Epirus and Thessaly Restaurants

In all but the fanciest restaurants, check out what’s cooking because menus change seasonally here. These regions, perhaps because of their dramatic winters, are known for some of the heartiest, rib-stickingest meals around Greece. Informal dress is usually appropriate. Metsovites are particularly known for their meat specialties, such as kontosouvli (lamb or pork kebab) and boiled goat,

their trahanas soup (made from cracked wheat boiled in milk and dried), and their sausages or meatballs stuffed with leeks, as well as their costly but delectable smoked Metsovone cheese. Pites (pies, or pita) are pastry envelopes filled with local and seasonal produce, from savory meats and vegetables to sweet dairy creams and honey. Head to the lakesides, most famously those in Ioannina, to feast on aquatic delights: frogs' legs, trout, eel, and crayfish. Wherever you head, Epirote restaurants generally offer an interesting blend of Greek, Turkish, and Jewish flavors usually prepared with fresh local produce. Some of their tried-and-true recipes are moschari kokkinisto (a tomato-base veal stew with carrots, onions, and peas), lamb in lemon sauce, and lathera (stove-top vegetable stew made with artichoke hearts, beans, okra, and tomatoes). And the best wine to wash it all down with is Katogi red wine pressed from French Bordeaux grapes grown locally in Metsovo.

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