Friday, January 26, 2007

Greek delights: eating peinirli in Volos

Imagine something that is very much like my mushroom pie, just a lot bigger and stuffed with cheese instead of mushrooms. Now heat it up, cut it half-open, so you've got a pocket. Fill it with French fries and your favourite ketchup or yogurt sauce. Got that?

Well done! You've just imagined a Greek fast-food called peinirli. It looks like this:

A peinirli from "Rainbow", Volos

Peinirli is what my friend Anna and I had for a snack in the port town Volos one afternoon just over half a year ago. Although the main reason for my Greek trip last June was a wedding on Santorini, I had arrived a few days in advance in order to visit my Edinburgh friend Anna and her young family. When I asked Anna to introduce me to something that is typical to this specific Greek town, she took me to a popular peinirli joint, Rainbow.

Peinirly derives from a Turkish word 'peynirli', meaning 'cheesy', and came to Greece in early last century with the refugees from Asia Minor. Peinirli always has a cheese filling (usually a mixture of kefalograviera and kasseri cheese), but only the sky is a limit. You can add bacon, eggs, ham, minced meat or anything else you fancy into a peinirli. Whereas usually peinirli is an open boat-shaped yeast pastry with a filling (see here), then the Volos version is closed a la calzone, baked and then filled with stuff to order (above). Quite interesting - not something you'd eat every day, but a perfect snack after promenading on the seaside.

If you're wondering how come I write about something so summery in the midst of January, then let me tell you. It's snowing so heavily outside at the moment, that I could hardly see where I was going when I returned from lunch an hour ago. I thought it's a perfect opportunity to blog about something so distant and different and out of my ordinary to bring some warmth and sunny memories to my day :)

Iasonos 135
Tel. 35557
Volos, Pelios


Anonymous said...

Hi Pille, that sounds terribly unhealthy, but incredibly good! Although we don't have any blizzard to contend with here, I'm certainly with you on the dreaming of summer part... :)

Kalyn Denny said...

I love hearing about this. I didn't ever see it in Greece and hadn't heard of it before! (Not in the least bit South Beach Diet friendly, sigh.)

Anonymous said...

Well I learn something new all the time...

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of chip butties, the most bizzare of British inventions. Would you put vinegar on these?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just wanted to say thanks for your post! I live in London, but originally come from the North of Greece (Thessaloniki). There, we don't have the peinirli version that you mention- just the normal kaseri / kefalograviera topped boat-shaped one! So it was a nice surprise to hear about this, will ask friends from Volos about it.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to taste this at least once. ;-)


Pille said...

Melissa - as an occasional 'treat' it's harmless, I hope:)

Kalyn - I suspected that it's not suitable for SBD! It was the first time I encountered this in Greece, too, but as it's been too hot for me whenever I'm in the country, I have been sticking to salads and such like..

Anon. - we all do!

Roxy - I've never had a chip buttie! I guess I need you to introduce me to all those peculiar British delicacies:) You already made me eat the deep-fried Mars bar, so I guess we can try the chip buttie next time??

Maria - please do! My friend Anna is new to Volos (she's originally from Larisa, but has since lived in Athens and in Edinburgh), so she's a bit of a tourist in town, too. What would your friends suggest as the typical dish? I'd love to go to Thesaloniki - my former bf studied there (he's from Kavala) and said it's a wonderful city..

Paz - you need to head over to Greece for that:)

Anonymous said...

Actually teenage boys in Volos eat it every day. It has fed generations of volos people.. If you are a woman you need help to consume it and you have to stop it at the age of 20. I was searching for this million dollar dough and found you. i ll try your mushroom pie dough. if it is like peynirly you will earn a place in my prays for the rest of my life! Thanks!