Stemnitsa – The mountainous region of Arcadia, Greece.
We just finished shooting another episode of my travel cooking show “The List”…
The shootings for the show were demanding and difficult. We would start shooting in the morning at 6.00 am and we would finish late at night.
This was such an amazingly beautiful place. Mountains, lots of water, wild nature, “rough” people who weren’t to be messed with. They were difficult to get to close to and certainly difficult to accept you into their community. But! Once they get to like you they accept you as one of their own and their cautionary stance quickly turns into a big warm hug!
When you are working so hard and are far from home accommodations are very important. The place where you will be a guest, the bed you lay on at night, the breakfast that will be served and the smile from the people that will greet you makes a world of difference!
We were extremely lucky with our accommodations in Stemnitsa. We stayed at a beautiful guest house called the “Mpelleiko” overlooking the whole village. It was built facing the East and the view of the village as well as the Lousiou river canyon was breathtaking.
Nena with here scrumptious breakfasts, homemade marmalades made with Sambuca, Raspberries with chocolate, oven baked omelets with wild mushrooms, honey made from pine and Erica manipuliflora – I haven’t had such rich tasting honey in years!- and homemade whole wheat bread that is so fresh and tasty that you just can’t seem to stop eating it!
Of course I have to mention her mom, Mrs. Koula who helped us so much not only with her knowledge of traditional local recipes, all her cookware we borrowed for the shoot (If you are reading this Mrs. Koula I know that I still owe you your favorite bowl!) but also with her help in preparing the food for the episode that was desperately needed! What more can I say but…. a big huge... Thank you! :-)
Another great place that greeted us with so much warmth and helped us with everything was the old school Greek café “The Elders” (“Η Γερουσία”). The help that Akis (same name as me!) and his wife offered us was truly priceless and they did it all with a huge smile and so much love! They were tireless! Not to mention all the spectacular sweets they offer that also helped keep us going! If you ever visit this beautiful place you absolutely HAVE to try their short bread type cookies called “Kourabiedes” that are sensational! I must have eaten a ton of them as well as endless kilos of pistachio nuts! :-)
Whenever you happen to find yourselves in this area please visit these two picturesque places that you will simply adore!