Thursday, 1 October 2009

Breakfast at Makrinitsa (Πρωϊνό στη Μακρινίτσα)

We spent less than 24 hours in the Pelion region, a place that deserves at least a week of exploration and mainly on foot, but each moment there was special. After sleeping in the most peaceful surroundings we have ever encountered (our neighbourhood is very noisy in the summer), we left the hotel and decided to have breakfast at Makrinitsa, a non-vehicle village to which access is gained by a narrow footpath from the neighbouring village of Portaria. The village is centred around a large square with panoramic views of the coastal town of Volos.

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All cars are left at a large carpark just before the footpath. Due to the volume of tourists and visitors, this narrow road is lined with roadside sellers of fresh produce and souvenir shops. The one that impressed me most was the stall with the dried herbs and teas. Mountain tea similar to the Cretan malotira was being sold, as well as all sorts of dried herbs and grasses that apparently cure you of kidney stones, cholesterol, headaches, influenza, tonsilitis, colitis, constipation, arthritis, haemarrhoids, diarrhea, stomachache, insomnia, nervousness, stomach ulcers, asthma, pharryngitis, rheumatism, bronchitis or laryngitis, as well as alleviating memory loss, insomnia, period pains, ageing, controlling blood pressure, aiding blood cleansing and regulating breathing - and they even do mail deliveries all over the country!

local tea makrinitsa pelion
A claim was made about each of these teas as a cure for a host of different ailments. I ended up buying some Betonica (a heart tonic, soothes coughs), Tsai tou Vounou (mountain tea - a nerve soother) and green tea (cures insomnia)...
local tea makrinitsa pelion

We sat at the Pantheon (= all the gods) cafe at the very edge of the square overlooking the city of Volos below. My children bought me a menu card - we never need to wait for the waiter to do that these days! There was only one breakfast listing, at 6 euro a head, served with your choice of coffee (we ordered cappuccinos and hot chocolates).

view of volos from makrinitsa pelion
Breakfast with a view
breakfast at makrinitsa pelion

We were not disappointed. The bread was freshly baked and toasted, the butter was creamy yellow, and there were eight pots of honey to share among us! We only used half of them, so we packed the others away in our pockets to recreate this precious meal in our own home on our return.

the breakfast table pre-school breakfast

Presenting breakfast in our house in this way has helped to wean the children off boxed cereals. Keeping the novelty as long as possible is not as simple as it sounds. This kind of breakfast preparation takes time. School starts at 8:10am in Greece, so you have to get up quite early to prepare the cutlery and crockery, cook the toast, warm the milk and soften the butter (margarine just doesn't look or taste as good!) if you want to be out the door promptly to drop the children off to school on time. I have the honey pots filled, the bread sliced (remember we don't use 'square' pre-sliced bread in Greece unless it's for ham and cheese toasted sandwiches) and the table laid after the last meal of the previous evening to save time - and it's still working: my kids go to school with a tummy full of good solid breakfast food!

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