Made in Santorini

196 Made in SantoriniThe cuisine of the Cycladic Sky-blue-white is mainly based on local agricultural products with a very unique taste. All of them are grown in the volcanic soil of the island and they are specific for the island group consisting of about 2200 islands, islets and rocks in the Aegean Sea. If you visit the Island of Santorini itself, surely, you will have the chance to taste the traditional products grown there no matter it will be when you sit for a meal at a typical Hellenic taverna or buy them at one of the numerous shops spread out around the island. So which are these five unique Santorian products?

Let’s start with Santorini cherry tomato. The cultivation of cherry tomatoes is widely popular on the island. It is one of the few places on the European continent where still seed hybrids are not used at all but only original indigenous plant seeds. In other words said, Santorinian cherry tomatoes are wholly bio-products. On the other hand, the climate and natural conditions on the island (if we have to be more specific, the volcanic fertile soil, sparse rainfall, strong winds and high temperatures) are great contributors for the concentrated taste and aromas of the “baby tomatoes”. Why did I say “baby tomatoes”? Because from time to time they can be as tiny as cherries in size. Locals use them as inseparable cooking ingredients and especially, this tomatina is always used for the preparation of “tomatokeftedes” (these are meatless meat-balls made of cherry tomatoes, herbs and butter). Mmmm … yummy-yummy 🙂 You should try them. 🙂

Next come Fava-split peas. Known simply as Fava, it is among the specialties of the island. I can assure you It is of much better quality and with a more intense taste than the other varieties grown in other parts of Hellas and the Mediterranean region as a whole. And why? Because of the volcanic terrain in Santorini as well as the very little humidity in the ground. Fava lentils are native to the island. They are dark yellow split peas and their taste reminds of dried fruits. They are also basic raw materials on the island and archipelago and one of the most used locally cultivated products in the traditional cuisine. The most famous local plate which is also called Fava is a puree that is made of these beans, olive oil, onion and some lemon.

Have you seen and tasted white eggplants? I myself hadn’t before going to Santorini. What is so specific with them? They are with a very rich taste and mild flesh. These particularly tasty, sweet, juicy and delicious unique vegetables are cultivated in the volcanic fertile soils in Santorini and they need no watering. They are widely used as a cooking ingredient in Santorini cuisine as they don’t absorb oil. Last thing here. White eggplants are known to the world as “melitzana” but don’t get confused if locals call it “apple of love” or “crazy apple”.

What’s a country without the production of cheese, especially when it comes to Hellas? Why am I saying “especially Hellas”? Because the country is particularly known for its Feta made from sheep’s milk. There is another brand here in Santorini. It is “Chloro” (or “hloró tyrí”). This Chloro fresh cheese is made from goat’s milk. It’s fresh and with a creamy texture.  As to its taste, it is slightly sour. Moreover, it is special since it’s prepared as per a local recipe. And what’s that recipe? Firstly, milking should be early in the morning or late in the afternoon. After that milk is heated in order to get pasteurized. Next step is to add a special and specific thickener which is called “pytia”. And finally, the whole mixture should get drained in a special draining material so that it can get rid of any extra liquids or of the milk that hasn’t thickened yet.

In the end, we shall talk about Santorini wine. Apart from the diversity of local products, the island of Santorini is one of the Cycladic islands of great importance to wine production. Due to the unique combination of microclimate (the dry summer and high temperatures during daytime in summer months and the “meltemia”, etesian, strong winds) and volcanic terrain peculiarities of the island has turned it into one of the most famous wine-producing regions worldwide. Assyrtiko, Athyri, Aidani, Mantilaria and Mavrotragano are among the most distinctive and characteristic varieties that are worth tasting in Santorini. Cheers, guys. 🙂


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