Γαστρονομία

Γαστρονομία
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Gastronomy and local products
in Central Macedonia

In the region of Central Macedonia the wealth of earth and sea was transformed by capable hands into a unique tradition, interspersed with aromas and tastes of both the East and the West. All the civilizations that met here left their indelible traces on its gastronomic landscape.

Here there is always a taste that can travel you in time and space. In the markets of the cities, the prime ingredients of this inclusive cuisine are revealed; cereals, legumes, olives, oil, rice, fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, shellfish, spices, herbs, wine, honey.

From the street stands and the traditional eateries to the modern restaurants and patisseries Central Macedonia lays its hospitable table. Koulouri (bagel with sesame) bougatsa salty or sweet, piroshki, peinirli, pies, mussels pan-cooked or with rice, stuffed calamari, barbequed sea and river fish, dolmades, mantza, veal with mashed eggplants (hunkiar), tsombleki, soutzoukakia, patsas, and for dessert all kinds of sweets with pastry and syrup, revani, akanes, panorama triangles, tsoureki (brioche), aromatic creams, preserves.

And the choice widens as the traditional but always extrovert cuisine of Central Macedonia utilises its past with boldness and innovatively turns to the future.

THESSALONIKI
Koulouri Thessalonikis (sesame bagel)
  • Koulouri Thessalonikis (sesame bagel)
    Koulouri Thessalonikis (sesame bagel)

“Good morning” in this city has the aroma of baked sesame and the texture of fluffy and crunchy dough. This traditional baked good of Byzantine origin identifies with the city of Thessaloniki. Its production started by refuges from Constantinople and Asia Minor. With the wisdom hidden in everything simple, the combination of flour, yeast, water and sesame transforms into a long lasting delicacy with recognized nutritional value. Either in its traditional form or in one of its variations it is highly preferred.

Panorama triangles (cream filled pastry triangles)
  • Panorama triangles (cream filled pastry triangles)
    Panorama triangles (cream filled pastry triangles)

Crunchy handmade pastry triangles with a hint of syrup and full of velvety fragrant cream; a dessert for which the citizens and the visitors of Thessaloniki, back in the 70’s and 60’s, would commute all the way to Panorama. A dessert that bears eastern influence, utilizes tradition as well as the exceptional dairy products of the region. The traditional recipe is always followed rendering them an integral part of the Thessaloniki experience as well as an essential souvenir.

Patsas (Tripesoup)
  • Patsas (Tripesoup)
    Patsas (Tripesoup)

The first Patsatzidika (tripe soup restaurants) appeared in 1922, by masters who used to work in Asia Minor. Tripe soup is immediately established as the dish of the “deprived”, the workers, the travelers, the students and later on of the all-nighters. It is made with the stomach and legs of veal, lamb or pork, either finely or roughly chopped, boiled in the right proportions and served with garlic, vinegar as well as dry paprika for a stronger taste. It constitutes a gastronomic challenge which the “connoisseurs” consider obligatory either for a strong day-start or as a tasty epilogue of a joyful night.

HALKIDIKI
Table olive & olive oil
  • Table olive & olive oil
    Table olive & olive oil

The table olives of Halkidiki recognized as a product with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), have an important position in the intemational markets and contribute significantly to the exports of Greece.

Halkidiki accounts for the 55% of the production of table olives in Greece. Many processing industries produce table olives in different forms, e.g. whole, pitted, stuffed with various products such as almonds, red pepper, lemon, orange, Ialepeno, etc., but they also make olivepasta, brusketa, etc.

The olive oil of Halkidiki is extracted either from unripe olives of the variety "Halkidiki" or from ripe olives of various local varieties such as "Galano", "Metagitsi", 'Agioritiki", "Galatista" etc. The olive oil of Halkidiki is rich in polyphenols and have distinct organoleptic characteristics. The green olive oil is also recognized as a product with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Thanks to the early harvest of theolives, the olive oil of Halkidiki has high concentration of polyphenols which is linked with better health. Because of their high nutritional value and their unique taste, olives and olive oils of Halkidiki are essential parts of the Mediterranean diet.


Wines

Following the traditional methods of winemaking and using the fine Greek varieties such as "Limnio", "Roditi", "Athiri", 'Asirtiko" that are cultivated under ideal climate, in warm and dry conditions, in Halkidiki are produced some of the best wines and it is considered an important wine making region. The wineries of the region are highlighted worldwide for their new products made of Greek but also French varieties of grapes. The bigger vineyard of Greece that extends to 475 ha is found Halkidiki. The last decades revived the traditional vineyards of Mount Athos, where high quality of "agioritiko" wine is produced and it appreciates international recognition. In Halkidiki are produced wines recognized as products with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) of Macedonia, Halkidiki, Sithonia, Mount Athos and as product with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) “Meliton Slopes”.

Cheeses

The landscape morphology, the climatic conditions, the vegetation and the liyestock tradition result to a high quality animal products. The traditional goat cheese of Halkidiki produced by pure goat milk having thus high protein content. Following the tradition, the cheese makers of Halkidiki produce significant quantities of goat cheese and traditional feta cheese as well as other unique types of cheese, i.e. "agioritiko" and "petroto".

Honey

With 6.500 beekeepers (320lo of Greece) and 2.000 tons of annual production of fine quality of honey, Halkidiki is considers the center of apiculture in Greece. Aristotle, 2.300 years ago, has exalted honey and its beneficial qualities for men, arguing that it can prolong our life. Nowadays, beekeepers of Halkidiki following the tradition utilize the greek flora of I(Kassandra, Sithonia and the north part of Halkidiki and produce different types of honey from different plants i.e. pine tree-honey, flower- honey,forest-honey, fir honey, chestnut- honey, heatherhoney, etc.

IMATHIA
Xinomavro of Naousa

Xinomavro is dynamite with an exuberant masculine aroma and sophisticated taste. It is a luscious experience. It is the variety that makes us proud when represented abroad. Xinomavro is cultivated almost exclusively in Northern Greece mostly in the areas of Naousa and Imathia.

Revani: the treat of Veria
  • Revani: the treat of Veria
    Revani: the treat of Veria

Semolina and yogurt harmoniously mix with flour and sugar, as well as other fine ingredients, to create the tasty Revani; the dessert of the queen of the North, Veria.

Fruit preserves: a tasty and healthy choice
  • Fruit preserves: a tasty and healthy choice
    Fruit preserves

Greek peaches from the famous fruits production area of Imathia. Slices of peach without the addition of sugar or artificial ingredients compose a pleasant and light dessert that sweetens the palate without quilt.

The food
  • The food
    The food

Typical practice of the chefs of the area is to prepare imaginative dishes with trahana, bran, nettle, davades, meatballs in brine, mantza, veal or pork combined with vegetables or pasta, rich salads, as well as bougiourdi (grilled cheese), smoked cheese, batzossaganaki (fried local cheese), honey, fruits, nuts that compliment in the best way the cooking practices.

PIERIA
Fish dishes

Sea flavors in Pieria, during summer or any other season of the year, demand joy, and good company: Small fried or baked fish such as anchovies, sardines, red mullet, bogue bream, cod, mackerel, smelt, horse mackerel, saddled sea bream - big fish fried or baked such as mullets, pandora , soles, gilt-heads, striped sea bream, spearfish, sea bass, dentex, sea bream, shrimps, fried or pan cooked mussels in various tastes, octopus fried, barbecued or marinated in wine or vinegar, calamari fried, stuffed or cooked in a pot, cuttlefish, crawfish and lobsters, oysters with lemon, smoked fish salad, river fish, baked trout or trout with salad.

A very special position among the dishes of Pieria is held by the mussels of Makrygialos. They are of excellent quality, in terms of nutritional content as well as size. Loudias, Axios and Aliakmonas offer appropriate conditions for the creation of a high quality product that satisfies the needs of the domestic market and also goes beyond Greek borders with an export rate that reaches up to 95% of the production. In the hands of chefs mussels gain their gourmet version but at the mussel fest MYDOCHARA, held every summer in the area, one can enjoy them steamed and accompany them with local tsipouro and lots of dance.

Mt. Olympus tea

The area of Mt. Olympus is known for its unique biodiversity and its natural environment. In this area and at an altitude of more than 1000m, grows a unique product, the tea of Mt Olympus that belongs to the Sideritis variety. Its beneficial effects are due to its flavonoids that are responsible for its anti-inflammatory, bacteriostatic and antioxidant effect. Experts recommend its daily consumption. Moreover, more and more researches showcase its wondrous contribution against the Alzheimer disease. Nowadays the cultivation of Sideritisscardica is a sustainable, innovative cultivation of an aromatic and pharmaceutical plant in Pieria. The tea routes go through Litochoro, AyiosDemetrios, Ritini, Elatochori, the most prominent areas where Mt. Olympus tea is cultivated. Its cultivation also started in other areas such as Moschpotamos, Petra (Lokovi).

Wine of Pieria

Wine rejoices the human heart. Dionysus, the God of Wine, according to Greek Mythology was teaching humans how to cultivate vineyards and make good wine 9.000 years ago. In the area grew agriampelo (wild vine). “Kompologoula”, a very special vine derived by the seeds of wild vine, grew close to the Muse springs of Olympus on Macedonian land and it was meant to transform in one of the first tame vines cultivated by man. In the history of famous European wines, the wines of Northern Greece were among the oldest and the most expensive. The Orphic vineyards of Olympus managed to survive up till now and offer some of the best wines in Europe. There is a great variety of wines as well as other beverages of biological production such as tsipouro made by arbutus or grapes and ouzo.

KILKIS
Wines of Goumenisa

The long lasting relationship of the inhabitants of the area with the vineyards is evidenced nowadays by the glorious celebration of Saint Tryfon, the patron saint of winemakers. According to myths the indigenous varieties of Xinomavro and Negoska by which PDO Goumenissa wine is produced, was the wine of choice of Philippos, King of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great. Beyond this, in local narratives it is mentioned that, due to its great quality, during the 1st world war great quantities were transported in France.

The vineyard zone of PDO Goumenissa was establishes in 1979. The vineyard of Goumenissa is situated in the northwest part of the regional unit of Kilkis, on the east-southeast slopes of Paiko (1650m) on low wavy slopes which sometimes can have a grade up to 30%. It is approximately 2680 sqm at an altitude of 150m to 450m, many orientations towards the sun and is at its main part linear. Its stones are of the granite type, schist, sandstone, limestone with sufficient quantity of carbon calcium and organic substance decreasing in depth.

The climate is sub-dry to sub-humid with 650mm annual rain. During the winter the North wind (Vardaris) is dominant and during the summer south breezes and north-east winds (meltemia) reduce the temperature impact. Around 1900 the vineyards of Goumenissa were around 11000sq.m.mostly with red varieties xinomavro, negoska and fartsalo.

The PDO Goumenissa zone is the smallest of the four PDO zones were xinomavro can be found.

Chestnut Forest

Paiko is the largest chestnut forest in Greece. On the mountain there are approximately 4500sq.m of chestnut trees 2500sq.m of which are arable. Around 300 families have as a secondary occupation the cultivation of chestnut trees and it is estimated that the annual production comes up to 500 – 600 tones, depending of the year. Due to the climate of the area chestnuts produced in the area are sweet and tasty.

The chestnut forests of Paiko are at their peak as most of their production is exported to Italy, reminding the elderly the difficult times when the so called “bread tree” offered to the inhabitants of the area a basic part of their nutrition.

Fish from Doirani Lake

Doirani is one of the most beautiful lakes of the Greek North. The snowy mountain range of Belles closes up the horizon on the north-east and offers its shadow to the wonderful landscape. The lake was created through a series of geological activities and is probably a remnant of the old lake of Paionia that was around 130.000 sq.m. Its basin is supplied by springs that spurt in its bed as well as streams coming down from Mt Belles and Krousia. In its water around 18 kinds of fish have been found the most prominent of which are cyprinus, catfish, platitsa, The lake is also the temporary habitat of 36 rare species of avifauna, species that have been recognized globally as endangered. The fish of Doirani are considered as tasty, clean and are of great commercial value. This, according to the local fishermen has to do with the morphology of the lake’s bed which is sandy and not marshy as well as rich presence of iodine in the water.

PELLA
Trout
  • Trout
    Trout

The Greek trout is the wild trout, lives in the rivers and is not bred in fish-hatcheries. The high nutritional value of the fish in general, contributes positively to a balanced Mediterranean diet. In the Regional Unit of Pella there are trout-hatcheries that form a significant income for the inhabitants of Nisi, Arnissa, Agra, and Brytton; all villages located near the Vegoritis lake. The wild trout is nicely cooked with the purest ingredients by the local people. On the other hand, the lake crawfish is a special product for the region and especially for the Nisi village, of the Municipality of Edessa. Every year the National Crawfish Festival is organized there and gathers thousands of visitors.

Karatzova Pepper
  • Karatzova Pepper
    Karatzova Pepper

The red “Karatzova” pepper is a remarkable product for the local community of Garefi, of the Municipality of Almopia a region that stars in the production of this type of small pepper, from which the famous smoked sweet paprika is produced. Until 1980 there were pepper or paprika factories, the operation of which came to an end due to the development of new cultivations. However the red pepper as well as the paprika maintain their notable position in the traditional table of the Almopia region, and elsewhere.

Tsobleki
  • Tsobleki
    Tsobleki

The word “Tsobleki” has many uses and meanings and mainly refers to various things that when mixed give a different result. The homonymous dish is a traditional recipe of Edessa, with meat (usually beef in red sauce) and vegetables such as potatoes, courgettes and aubergines. It forms a trademark of the capital of the Regional Unit of Pella!

SERRES
Akanes

A divine mixture of sugar, cornstarch, baked almonds and goat butter. It is the traditional sweet of Serres. It looks a lot like Turkish delight but it has a unique and intense flavor. They myth around this delicacy says that the Turks gave an order to the Greek stirring the hot mix to stir fast (AKA) and he tiredly answered yes (NAI). But a more realistic explanation about the name is that it comes from the word Hakan that means prince. And indeed akanes is a dessert for princes, as the Constantinopolitan ChatziBekirLokma filled with cream which the Turks called (H)akane halva.

Bougatsa

In Serres it is usually ordered simply as “one with cheese" or “one with cream". It is a popular snack served cut into bite-size pieces (the sweet, sprinkled with powdered sugar and / or cinnamon). Apart from these two popular flavors, there is also bougatsa with minced meat and spinach. Although the inhabitants of southern Greece usually confuse cheese-pies with bougatsa with cheese, there is a difference in the recipe and the pastry used.

Buffalo meat and milk
  • Buffalo meat and milk
    Buffalo meat and milk

Buffalo meat is a red low fat meat, a delicious food of great nutritional value. In a beautiful area, close to the Greek-Bulgarian border, on the northwest end of the regional unit of Serres, by the lake Kerkini and the Strymonas River, fifteen buffalo breeders raise in free range conditions approximately 3.500 buffalos. From these, apart from fresh meat, come other products such as buffalo kavourmas, smoked meat, sausage, kebab and salami.

Buffalo milk compared to the rest has lower levels of cholesterol and is richer in calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin A and proteins. It addition it has more vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and B12. The products made by buffalo meat are yoghurt, various types of cheese especially soft ones, ice-cream and condensed milk.