Are you ready to simply forget what you thought good food and exquisite cuisine was all about? You are on the island of Santorini, where the mouthwatering local gastronomy streams from the uniqueness of the ingredients. Gastronomy is a big part of the island’s culture, as it is inextricably linked to its volcanic environment and history.
There’s nothing like relishing a regional cuisine at its geographical heart and those who choose to stay at Santorini this summer will understand why the island’s simple yet sophisticated gastronomic traditions have traveled well beyond the caldera cliff edge to culinary capitals all over the world. Due to its fertile, volcanic ash soil, Santorini cultivates unique and award-winning products. As a result, the excellent quality of the agricultural products became well known all over the world.
Trace Santorini’s culinary evolution from ancient times to today, to reveal the uniqueness of the island’s products – from its small-scale farmed fruit, vegetables and legumes to the aromatic, crisp white wines quietly snapping up awards across the globe.
Unique Local Products
Santorini Fava Beans: Fava is the most traditional and famous product of the island which is being cultivated in Santorini for centuries and grows exclusively in the island. It is a protected designation of origin product that comes from the plant Lathyrus Clymenum. Santorini Fava has very high nutritional value as it is rich in proteins and carbohydrates. A legume in the size of sand grain, it is cooked as a purée. You will have the chance to taste it in various recipes in taverns all around the island.
Cherry tomatoes: Santorini tomatoes are renowned; they are not bigger than a cherry, hard hulled yet extremely tasty and sweet, and with an intensely red, staining colour. The cultivated variety is anhydrous and bushy. As a result, the flavor of the tomato paste produced by the Santorini tomato is also unique.
Caper: This shrub grows on the steep slopes of the caldera above the traditional terraces of the island. The blossoms and the leaves are collected from wild capers, hence they have a more intense aroma and a more spicy taste. They are used in salads or spicy salads, both fresh and dried.
White aubergines: Due to the volcanic soil, the worldwide unique white eggplant, unlike the usual, does not have the same bitterness as aubergines. On the contrary it is sweet, juicy, mild fleshed, has few seeds and can be eaten raw. This variety arrived to the island from Egypt together with the rich families who dominated the economic life of Santorini during the beginning of the previous century.
Katsouni: A type of cucumber that is very tasty thanks to the microclimate and the terrain’s composition.
Watermelon: The variety of watermelon that grows in Santorini is round, dark and smaller than usual, with many seeds and an excellent taste.
Wine: Wine is an integral part of Greek culture from antiquity until today. If there was ever an island worthy of the nickname “the wine island”, then it is undoubtedly Santorini. Santorini self-root vineyard, a 3,500 years old world monument, perhaps the oldest vines in Europe. The best known wines produced in Santorini are Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Brusko, Mayrotragano, Nykteri, Vinsanto. Don’t miss out on the chance to visit the open to the public wineries and the wine museum and do a little wine tasting!
Local ‘Must” Tastes
Tomatokeftedes: In Santorini, the food specialty is “Tomatokeftedes”, a sort of mint-scented fried tomato fritter, always from the sweet cherry tomatoes, shaped in balls.
“Married” Fava: An authentic dish of the island is heated up fava combined with sizzled onions and fresh oil, garnished with capers.
Chloro goat cheese: It’s a cream cheese, produced by the oldest women of Santorini. It’s hard to find it in tavernas and restaurants; look for it in a free market, it’s worth a try!
Delicacies with white eggplant: The white eggplant is much less bitter than regular eggplant. It also has less seeds and absorbs less oil when fried. You should try it in Melitzanosalata, a kind of traditional salad puree and eggplant rolls stuffed with cheese.
Bradada: Fresh cod with tomato sauce that was imported to the island’s traditions by the Venetians, in the Middle Times. Delicious and special!
Melitinia Cookies: Melitinia are the local the treats of marriage, engagements and festivals. They are made of sweet cheese and yogurt and have a scent of mastic. You can find them in the traditional bakeries of the island.