Ιn the Thessalian plain with a batzina

With a journey in mythology begins the wonderful book Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας by Efi Grigoriadou that was sent to us by Savalas Publishers, and it is full of historical information, customs and traditions. From the gods of Olympus it reaches the Centaurs and the Argonauts. It traverses the history of Thessaly and focuses on individual characteristics, customs and traditions. In our new article we will search for the mosaic of people and tribes that lived in Thessaly, as well as the eating habits that characterize this area, with the help of the book Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας. With a recipe of the book we will make batzina, a local, traditional pie with feta cheese.

Our batzina came out tall and delicious!
In the book Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας we found the recipe, among many others.
We warmly thank Savalas Publishers for the wonderful series of books they sent us and for the permission to obtain information for our articles!

In the book, Thessaly is called a mythical and historical place… Homeland of Asclepius, father of Medicine, Latins and Centaurs, it was the birthplace of saints, teachers of the Nation, kleftes and armatoloi of the Greek Revolution, it was also the homeland of Rigas, Karaiskakis, Gazis, poets, sculptors, musicians, painters hagiographers, people of Letters and Arts…

Rigas Velestinlis (source)

As we read in the Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας the different groups of people that consist Thessaly maintain their traditions, music and dances. In the mountains there are Vlachs, Sarakatsani and Haniotes, in the plain Karagounides and in the coastal areas of Thessaly people who behave like islanders.

The Vlachs have a history of at least 2000 years with roots in the Roman years and the Eclatinization of the Balkans. The contribution of the Vlachs to Hellenism is huge in all areas. Prominent personalities, such as Rigas Velestinlis, but also the benefactors Zappas, G. Stavrou, Averof, Sina, Doumpas, Tositsas, Stournaras, Koletis, Sp. Lambrou, Papagos, Svolou, Krystallis and others with their donations supported the newly established state.

Vlach national benefactors (Wikipedia)

The Vlachs are the first bilingual Greeks who, during the years of the Roman Empire, also learned Latin, due to their cooperation with Roman troops for twenty years in the campaign of Trajan. As we have learned, the Vlach language is an autonomous Neo-Latin language, already formed from the 6th c. A.D. Elsewhere we read that it belongs to the branch of Roman languages, the idiomatic forms produced by Latin after the fall of the Roman Empire. Vlach language is for the most part a spoken language.

The Vlach costume (πηγή)
Vlach traditional dance

The Karagounides, ie the inhabitants of the lowland areas of Thessaly are considered direct descendants of the first inhabitants of the area. Adapting their daily life, work and fun to the conditions of the plain and rural life, they made their own traditions, dances and songs. We learned that the Karagounides spoke a linguistic idiom with a variety of idiomatic elements.

Women’s costume (Karagouna) and men’s costume of Thessaly (source)
Karagouna

The Sarakatsani are an ancient Greek race. They were nomadic herders without their own land and residence. They were dominant in the mountains of Pindos, where the Greek language was first introduced. According to linguistic data, the language of the Sarakatsani was and is only Greek. The Sarakatsani had a great contribution to the Revolution of 1821 and to the Macedonian Struggle. After the end of World War II, the Sarakatsani abandoned the nomadic way of life, as well as the semi-nomadic way of life in recent decades.

Sarakatsani costume (source)
Sarakatsanic traditional danse

These population groups coexisted in Thessaly, maintaining their cultural identity with their habits, costumes, dances and language. Especially with regard to language, minority language varieties are studied by the scientific branch of Sociolinguistics, with the aim of preserving linguistic diversity. For modern linguists there are no upper and lower languages, nor complete and incomplete languages. They are all equal, with their distinctive characteristics and should not get lost.

Back to our book now … The book Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας is organized based on the months of the year. In Thessaly, the last month of winter, February found the mountainous and several of the lowland areas covered with snow. It was a difficult month for the Karagounis due to the bitter cold and the bad living conditions. But it was the month in which the first plowing took place. On February 1, on the feast of St. Tryphon, the patron saint of vines, the vine growers went to church with a bottle of wine. After the service, the priest blessed the wines with which they sprinkled their vines.

The Thessalian plain in a photo by Nikos Metaxiotis (source)

The plain. Winter is sad. Summer Hell. Autumn envelops him in very charming melancholy. Ιn spring, nothing can be compared to the plain of Thessaly. You have to start at dawn, when Ossa is decorated with roses at sunset.

When the snows of Olympus still hold the stern blue veils of the night on them, before even, in the first rays, the low white pure that dissipates along the rivers, the ditches, the swamps dissolves…

M. Karagatsis, excerpt, Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας
The Thessalian plain in a photo by Nikos Metaxiotis (source)
The Thessalian plain in a photo by Nikos Metaxiotis (source)

In ancient times the inhabitants of Thessaly were considered gourmets. Later their diet was organized based on the cycle of the seasons, the geographical location, the products available, the customs and the fasts, which were reverently kept by the inhabitants of the area. The Thessalians were mainly engaged in the cultivation of land and cereals. Another staple of the area was dairy products, and of course bread and their famous pies. Depending on the season, the filling of the pie changed, from trachanopita in winter to pumpkin pie in summer. Livestock was developed in Thessaly, but it was about dairy products and less for meat that they did not eat often. They moreover ate fish from the beach of Volos, but also from lakes and rivers. The most common diet, however, was legumes and vegetables, since the Thessalians fasted a lot and these products cost little money. For dessert they ate fruits and nuts, but also sponge cake, moustalevria, quince paste, pancakes, baklava and pastries.

Kydonopasto, one of the characteristic sweets of Thessaly.

So let’s see some typical, sweet and savory recipes of Thessaly.

Kadaifi, the sweet of Carnival (source)
Baked cod with spinach, the traditional food of March 25th, an ethnic celebration in Greece (source)
Traditional Lazarakia for Orthodox Lazarus Saturday (source)
Batzavousa, traditional Vlach mageiritsa from Livadi (Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας)
Xinotyri cheese or Kasou di bunlou which means cheese from the good (Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας)

Baking bread

In the oven of the yard, the women first threw the dry branches and a couple of large logs. As soon as they burned well and ignited the whole surface of the oven, they pulled the coals out and with a stick, with a wet cloth tied to its edge, cleaned the oven thoroughly, placed the loaves on a boards for the oven, made a cross and baked them. As soon as the breads turned brown, they sprinkled them with a little water to polish them and waited for them to be baked.

Εδεσματολόγιον Θεσσαλίας
Bread for the church (source)
Plastos (Thessalian pie) (source)
Savory bobota (source)
Farsala Halva (source)
Fasting cookies with Turkish delights (source)
Baked apples (source)
Cooked octopus (πηγή)
New Year meat pie, with a coin hidden inside. Whoever found it in his piece would have luck this year.

And now that we have built an appetite for the good, it’s time to make our own Thessalian pie.

Batzina

Our Batzina

* We translate the recipe as it is included in the book.

Ingredients

Milk2 cups
Fresh yeast25-30 gr
Grated feta cheese250 gr
Eggs2
Flour3 cups (approximately)
Βutterfor the pan
The simple ingredients of the recipe for batzina

Execution

Dissolve the yeast in a little lukewarm milk. Pour the rest of the milk into a bowl and mix it with the dissolved yeast. Add the eggs, the cheese and finally the flour. Mix the ingredients well to form a uniform porridge. Grease a pan, pour in the porridge and let it stand for 10-15 minutes in a warm place to rise. Finally, sprinkle the porridge with a little milk and its surface with a little grated cheese. Bake the batter in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 50 minutes until golden brown.

Dissolve the feta into pieces and mix it with your porridge.
Our porridge! We left it in a preheated oven for 15 minutes to rise.
Finally, sprinkle with grated feta and a little milk on the surface.
We baked in a preheated oven at 200°C in the fan mode and in 40 minutes our batzina was cooked and puffy!
We were very happy that our batzina came out so beautiful!

You must try the recipe, it is easy and the result is impressive! Good savory creations to aĺl!

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. This was a really interesting post. If you ever feel like sharing a recipe for moustalevria, that would be fantastic 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you very much dear friend Aspasia , you like moustalevria very much and we think that writing an article about moustalevria is wonderful idea! 🙏🙏🌷🌷🌷

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m excited to read it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What delicious food!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much our dear friend Mrs Diane!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great site, used to live in Greece so it makes me nostalgic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment and for loving our country! 🌹🌹🌹

      Like

      1. I acted in Greek comedy loufa Kai paralagi?

        Like

      2. This is great! It is a famous movie in Greece! I find you in IMDB, congratulations and nice to meet you dear friend! ☺️☺️

        Like

      3. Yes lovely to meet you too.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much our dear friend Sally! 🙏🙏🌺🌺🌺🌺

      Like

  4. CarolCooks2 says:

    This looks and sounds delicious..when you put your mix into a preheated oven for 15 mins at what temperature and do you leave the oven on and what size cake pan mine is 9 inch 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment! You put the mixture in a closed oven just to let it rise and then you turn the oven on. Any size cake pan will do, it will just become higher! Greetings from Greece!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        Thank you for responding to my query…Have a nice day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 🙏🙏🙏🌹🌹🌹

        Like

  5. Thank you for sharing this very interesting information. The cheese pie recipe is also wonderful. Have a nice week! Michael

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for commenting! Have a nice week you too!

      Liked by 1 person

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