Menites Pork Festival

A Menites vista
A Menites vista. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek

On Sunday 6 October 2013, a few of us attended the third and final day of the Menites Pork Festival.

Beatrice McLoughlin, who has lived and worked in Andros over many years while doing Zagora research, and has her finger on the pulse of Andros, told us about the Menites Pork Festival about the time that I discovered that Menites is where the Zagora team stayed in the 1970s (see the post about the remarkable connection with 1970s Zagora photographer Raymond de Berquelle).

The community gathers together annually for the Pork Festival in Menites. They slaughter a pig, and then, together, butcher it, and make sausages out of it. They and guests eat some of the sausages during the Festival, and store the remaining sausage in tins, sealed with pork fat. This provides an effective preservative.

Crowd in the cafe courtyard on the last day of the three-day Menites Pork Festival
The crowd, including members of the Zagora 2013 team, in the cafe courtyard on the last day of the three-day Menites Pork Festival. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek

Beatrice got to Menites on Friday 4 October, in time to see the sausage-making and storing. Beatrice wondered whether this event may go right back to Zagora settlement times for we know that the Zagorans used large storage vessels, pithoi, which were usually nested in holes in stone benches set against walls in the rooms of the houses. New analysis methods (testing of the ceramic material) may reveal in the future what food or drink may have been stored in these pithoi, and whether pork sausage or other meat may have been one of those foods.

We arrived as the Festival was coming to an end. But, in the spirit of generosity which we have encountered everywhere here on Andros, we were warmly welcomed and treated to some of the very tasty sausages.

A plate of pork, pork sausage and chips at the three-day Pork Festival at Menites
A plate of pork, pork sausage and chips at the three-day Pork Festival at Menites. The sausages were fantastically flavoursome. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
Crowd in the cafe courtyard on the last day of the three-day Menites Pork Festival
The crowd in the cafe courtyard on the last day of the three-day Menites Pork Festival. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
Members of the Zagora 2013 team by the Menites cafe which hosted the three-day Pork Festival. From left: Sue Jorgenson, Kristen Mann, Antonio Bianco (with back to camera), Sami Beaumont-Cankaya, Peter Londey
Members of the Zagora 2013 team by the Menites cafe which hosted the three-day Pork Festival. From left: Sue Jorgenson, Kristen Mann, Antonio Bianco (with back to camera), Sami Beaumont-Cankaya, Peter Londey. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
The corner of the cafe.
The corner of the cafe. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
Members of the Zagora 2013 team in the Menites cafe courtyard. From left: Antonio Bianco, Peter Londey, Kristen Mann, Paul Donnelly, Sami Beaumont-Cankaya, Sue Jorgenson and Lea Alexopoulos
Members of the Zagora 2013 team in the Menites cafe courtyard. From left: Antonio Bianco, Peter Londey, Kristen Mann, Paul Donnelly, Sami Beaumont-Cankaya, Sue Jorgenson and Lea Alexopoulos. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
Building at the end of the street at Menites
A relatively new house incorporating traditional materials and designs (including a dovecote) at the end of the street at Menites (only about 50 metres from where the Pork Festival was held). We know this house did not exist in the mid 1970s when the Zagora team of the time stayed in Menites (see the post about 1970s Zagora photographer, Raymond de Berquelle). © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
Building at the end of the street at Menites
The end of the street at Menites slopes down to a lush valley with the refreshing sound of running fresh water. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
Building at the end of the street at Menites
The building at the end of the street at Menites; I can’t get enough of this beautiful stonework. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
A Menites vista
A Menites vista.
The lion head fountain at Menites
One of the lion head spouts in the fountain at Menites which is below the church.

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