in the mountains, while the Sarakatsani and the Karagkouni live on the plain, with residents also in coastal areas. Each group maintains its gastronomic identity, which it continues to hand down from generation to generation, and where livestock farming producing high-quality dairy products remains a central activity.
The extensive Thessalian plain, the most important producer of grain in Greece, is the source of a large number of products distinguished for their delicious taste and excellent quality. The regional cabbage, docks, chervils, nettles, herbs, and mushrooms supplement mealtime and excel in producing delicious, flavorful pitas.
Dishes include pastas, masterfully made from pure ingredients, as well as traditional, meat-based dishes, such as stuffed chicken or kokkinisto, accompanied by hilopites pasta, pork with leek, tigania, lamb of the ambelourgou (vine grower’s lamb) wrapped in vine-leaves or cooked in a crockpot with potatoes, lamb kebab, provatina fried as well as stamna beef (beef in a clay-pot) and the excellent beef-head soup.
Thessalian soil celebrates these products and its inhabitants honor them, drinking to each other’s health with local wines and tsipouro, and for sweets there is a fabulous choice of halva Farsalon, syrupy sponge-cake with almonds, yogurt pita (yogurt pie), galatopita and several others…
|Product||Designation of Origin or|
|Fruits||Apples of Zagora-Pelion (PDO)||Magnesia|
|Fruits||Firiki apples (PDO)||Magnesia|
|Olives||Konservoelia of Pelion (PDO)||Magnesia|
|Cheese||Graviera of Agrafa (PDO)||Karditsa|
|Cheese||Feta (PDO)||Magnesia, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa|
|Cheese||Kaseri (PDO)||Magnesia, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa|
|Cheese||Manouri (PDO)||Magnesia, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa|
|Cheese||Galotiri (PDO)||Magnesia, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa|
|Cheese||Batzos (PDO)||Magnesia, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa|
|Meet||Lamp of Elassona (PDO)||Larissa|
|Meet||Kid of Elassona (PDO)||Larissa|
The wines of Thessaly
In Thessalia, there are 3 regions producing PDO wines, Rapsani, Anhialos, Messenikola and 5 regions producing PGI wines, Thessalia, Krania, Krania, Meteora and Tirnavos.
Just before the valley of Tempi and next to the mountain of Ossa lie the vineyards of Rapsani. Most of these vineyards have a southeast exposure to the sun and their altitude ranges between 100 and 700 metres. The combination of Mt Olympus and the Aegean Sea creates a unique micro climate that favours the proper maturation of the vines. The varieties cultivated are three: Xinomavro, Krassato and Stavroto, all of them red. Vinified together, they produce the V.Q.P.R.D. Rapsani, a rich red wine, with a characteristic bouquet.
The vineyards of Anhialos are situated along the coastline of Pagassitikos bay. Just at 100-200 metres above the sea level, the Roditis variety produces the fine, white P.D.O. Anhialos, which is particularly pleasant when drunk fresh.
This is another area, which lies in the lowlands around the town of Karditsa and the villages of Agrafa, at an altitude of 250-600 metres. Here, we can find the red V.Q.P.R.D. Mavro Messenikola, produced from the blending of the local grape variety Messenikola with Carignan and Syrah. It is the most recent Greek Appellation of Origin.
On the east slopes of Mt Olympus, in the traditional settlement of Krania, the subsoil is excellent and the micro climate superb. Rainfalls are seldom and the summer is quite fresh, full of morning breezes from the Aegean Sea and afternoon, mountain winds. All the above, which are favourable to viticulture, lead to the cultivation of select French grape varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which produce the white and red Regional Wine of Krania.
The greatest part of the vineyards of Thessalia, though, lies in Tirnavos. In these lowlands, with the northeast exposure to the sun, the grape varieties cultivated are Savatiano, Roditis, Batiki and Muscat of Hamburg, which produce the Regional Wine of Thessaly and the Regional Wine of Tirnavos.