Lesvos a blessed place, full of colours, flavours and aromas will take you to an unforgettable trip to taste, with unique gastronomic combinations made of pure traditional materials of exceptional taste.
Olive oil – olives
It is difficult to imagine Lesvos without its olive trees glimmering under the light of sun. The olive tree is its symbol, as its olive oil is famous for its exceptional quality, being awarded with many prizes in international and national fairs. Incomparable in taste and aroma, the olive oil of Lesvos is characterised by the flowing texture, the unique, subtle golden yellow colour, its pleasant aroma and its delicate flavor. The local varieties which have a low chlorophyll content and the traditional way of olive harvesting, allow Lesvos olive oil to be well preserved through time. There are more than 11 million olive trees on the island, cultivated mainly in mountain or semi mountain areas with dry poor soil. This particularity of its culture, gives Lesvos’ olive oil its wonderful flavor and aroma.
As for Lesvos’ olives, they have a rich taste and found in many types such as roupada, green crashed olives, semi-ripe olives, non-bitter and slit olives in salt water, fresh, black, wrinkled and salted, or with vinegar and lemon slices.
Besides the essence of the sea, perhaps the most typical essence of the island is that of aniseed from its ouzo. Centuries ago, Lesvos, with plenty of sunshine and an exceptional variety of aniseed and other aromatic herbs, gave birth and incorporated to its tradition the production of the aromatic drink called ouzo.
Lesvos’ ouzo has a history of at least 200 years. In 1800 it was already well known on the island and it is a brand product with exports mainly to countries of the East. It is mainly used as an aperitif, straight or with water or ice. It perfectly accompanies traditional side dishes and sea food. Today, there are many distilleries with a strong presence on the local market as well as abroad, competing with the most famous spirits in taste.
In antiquity Lesvos wine was in high demand. Especially the wine of Mithymna was so famous that people called it “Nectar of the Olympian Gods”. Today, some people are active on the island producing high quality wine, while some wineries produce organic wine.
Sardine of Kalloni
If you want to taste a meal full of Lesvos’ aroma you should include sardine of Kalloni, which, either fresh or salt-cured, will earn your preference with its delicious taste. Its quality is related to its growing conditions in the Gulf of Kalloni. The ideal temperature and the great variety of its food give it this special flavor. “Papalina”, as locals call it, is small in size and fat. Every year, in Skala of Kalloni, the Feast of Sardine is organised with plenty of drink and dancing…
Fish & Shells
Besides the well-known sardine of Kalloni, you will also enjoy a great variety of fresh fish such as “koutavaki” (type of small shark), stingray, mackerel, red mullet, cod, etc. Furthermore, the various seashells fished in the two gulfs of Lesvos, such as cockles, ark shells, striped venus clams, oysters, scallops are exceptional side dishes consumed raw from the sea with lemon or roasted.
Lesvos is famous for its dairy products. The natural flora and the local races of sheep and goats guarantee high quality milk, which is used by the traditional cheese units applying longstanding knowhow and competence passed by the elders from generation to generation. Try feta cheese, kasseri, graviera or ladotyri, a hard table cheese with strong flavor and pleasant aroma. It took its name from the old way of its conservation, in best quality olive oil, where it takes spicier flavor. Another way of conservation and more widespread is in paraffin. Enjoy it as a table cheese, but also roasted or fried.
Pine honey or flower honey and less common varieties such as chestnut honey and heather or myrtle honey with its typical aromas may accompany the freshly baked slice of bread in your breakfast, the local yoghourt or the fruit salad for a nutritious and light meal.