Taygetus Greek: Ταΰγετος, also Taigetos is a mountain range of the Peloponnesus, Southern Greece, extending about 65 miles (100 km) north from the southern end of Cape Matapan in the Mani Peninsula. It rises to about 7,900 ft (2,410 m) at Mt. Hagios Ilias (Mt. St. Elias or Prophitis Elias). The mountain is named after Taygete. In Byzantine times and up until the 19th century, the mountain was known as Pentedaktylos (Greek for five-fingered). The mountain range includes the prefectures of Arcadia, Laconia and Messenia. The highest peak of the mountain is known for displaying the approximate shape of a pyramid. A church of the prophet Elias (προφήτης Ηλίας) is located near the peak. European walking route E4 also leads there. The valley of the Evrotas River lies to the east, while the Ionian Sea lies to the south and west along with the Gulf of Kalamata or the Messenian Gulf and Arcadia to the north. Almost all of the Evrotas valley, the Parnon Mountains and half of Laconia can be seen from the eastern slope. The western slopes panorama includes Kalamata and the eastern half of Messenia. Most of the southwestern part of Arcadia can also be seen. The central part of the mountain range is commonly called «Skoteini Plevra» which means «the dark side» because the villages that are in the Taygettus don’t receive as much sunshine, especially in the morning and the pre-dusk hours. Much of the area is forested and in higher areas, deforested with grasslands, meadows and flowers. The area receives sunshine only during the afternoon hours. The length is about 4 to 5 km and the width is approximately 1 km. (courtesy Wikipedia)

Why was I taking pictures of Taygettus Mountain?  Well, I am sure that all of you who are not of Greek origin, do not know that Greece had Pyramids even before the ancient Egyptians. The pyramid of Taygettus is visible without the use of binoculars but in this picture it is not very clear as I took it from the car and from far away. I am giving you a few links and if you are intrigued you may read all about this. One of these pyramids is visible from the road towards Sparta and it is more clear during winter when there is snow on it. Although the Pyramid of Taygetus is disputed, the others are not but the Greek government instead of restoring them have left them to total destruction as the pyramid near Argos which a few decades back was in a very good condition.

When I went to Sparta last week I bought some oregano from there. I usually buy a lot more but my sister-in-law told me that this week they plan to go and pick some from the Mountain and will send me some.

When collecting oregano, the best way to remove it from the twigs is to put it in a plastic bag and then rub the leaves otherwise you will prick your fingers on the twigs.

Olive oil and oregano from Taygettus is a special treat.

Fetes Psomi me Ladi

Fetes me psomi kai ladi is the Greek version of bruschetta.   The best way to use your leftover bread is to toast it or grill it.  Then wet it with olive oil (my husband adds a loooooot!), sprinkle oregano and salt and you’ll have the BEST bread you’ve ever eaten.  It is perfect for a quick snack or accompaniment to drinks like ouzo, zivania or just a glass of wine.

Top it with some of your favourite ingredients and the mezedaki is ready.

 

Ladolemono, which literally means oil and lemon, is a salad dressing/sauce we use in Greece for grilled fish, grilled meat and over our vegetables.

Add an equal amount of olive oil and lemon juice and add salt, and oregano. Oregano is the basic aromatic herb for this dressing and even in Greece the Greeks look for oregano which originate from a few places such as Crete, the Mount of Taygettus, and the island of Allonissos, because of its wonderful fragrance. If you add this oregano in the oil and lemon dressing no other ingredient is necessary as this enhances the flavour of the fish or meat.

However, this is a quite versatile recipe and can vary depending with what you want to serve it with.

Vlita (amaranth) for example, are usually served with olive oil, lemon (or vinegar), garlic, oregano, and pepper.

When there are ingredients like garlic, fennel or capers in ladolemono it is best to blend them in a food processor.

Ladolemono (Olive Oil and Lemon Dressing)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano or thyme

Optional:

  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Chopped garlic
  • Capers
  • Fennel

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a container with an airtight lid and shake well so that the end result is a creamy dressing.

Shake or stir before using, as the oil will separate.

This and many more recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in my e-cookbook.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Ladolemono Dressing with Extra Virgin Olive oil and Oregano from Mount Taygettus, in Lakonia

  1. Ο/Η Psychgrad λέει:

    I’ve been growing some Greek oregano. But I think I’ve pretty much killed it. It didn’t like the growing conditions in my house (not to mention going unwatered while I was away).

    The grilled bread looks like a great snack or side dish.

  2. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    My dream is to have a house with a garden where I can grow my own vegetables and herbs. Unfortunately I just have a few pots with herbs.

  3. Ο/Η glamah16 λέει:

    As a child when I first started cooking, Oregano was my first and still remains my favorite herb.

  4. Ο/Η Cakelaw λέει:

    What a wonderful, informative post. I certainly didn’t know that the Greeks had pyramids before the Egyptians. Thanks Ivy!

  5. Ο/Η Passionate About Baking λέει:

    O Ivy…what wouldn't I give to be at the mountains picking oregano off twigs…BLISS! The oregano we get here is a dollar for something like 4 tbsps & it tastes like nothing on Earth! Love the mountains & the tale of the Pyramids too…nice dressing too. xoxoxo

  6. Ο/Η Shreya λέει:

    Ivy, what an awesome post.. really liked the pics.. breads look great with the olive oil..

  7. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Glamah, will you believe when I first came to Greece I didn’t like oregano and my mother-in-law used to cook as usual adding oregano to some of her dishes and I though it was awful, but now I love it.

    Cake, even a lot of Greeks do not know about the existence of the pyramids because they are not visitable.

    Deeba, thanks. Wow, is it that expensive? The same applies here as well for spices from other countries.

    Shreya, welcome and thanks for your lovely comment.

  8. Ο/Η Lore λέει:

    Toasted bread with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of oregano will make anyone feel like they’re in heaven. Yum-yum!

  9. Ο/Η Rosie λέει:

    What a mind blowing post Ivy – sheer heaven picking oregano from a wonderful mountian place!!

    I adore this herb and as Lore says toasted bread with a drizzle of olive oil and oregano just perfect!!

    Its great to be back and many thanks sweetie for your lovely comment on my blog – hugs your way……

    Rosie x

  10. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Lore, it is great, isn’t it?

    Rosie, I am so glad you are back. You were missed all this time.

  11. Ο/Η JennDZ - The Leftover Queen λέει:

    Wow Ivy I didn’t know about the pyramids in Greece! How interesting! Thank you for the links. Also Ladolemono, I love it – I use this type of dressing all the time, but I didn’t know there was a name for it! Hah! Now I can sound very cultured when people ask what kind of dressing it is!

  12. Ο/Η Sam Sotiropoulos λέει:

    Ivy a very informative post! Did you know my wife is from the Mt. Taygetus area of Sparti? We have bags and bags of oregano from the area as someone always brings back some from Greece. As for the pyramids, I am aware of them, esp. the one purported to be at the peak of Mt. Taygetus, as well as the one on the road to Argos; very interesting stuff indeed! And thank you for your kind words regarding my Vlita posting. As I am from Arcadia (like your husband!), I usually prepare Vlita much as you present here with a latholemono sauce so we’re on the same page! they are a healthy accompaniment to any meal, esp. fish and even make good eating as a saled on its own. Keep up the great work. :)

  13. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Jenn, at least you will impress the Greeks (lol).

  14. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Thanks Sam for your kind words. It means a lot coming from you.

  15. Ο/Η Lisa λέει:

    Thanks for this entry Ivy. Sounds like a very refreshing dressing.

  16. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Thanks Lisa.

  17. Ο/Η Aparna λέει:

    Learnt a bit reading your post.
    I would love to have a herb garden myself but even finding the plants is a problem here.:( But I’m working on it.
    I’m definitely trying oregano and olive oil on bread.

  18. Ο/Η Bellini Valli λέει:

    That is fascinating about the Greek pyramids sis!!! One of those little known facts to tourists. Our local Italian grocers sells Greek oregano still on the stalks.

  19. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Sis, another new word for me to learn. Stalks. Thanks.

  20. Ο/Η Peter G λέει:

    I’m glad I read this Ivy…you really are a wealth of information. It’s a pleasure to read others work when so much effort goes into it. I really had no idea about the pyramids and Taygettus…very interesting. The ladi and rigani I’m very familiar with as this is the region my parents are from…And ladolemono is truly the best! I have taught many Australians about using it on their barbecued meats!….A wonderful medley of info Ivy.

  21. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Peter, I thought you would like reading this and I am glad I have contributed a little bit to make this known, even to a few people.

  22. Ο/Η Best Olive Oil in NZ λέει:

    mmmmm that bread looks good enough to eat !!! :)
    thanks for posting that recipe

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