The cooking tradition forms part of the local culture and in such a multicultural region as Rodopi, the visitors will be impressed by the fine flavors they will taste.
The traditional gastronomy is the product of centuries-long experience and is handed down from one generation to the other, just through imitation and habit. Centuries of tradition and coexistence of different cultural groups are revived through the flavors of the cuisine of Thrace, Pontos, Eastern Romylia, Kappadokia, Sarakatsan, Turkey, Armenia and Roma.
One of the most renowned dishes of the Prefecture is tzigerosarmas, which s made of lamb entrails, rice and flavourings wrapped in the lamb crust. It is mainly popular for Easter celebrations and during the spring. Some other well-known traditional dishes are the following: the renowned kavourmas (mixture of boiled goat and pork meat preserved in their fat), tas-kebab (pieces of pork or veal cooked in sauce), roasted eggplant, kapamas, babo (traditional Christmas recipe made of entrails and minced meat), beans with pickles (from Eastern Romylia), pork with pickles (traditional Christmans recipe from Eastern Romylia), mandi (ravioli stuffed with minced meat, a recipe from Kappadokia), tanosour (from Pontos), etc.
Visitors can also try the delicious spit-roasted kiddling at the taverns of Karydia and Maroneia, as well as suckling pig (or wild boar) at the taverns of Pandrosos. Besides the grilled local meat, they will also find a great variety of fish and sea fruit.
In Thrace, tzigeria means lamb entrails and sarmades means dolmades (parcels made of grape leaves and stuffed with rice and flavourings).
Lamb or goat pluck
Bolies ( or skepi, a kind of fatty tissue)
500 gr. Green onions
Several mint leaves
% cups of rice
Freshly ground pepper
Blanch the entrails first and cut it in small pieces as for mageiritsa. Then, chop finely the onions and the flavourings. Melt the butter and brown the entrails. Add the onions and flavorings and keep browning for 3 more minutes.
Then add the rice, pine nuts, raisins, salt and pepper.
Drop the bolia in cold water, in which you have already added some vinegar, then rinse it with cold water, stretch it and cut it in square pieces. Place them one by one on your working table. Place some stuffing in the center of every piece and wrap it so as to form small parcels. Put these in a baking dish on which you have previously spread some butter and put it in the oven at 200o C for 1 hour approximately.
Douse with the juice of one lemon shortly before serving them.
Sarmas of Komotini
1 medium-sized lamb’s pluck with the bolia (fat skin tissue) in one piece.
1 ½ glasses of glacé rice (pudding rice, in Greek γλασέ)
2 spoonfuls of vegetable butter or other sort of cooking butter
1 big bulbing onion
1 bunch of green onions
1 bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped or a fair quantity of dried mintSome finely chopped dill
2 glasses of water
1 beaten egg
4-5 potatoes cut in rather big pieces (for the oven)
Wash thoroughly the entrails and blanch it. Keep one glass of the juice. Chop the entrails in very small pieces.
Wash the bolia very well and leave it in hot (not very hot) water. It will expanded and turn to a fine membrane.
Peel the green onions, wash them and cut them in small dices (1 cm approximately). Afterwards, peel the other onion, wash it and grate it.
Melt the butter over a slow heat in a deep pan, then add the onions, entrails and brown them a lititle. Afterwards, ass the rice and mix all the ingredients. Add the finely chopped herbs and the juice you had kept aside in the beginning. Stop the heat and keep mixing until the juice is absorbed. Place the mixture in the center of a baking dish. Take the skepi or bolia and stretch it as much as possible. Cover, rather wrap the mixture with the fatty tissue so to as to form a "parcel" placing the extremities underneath. Peel, wash, cut the potatoes, put salt and pepper on them and place them in the baking dish around the "parcel".
Add two glasses of hot water (pouring it from the sides of the pan). Spread the egg on the sarmas and then put the dish in the oven over a medium heat for 1 hour approximately.