Santorini, Delicious Destination
Santorini, like all the Cyclades, offers a diverse and delicious cuisine. While its arid volcanic landscape does not lend itself to the production of a wide variety of products, it does provide some distinct and incomparable flavors and original recipes. Residents are well aware there is no need to look elsewhere when everything is available at home.
Sweet cherry tomatoes, beans, barley, white eggplants, zucchini, capers (whose leaves are also added to salads) and mint are all typical products served with lamb or rabbit - not to mention the essential moussaka (eggplant gratin), fava (bean purée) and pseftokeftedes (meatballs with vegetables and spices).
You should also try the fresh grilled fish or octopus salad. Everywhere tavernas and other typical bars offer Greek salad and souvlaki (meat kabobs). Cafés serve gyros (spit-roasted meat) served in pitas with salad and tzatziki, a garlicky yogurt sauce.
Meletenia is Santorini's best-known dessert. It is a flaky pastry filled with cheese and egg, covered with mastiha, a kind of sweet resin.
If you are partial to simply grilled fresh fish, then head for the Skaramagas taverna in Monolithos, on the east coast. This taverna is run by a family of fishermen who go out to sea twice a day. Halaris Vagelis, the boss, will take you out in his boat
In Santorini the 100% organic tomatoes will delight every lover of this fruit. Discover authentic tomato flavor with a visit to Petros Ikonomou, who specializes in the little "love apple" that he grows near the archeological site of Akrotiri. His dried tomatoes and tomato jams are outstanding and grace the shelves of Europe's finest specialty food shops.
The main local grape variety, white Assyrtiko, is grown here according to an ancestral method of "basket-shaped" pruning, and produces a number of varieties from which different wines are made, including Vinsanto (delicious muscat) and Nykteri (a renowned wine whose name comes from the fact the grapes are picked at night). The long vine branches are curled up on the ground to protect the bunches from being burnt by the sun and sand-laden winds. The vines, widely spaced from each other, are all carefully tended and produce only very few grapes, which explains the density and aromatic richness of the wines. Sometimes one can perceive a slightly "salty" taste in them. Indeed, it can happen that salt is deposited by sea mists on the skin of the grapes, in infinitesimal quantities, admittedly, but enough for the plant to absorb and for traces to be found in the wine. This is also part of the charm of Santorini's wines!
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