On the Cycladic islands, in the heart of the Aegean, local products reign supreme, tantalizing the palate and other sensory organs as well. From the sun-soaked vineyards to the fertile soils, this region boasts an array of culinary treasures that beautifully complement its renowned wines. These islands are a haven for food enthusiasts seeking an authentic taste of Greece, and it’s impossible to overlook the significance of the local agricultural products that grace the dining tables here.
The sundried tomatoes of Santorini, famous for their intense flavor and unique sweetness, pair harmoniously with the island’s crisp and mineral-rich Assyrtiko wine. The bright acidity and vibrant citrus notes of the wine provide the perfect balance to the tomato’s rich character.
On Paros, the island’s famous cheese, the aromatic and tangy Xinotyro, takes center stage. This delightful cheese, made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, finds its perfect companion in the delicate and refreshing white variety Monemvasia. The wine’s floral aromas and fruit flavors elegantly elevate the creamy and slightly salty Xinotyro, creating a delightful harmony on the palate.
Syros, the capital of the Cyclades, offers culinary gems that are sure to captivate your taste buds. The island’s louza, a cured pork
delicacy infused with fragrant spices, pairs exquisitely with a robust and velvety local red wine, whose dark fruit flavors and hints of spices complement the savory and aromatic profile of the meat.
Tinos also boasts an array of delectable local products. One standout is the flavorful artichoke, a prized vegetable cultivated on the island. Tinos artichokes, with their tender hearts and delicate, slightly nutty flavor, pair beautifully with a crisp and vibrant white wine such as a refreshing Assyrtiko, either from Tinos itself or from nearby Santorini. The wine’s zesty acidity and mineral undertones complement the artichoke’s subtle bitterness and earthy notes.
In addition to artichokes, Tinos is well known for its exceptional cheeses, particularly the piquant Volaki and the tangy Kopanisti. These cheeses go wonderfully well with a dry white wine, such as a wellchilled Malagouzia or a lively Assyrtiko. The wine’s fruit forward profile and crisp acidity cut through the cheeses’ richness, enhancing their flavors and providing a delightful contrast. Kariki, on the other hand, is a blue cheese that needs a full-bodied Mavrotragano or an oxidative Rozaki.
The island of Naxos is renowned for, among other delicacies, for its highquality cheeses, including its famous Graviera Naxou, a delicious hard cheese with a distinctive flavor. When it comes to wine pairing with Graviera Naxou, you’ll want to choose a wine that complements its rich and savory characteristics. Assyrtiko, known for its vibrant acidity and mineral notes, can successfully cut through the creaminess of the cheese.
Naxos is also the home of a unique traditional liqueur, Kitro Naxou. Made from the leaves of the citron tree, Kitro Naxou has a distinctly refreshing flavor. Its production, which involves careful distillation and blending techniques, results in a delightful and aromatic drink.
There are three varieties of Kitro Naxou: green, yellow, and clear. Each version offers its own characteristics and taste profile. Green Kitro has a vibrant and herbal flavor, while the yellow variety is slightly sweeter and fruitier. Clear Kitro, on the other hand, provides a pure and intense citron taste. These varieties aren’t just enjoyed on their own; they appear as key ingredients in various cocktails and mixed drinks. The versatility of Kitrou Naxou means it goes well with a wide range of flavors, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Visitors to the island should not leave without exploring the production process for Kitro Naxou, and then tasting the results, too.