Tasty autumn rendezvous in the countryside

Autumn is the ideal time for those who wish to combine a trip to the beautiful Greek countryside with exciting agri-tourism activities. From the chestnut and walnut festivals to mushroom hunting to the tsipouro fest, the October weekends are filled with very interesting proposals for mini – and quite delectable – getaways. Chestnuts In the heart of autumn, in Arna, Lakonia – on the majestic, verdant Mount Taygetos - one of the biggest chestnut festivals in Greece is organized. This year, during the long weekend of the national holiday of October 28 (28-30/10), an individual flea market with a unique style will be set up to offer the best local produce. During the same period (i.e. on Saturday 29/10), there is a chestnut festival also in Kastanitsa, one of the most beautiful villages on the slopes of Mount Parnon in the Peloponnese. Greek tea will be offered from the morning, while traditional dishes will be served at noon, including beans with pasta, bean soup, grilled herring, sow meat, goat stew, and plenty of dishes and desserts based on chestnuts, accompanied by wine, tsipouro, traditional music, and dance. At the same time, the village’s ladies will present traditional foods so that the guests can choose - through the most entertaining voting of their life - the most delicious dish. Tsipouro Tsipouro, one of the most popular and strong Greek spirits, celebrates in early November each year in Vitsa, one of the villages of the famous Zagorochoria in Epirus. In this highly popular tsipouro fest - which is the biggest in northern Greece - evenings with music and dancing are in the spotlight, while tsipouro from local producers flows in abundance. Book a hotel or a hostel in time to be able to watch this unique event closely. Mushrooms As soon as the first rains fall, mushroom enthusiasts grab their baskets and take to mountains. One of the first guesthouses to organise mushroom-picking seminars was “Amanita” in Tsagarada, one of the most famous and picturesque villages of Mt. Pelion. Also, workshops on how to recognise and pick wild mushrooms (editor’s note: they are organised under the supervision of university professors-agronomists specializing in mycology) were announced and are to take place in autumn in beautiful locations across the country (1-2/10 Lake Plastira, 8-9/10 Grammeni Oxya, 22-23/10 Tzoumerka, 28-30/10 Foloe, 5-6/11 Mt. Parnassos, 12-13/11 Mountainous Nafpaktia, 26- 27/11 Mt. Dirfys, contact telephone: 6936-815068). Walnuts Atrapos, a company specializing in alternative activities, organises an excursion that includes hikes, tours and a visit to the walnut festival in Karyes, Laconia, also located on Mount Parnon, from October 28 to 30.