Pieria’s culinary tradition melds gastronomic traditions from the whole of Greece, with a special emphasis on foods sourced from the sea and the mountains. There is something for everyone here, as local, national and international cooking styles have by now been adopted by the cooks at the hundreds of restaurants and tavernas of the area. As expected, seaside restaurants serve a broad variety of fish and seafood while mountain restaurants serve game, roast meats, soups and pies. Many of the most beloved and popular recipes combine fresh, seasonal produce with locally sourced olive oil.
The Macedonian influence can be discovered in the way meats are cooked and cheeses produced, through traditional recipes that are based on the principles of the Mediterranean diet. Other regional culinary notes are detectable through the use of local herbs, vegetables and olive oil. The way sweets are made also gives away their origin, through the flavours and techniques used.
The foods enjoyed by locals would be no different to those enjoyed by Greeks nationwide, were it not for the techniques, ingredients and seasonings that are inspired by the unique culinary traditions of a fascinarting mix of settlers: the Vlachs, Pontians, Greeks of Asia Minor, and the Greeks from Sarakatsani. Also, ingredients such as black pork and truffles add a different dimension to some of the recipes here.
Sweet and savory pies are a staple dish of everyday life in Pieria. Made with different types of filo pastry and a broad variety of delicious fillings, the pies found here are definitely worth trying. Fillings include the classic cheese or spinach fillings, as well as sausage, minced beef, vegetables, chicken, rice, Kaseri cheese, and onion, or on the sweeter side, cream, apple or pears.
In Pieria, visitors can make the most of numerous options for eating out at differnt times of the day and year. Tavernas, ouzo and meze eateries, international style cuisine and modern Greek cuisine restaurants are all available.
A new gastronomic destination is born
There is a lot to discover about Pieria’s food scene beyond the cheesy tourism-oriented veneer of souvlaki, grilled octopus and moussaka. In recent years, initiatives by talented chefs such as Nikos Fotiadis, who is of Macedonian and Pontian origin, to found the Pierian Institute of Gastronomy have raised cuilanary standards significantly. Fotiadis has already gathered 400 traditional recipes, some going back hundreds of years, and has made it his aim to seek out the purest of local ingredients, and already 35 hotels, restaurants and local chefs are working under the institute’s umbrella. Beyond resuccitating and celebrating local cuisine, part of this progressive initiative aims to cut out the middle man – bringing restaurant diners and hotel guests into immediate contact with the cuisine as well as the products, which they can buy directly from certified local producers, and at the same time inspiring gastronomic tourism in the area.
Visitors who would like to benefit from the opportunity to try and purchase locally sourced, pure and high quality ingredients from their certified producers now can. Local producers working under the umbrella of the Pierian Institute of Gastronomy now welcome visits and demonstrate how their products are grown or made.
One of the area’s specialty food products is the pata negra, or black pork, which was eaten in ancient Greece. The Fotiadis Farm in the Pieria countryside produces products from it, as well as wild boar sausages and Pontian kavourma, a mixture of high quality cuts compacted together in a kind of terrine.
Tel: +30 2351095702
Wild truffles and truffle oil are two other delicacies sourced and manufactured in the area. Eleftheria Tziatziou and Giorgos Kiritsipoulos, nationwide experts in truffle farming, have trained dogs and hunters in the area in sourcing this precious product.
Tel: +30 6948204879
The Pontian «chanchipel» sauce, made with pink tomatoes and fenugreek is produced by Eleni Deligiannidou in the Pieria countryside.
Tel: +30 2351095702, +30 6988155408
It’s also worth sampling the distillate, extract, jam and vinegar made from Alorea cranberries by Konstandinos Doulias
Tel: +30 2331099407, +30 6973232683
Homemade Greek hilopites wholewheat pasta, trachana, jams, spoon sweets and yogurt made by local cooks can be found at the Pieria Mousses Women’s Cooperative
Tel: +30 2351020039
Local snails gathered by Cochlea’s Paraskevas Ioannidis
Tel: +30 6939109067
Other local food products to try or take home from Pieria are:
Kiwi fruit, strawberries, cherries, peaches, olives and olive oil, chestnuts, honey and bee products, cheeses.
... and foods made based on traditional recipes:
Spoon sweets, liquers, jams, wines, fruits in syrup, traditional handmade pasta.