Metsovo - 'The Diamond of the Pindus'

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Metsovo, also known as ‘The Jewel of Epirus’, in my personal opinion, is one of the most scenic and charming towns in the Epirus region. With its character stone and white chateau style architecture it has almost a Swiss alpine appearance to it. Set high on the Pindos mountain range the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful, the tree lined village a joy to behold.

 

The village square is bordered on one side by an array of tavernas with Kontosouvli (roast pork) an Kokoretsi  (lamb or goat intestines wrapped around seasoned offal, including sweetbreads and chopped innards) grilled on the spit, the Metsovite homemade noodles, local sausages and local pies.

 

                                 

 

One is hard-pressed to make a choice between spinach pies, green pies, cheese pies, milk pies, leek pies, cabbage pies, chicken pies, minced meat pies, mushroom pies, macaroni pies, sausage pies and a host of other combinations made with phyllo, flaky pastry and other crust pastries.

 

Not to be overlooked are the Metsovone and Metsovela cheeses specific to this area. These cheeses are semi-hard smoked cheeses produced from a combination of cow and sheep or goat milk and are well complimented by the local red Vlachiko and Katogi  red wines.

 

Other cheeses found in the Epirus area are Galotyri, 'milk cheese,' which is tangy and creamy in consistency, Kefalotyri; a hard, pungent goat and sheep milk cheese mainly used for grating and Sweet Manouri, a smooth whey cheese made from sheep's milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat's milk to which cream has been added, which is packaged in long, white cylinders. Other choices are Anthotyros (an almost salt-free cheese) or spicier Vasilotyri.  Last but not least, the excellent local Feta is ranked as one of the top in Greece. 

 

 

 

The highest mountainous vineyards in Greece are to be found in Metsovo, at elevations of 1000 m. This is where Cabernet Sauvignon was first planted on Greek soil. While in Metsovo take time to visit the Katogi winery, which is one of the most renowned in Greece with cultivars including Agiorgitiko, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Vlachiko, Chardonnay and Traminer. Don’t forget to try the aged Tsipouro (a type of spirit) and local cranberry and blackberry liqueurs.

 

 

 

In summation the enticing aromas, unique flavours, haute cuisine and exceptional vintning of Metsovo will excite gastronomes, epicures and sommeliers alike. For the non-foodies a walk along the cobbled streets will have them awed at the sheer quaintness and loveliness of this mountain retreat. For the shoppers there is an interesting array of little stalls on the square where honey, preserves, wine and local handcrafts can be purchased. For those who enjoy winter sports the ski slopes of Metsovo are sure to please. 

 

  

                                      

 

Text and photography by Adelia Cook for MyKerkyra.com

 

 

 

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