So, we were off to visit Meteora. However, since Meteora (home of the world famous monasteries built into cliffsides) is not at all close to Nafplio, we determined that it made sense to stay in Trikala the night before. Trikala is known as a student haven, and we thought that it might offer a nice place to stay. Little did we know just how hospitable the folks there would be.
As we walked around Trikala, we noticed a small sausage maker’s shop, in which hung over 100 freshly made sausages. Since we could see the vendor making the sausages, we eagerly stopped and motioned towards him, asking if it would be alright for us to take a picture. He indicated that it was, and once we had finished, beckoned us inside.
After trying (and failing) to determine what herbs he used in the sausages, he insisted on gifting one to us, a gift that we could hardly refuse given his obvious pride in his work (and how good the sausages smelled.) He even walked us next store, to the schwarma spot and asked if the cook would grill the sausage. With only a spit for schwarma, the chef was unable to help.
But, raw sausages do not make a great dinner, so we soldiered on in search of a more filling meal. We eventually found a taverna with a good looking menu, and procured a table for four. Here we began with a cabbage and grated carrot salad, lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon (included in quarters on the side.)
We followed this with mushrooms cooked in olive oil– they were possibly some of the best mushrooms I’ve ever tasted, meaty and fresh, and of course it didn’t hurt that they were served with more lemon.
Our other salad was an assortment of steamed vegetables, including carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. They were again served with lemon, and while we both chose to add salt and pepper, the restaurant did an excellent job of blanching the vegetables without overcooking them.
In addition, we ordered a dish of grilled peppers that came in olive oil, the restaurant having taken care to remove their skins.
For mains, we ordered eggplant in tomato sauce with feta, which was warm and comforting, and light on the feta, which allowed the tomato and eggplant to shine through.
We also ordered a dish of orzo with cinnamon spiced beef brisket and a tomato sauce with cheese and oregano. The meat was so tender it fell apart.
And last, but certainly not least, we persuaded the staff to cook the sausage that we had so kindly been given on our way there. The sausage was excellent. Hot, with a lovely crunch to the casing, it was almost a paragon of pork sausage.
Now, after eating all of this delicious food, we were ready to pay the check– but nope! Trikala’s hospitality struck again, and our waiter swooped down with a plate full of seed cake (called ‘halva’, which more closely resembled Indian than Middle Eastern halvas) and vanilla ice cream. It was a not-very-sweet, but very grainy and texgturally exciting dessert. What a perfect end to our evening meal, and just enough to fortify us to walk around in Trikala’s winter weather.