Santorini’s cuisine is mainly based on the traditional agricultural products with a unique taste grown in the volcanic soil of the island. Here are the 5 most traditionally grown products on the island:
Santorian cherry tomato: The cultivation of cherry tomatoes is widely spread out in Santorini. The volcanic island is one of the few places on the Old Continent where still seed hybrids are not used at all but only original indigenous plant seeds. The climate and natural conditions on the island (the volcanic fertile soil, sparse rainfall, strong winds and high temperatures) contribute a lot to the concentrated taste and aromas of the “baby tomatoes” (sometimes they can be as small as a cherry in size) that are commonly used as a cooking ingredient. A well-known meal made of the tomatina is “tomatokeftedes” (meatless meat balls made of cherry tomatoes, herbs and butter).
Fava-split peas: Fava is among the specialties of the island. It is of better quality and with a more intense taste than the other varieties grown in other parts of Greece and the Mediterranean region as a whole. The main reason for this is the volcanic terrain as well as the very little amount of humidity in the ground. Fava lentils that are native to the island are dark yellow split peas and their taste reminds of dried fruits. They are basic raw materials on the island and one of the most used traditionally cultivated products in the local 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.
White eggplants: Another unique vegetable of the island of Santoring is the small, white eggplant with a very rich taste and mild flesh. It is usually called the “apple of love” but some refer to it as “that crazy apple”. As whole, it is known to the world as “melitzana” (eggplant). This particularly tasty, sweet, juicy and delicious vegetable is cultivated in the volcanic fertile soil on the island and needs no watering. It is also an ingredient widely used in the local cuisine due to the fact that it doesn’t absorb oil.
Chloro fresh cheese (“hloró tyrí”): Santorinian cheese is known under the brand “Chloro”. Hloró tyrí is a special kind of fresh goat cheese with a creamy texture and a slightly sour taste prepared according to a traditional recipe. In the first place, milking should be in the morning or late in the afternoon. After that milk is heated in order to get pasteurized. Adding a special thickener called “pytia” is the next step. In the end, 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 has not thickened yet.
Wines: 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.