Local food and wine

Apart from the famous sunsets, the volcano and the wonderful views, Santorini’s local food and wine will complete your travel experience and leave you with the best taste in your mouth and memories in your mind!

Santorini’s cuisine is tasty and healthy, combining traditional recipes with fresh ingredients produced on the island.

Local products

Fava (yellow beans) produced in Santorini is known as the best in Greece.

Chery tomatoes (tomatinia) are another local product with excellent sweet taste and flavour. The tomatoes produced are also of high quality and some of the best tomato industries of Greece with worldwide exports were located in Santorini.

The caper is small green bean with a salty taste, also produced locally, usually added to the greek salads.

The white eggplant is a different kind of eggplant which grows in Santorini, with sweet taste and unique flavour.

Local Dishes

Fava is a traditional dish made of fava beans produced in Santorini. It is a kind of puree with yellow colour, usually topped with olive oil, fresh tomato and onion. It is mainly served as a starter, but locals eat it also as a main dish.

Tomatokeftedes are fried balls made of tomatoes, herbs and flour, served as a starter. You definitely have to try them!

Greek salad made of local tomatoes, cucumber, onion, pepper, caper, feta (white cheese), olive oil and oregano can accompany every dish. The taste of the fresh ingredients make it unique.

Eggplants and courgettes are fried or baked with other vegetables, like peppers, in red sauce.

Saganaki is fried or grilled cheese, very tasty, served as an appetizer.

Mousaka is a traditional greek dish, made of eggplants, potatoes, minced meat and white sauce.

Pastitsio is a mix of minced meat with tomatoes, pasta and cheese under a béchamel sauce.

The famous Tzatziki is also served at the restaurants and can accompany almost all dishes. It is made of yogurt, cucumber and garlic and gives a fresh taste to meat and fried food.

Lamb, pork and veal are also cooked in white or red sauce or baked in the oven with potatoes.

Souvlaki is a popular street food found in all over Greece, sometimes served also in grill tavernas. It comprises of a pita (a kind of wrapper) filled with pieces of pork meat or gyros or chicken, with tomato, onion, tzatziki and fried potatoes. It is a tasty and relatively healthy food which can fill your stomach every hour of the day.

Last but not least, don’t forget to try the fresh fish and seafood catches . Small fish like atherina, marida and gavros is served fried, sardelles are very nice grilled, as well as all the big fish. Calamari and prawns are fried or grilled, while lobster is grilled or cooked with pasta. Octopus is grilled or boiled and served with olive oil, vinegar and oregano.

You can taste all the local specialties in one of the many restaurants on the island, or you can buy fresh ingredients from a grocery store or super market and prepare an easy meal on your own.

Restaurants are obliged to mention when the fish food is frozen and not fresh and the price varies accordingly. Big fish and lobster are usually sold by weight.

Tip

Try the tomato balls (tomatokeftedes) and vinsanto wine. Take a few bottles of local wine back home to remind you your holidays!

Desserts

For those having a sweet tooth, there is a variety of Greek desserts served along with the widely known international sweets.

Loukoumades are small fried balls, served hot and topped traditionally with honey and nuts, but you can choose chocolate praline if you prefer.

Baklava is a pastry made of various layers of thin filo, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup.

Kataifi is made of kataifi fyllo, filled with almonds or cashews and soaked in a sugar or honey syrup.

Bougatsa is a sweet pie, filled with a white cream and topped with cinnamon and sugar, eaten usually for breakfast. You can find it in bakeries and coffee shops.

Creamy Greek yogurt topped with honey and nuts or fruits is often served for breakfast or after lunch/dinner.

Frozen yogurt is a tasty and light dessert, served usually in specialised shops with a variety of toppings, like fruits, biscuits, nuts etc. It is made of Greek yogurt and is a good alternative to ice cream.

Ice cream lovers will not be disappointed as there are small ice cream shops spread everywhere across the island.

Santorini Wines

Santorini’s wine making tradition dates back to the ancient times. The combination of the special ecosystem that was created by the volcanic eruptions during the years, the climate conditions and the influence of other cultures like the Venetians has given to Santorini’s wines unique characteristics and made them famous worldwide for their high quality.

An important part of Santorini’s wine making history over the years is represented by Vinsanto, a sweet wine made from sun-dried grapes, which was especially famous during the Byzantine years when the Venetians controlled the trade routes of the Mediterranean. The name Vinsanto is Italian and derives from the words “vino” (wine) and “santo” (Santorini).

Grape varieties

The most popular white grape variety of Santorini is Assyrtiko, which is a high acid grape full of citrus and mineral flavors. Other local white grape varieties are Athiri, one of the most ancient Greek grape varieties that produces medium-bodied wines with delicate aromatic qualities and Aidani which produces pleasantly aromatic wines with medium body and nice acidity.

The red grade varieties of Santorini are Mavrotragano that produces wines of deep red color and a complex range of flavors and Mandilaria, a black-skinned red grape commonly grown on other Greek islands too.

Classified Wines

There is a number of classified wines that are produced on the island of Santorini containing the local varieties:

Santorini
Dry white wine which must contain a minimum of 75% Assyrtiko, with the remaining percentage allowed from Athiri and Aidani.

Nykteri
Dry white wine which must contain a minimum of 75% Assyrtiko, with the remaining percentage allowed from Athiri and Aidani. Nykteri wines must be aged in oak for a minimum of three months.

Vinsanto
Naturally sweet wine, which must be of at least 51% Assyrtiko with the remaining percentage allowed from Athiri and Aidani and some small amounts of locally grown native white varieties. It is made from late harvested grapes, sun dried for 12-14 days, then crushed and fermented and aged for a minimum of 24 months in oak barrels.

Other Wines

Other wines produced by local varieties:

Mezzo
Naturally semi-sweet wine made from Santorini’s white or red grapes similar to Vinsanto. It is a commonly produced wine not part of Greece’s classification system.

There is also a small production of dry red wines made from the red grape varieties of Santorini.

If you want to taste Santorini’s wines you can order bottled or house wines in most of the restaurants across the island, the latter being more inexpensive but still of a good quality. For a better and in depth wine experience you can visit some of Santorini local wineries or take an organized wine tasting tour.

Other Local Drinks

A famous Greek drink that you can also find plenty on Santorini and can accompany your lunch or dinner is Ouzo. It is an aniseed drink served on ice which turns it from transparent to milky white and best accompanies sea food. It has a high degree of alcohol, so you might want to mix it with water. Greeks often drink ouzo by the sea, any time of the day, always accompanied by a variety of appetizers or a full meal.

Tsipouro, tsikoudia or raki. A strong distilled spirit containing 40-45% alcohol by volume that is produced from the residue of the wine press. You can find tsipouro pure or anise-flavored and you can enjoy it cold by the sea accompanying your sea food.

If you need a hot drink to keep you warm from the Aegean breeze you can mix hot raki with honey and produce the sweet spirit known as Rakomelo. Rakomelo is usually consumed by the Greeks during the evening hours.

If you are a beer lover, you can even find local beers produced in the island, by Volkan and Santorini Brewing Company.

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