Probably my favourite Greek dish is Spetzofai, so you can imagine that I was absolutely thrilled to go to Pelion, the part of Greece that made it famous. After a four hour drive and enough twisty roads to make the sturdiest of sailors seasick, we arrived in Milies for a late lunch. We wandered around the town until we found the only taverna open for business during the mid-afternoon quiet time. When I opened the menu I was excited that the first thing I saw was spetzofai. I was also impressed to see another local specialty on the menu, braised kounelli or rabbit for us English speakers. The spetzofai was robust, flavourful and did not disappoint. The kounelli was juicy, delicate and cooked to perfection. As we were mopping up the juices of the spetzofai with the local bread, an unexpected surprise arrived at our table. A small shot glass of clear liquid I immediately knew to be Tsipouro was placed in front of me. From the first smell I could tell that this specimen was produced locally (i.e. really strong and usually over-proofed). Albeit strong, the taste was smooth and bursting with flavour. When the owner of the taverna arrived I inquired if he had made the tsipouro himself. Blushing with pride he confessed that not only the tsipouro but the wine we had enjoyed with our meal was his own vintage, produced across the street. After a great meal and the purchase of a couple of bottles of drink we headed off to our little hotel. The perfect way to start a great food-inspired holiday.
Smelling the wonderful aroma of homemade tsipouro