When speaking of the Epirus gastronomic experience, numerous flavours flood the mind …and the palate! The place is known for a wide variety of exceptional quality local products that can be sampled during a trip to Epirus.
Such a trip should not leave out the mountain town of Metsovo, which combines a beautiful alpine landscape with gastronomic experiences and cultural traditions special to the area. Metsovo is a short distance by car from the city of Ioannina (just half an hour) and is now easily reached by taking the Egnatia Odos National Road in the direction of Grevena and taking the exit for Metsovo. Built with panoramic views amidst lush green vegetation in the mountains of Pindos, it is a popular destination that has nothing to envy in the mountain villages of other countries. Although a highly developed tourist destination, neither its traditional character nor the authenticity of people it have been lost, a fact which continues to make it an important destination for all travellers in Epirus.
When you arrive you will want to take a little time to walk around the paved square and discreetly take notice of the older residents sitting on benches, even today wearing their traditional costumes. The church of Agia Paraskevi dominates the square of Metsovo, and it is a must-see. Built in 1511, rebuilt 4 times, its greatest ornament is the magnificent iconostasis built in 1730.
Your next stop is the Averoff Art Gallery, opened in 1988, where you can admire over 250 works by major Greek 19th and 20th century artists, including Gizis, Volanaki, Iakovidis, Parthenis, Malea, Vyzantiou, Moralis, Malamou, and Preka.
For wine lovers, paradise can be found at the Katogi Averoff Winery, one of the most popular and elegant wineries in Greece. The vision of Evangelos Averoff, who first brought the cabernet sauvignon grape variety to Greece. Since that time Metsovo, has managed to gain a respected place for itself on the world wine scene. You can tour the cellars and enjoy a tasting, accompanied by the well-known cheeses of Metsovo, in particular the smoked cheese Metsovone. The basic tour takes about half an hour, and there is time for a second excursion in the village square for a coffee and shopping for traditional products.
In the square there are many restaurants where you can sample the excellent locally-sourced meat, dairy products, and the wine variety, the production of which you have just had the opportunity to become well acquainted with. And even if you don’t have time to sit down, there is the street food option – to enjoy rotisserie-cooked marinated pork and mutton ‘kontosouvli’ wrapped in greaseproof paper that will more than compensate!
At the end of your visit to Metsovo you can either make your way home, or take advantage of local hospitality and stay in one of the many well-appointed and cosy accommodation options that are available to suit any budget. Besides, the magic of Metsovo continues on into the night…