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Santorini owes its worldwide uniqueness to the peculiar ecosystem that was created due to successive volcanic explosions and lava that burnt rocks and formed a porous terrain of porcelain slabs. The composition of this terrain combined with drought and the island’s microclimate, which is a result of territorial humidity and the morning coolness caused by sea vaporization at the point where the caldera is located, give the produce of this land an extra special taste

Fava : Santorini split peas are considered unique as they originate from the variety lathyrus clymenous, although this presents a paradox as it is the only type that is not registered in the official Greek catalogue. Traces of this exact type of split peas were found during excavations at Akrotiri which means that they were cultivated since then on the island. Based on this the co-operative is taking steps towards making them a PDI product (Protected Designation of Origin). They are roughly the size of a large grain of sand and differ from other split peas as they become mushy on their own, they have a purer aroma and they are tighter. Their cultivation range is about 500 acres and their yield per ¼ of an acre does not exceed 200 kilos. They are sown in mid-November and harvested in May. They are then dried in the sun, cleaned, skinned and split by the producers. Split peas can be found in many recipes from Santorini, with onions, pork pieces and also in soup or with aubergines and tomatoes.  

fava

 

 

 

Indications tell us that viticulture and vine processes on the island of Santorini have a history of 3500 years although historical evidence commenced from 1700 B.C. in the form of pips that were found during excavations at Akrotiri and also pot engravings depicting grapes. The Santorini vineyard is therefore extremely old and its uniqueness can be found in the fact that it is one of the very few vineyards worldwide that has not been affected by vine louse and has, therefore, not been planted with American characteristics, as was the case all over the world. Over the years, natural renewal has taken place and so age no longer applies to the vines. Bearing in mind that as long as the vine grows larger, its produce decreases whilst the quality of its grapes increases, it becomes clear that we are dealing with a unique product. Apart from this, the factor that makes Santorini so different giving the varieties their unique character is, together with the microclimate (limited rainfall), the porous terrain of the island which is rich in pumice stone and lava. At the beginning of the century fifty different varieties were cultivated on Santorini. Today there are about 30, of which only 4-5 are cultivated properly. White varieties: Assyrtiko: The island's main variety which represents about 80% of grape production, it develops an excellent character in the microclimate of Santorini and produces a wine with metallic elements, high acidity and a powerful body. Athiri: A variety of Cretan origin which is used for mixing with assyrtiko to add aroma. Aidani: Aromatic grapes that are often used to add aroma to vinsanto Red varieties: Mantilaria: A vine variety that is one of the richest in colour. It produces wines full of colour with a medium alcoholic value. Mavrotragano: A red indigenous variety that produces alcoholic wines, high in tannins, medium acidity and a good colour.The most famous wine produced on Santorini is Nykteri - a traditional white aged wine made from Assyrtiko. It was given this name because all of the vinification procedure was carried out at night (nykta = night), far from the idea of a day's wages. Assyrtiko has characteristic acidity and a metallic element in the mouth. Vinsanto (the name is exclusive to Santorini) is a traditional sun-dried wine from Santorini with a honey colour, golden shine, a particular aroma together with a concentrated flavour of mature figs, raisins, dates etc. It is not by chance that in 1853 Lois Lacroix wrote about Santorini saying "no other sweet wine can compare with the white Santorini Vinsanto".

All three (Nykteri, Assyrtiko and Vinsanto) fall into the category of "name of origin of top quality" and also belong to the group of European Union wines "quality wines produced in determined region".

Canava In the old days, a captain’s house did not exist without a canava. The word canava originates from Italian and refers to the exact architectural areas where various agricultural activities, especially wine making, take place. It has at least two rooms and in one section there are two wine-presses for white and red wine making.
The wine-press is undercover and has just one small window high up to allow for air to enter, but no light. Harvesting takes place in the morning and the grapes are brought to the canava in order to obtain a stable temperature. They are then made into wine. They do this by crushing the grapes in the wine-press, the ‘must’ runs into linen that was also built under cover. The worker went down to the linen and transferred the wine directly into “amphoras”, barrels, with wooden buckets.
The first part of the canava is open and. It has two windows, one facing the North and one facing the South in order for the air to smell strong
Ventema

For Santorini, ventema means festival, party, song and merrymaking all over the island. It is said that whoever experienced ventema on the island in the old days never ever forgot it. The mule-drivers could not wait for the large bell to ring 36 times on Mary’s feast day so that the great harvest festival could begin! The grape filds were filled with harvesters from very early in the morning before daylight so that the grapes would be cool from the night to avoid them bursting. The only grapes that were pressed on the same day were those used to produce Nykteri. Grape pressing was carried out mainly by men. With their caps off, a cloth over their hair and their trousers rolled up, they cleaned their feet and got into the wine-press. At the same time the musicians arrived and excited everyone with their dances in the courtyard of the canava. The day the wine pressing finished was the biggest festival and an excuse for a great party. On 22nd October, the feast day of St Averkios, the bosses went to the canavas, opened the barrels, tried the new wines, laid the table with a selection of local mezedes, drank and danced.

melitinia

Melitinia are small sweets of dough in the shape of an oil lamp or a star and stuffed with soft cheese and gum mastic.

Koufeto with honey is the sweet offered in the wedding ceremony in Santorini. It is made by almond and honey. It is a very common sweet because of the symbolic meaning of its ingredients. Honey refers to a full of happiness marital life while almonds signifies fertility. A great importance is placed both in the ritual of preparing the dessert and in the way in which it is served where the ultimate aim is the well-being of the couple.   

The Santorini Cherry Tomato It is unique of its kind. From the 18th until the 20th century it was a leader of the island’s cultivation. It is a small fruit variety, with thick leaves, it is shrubby and sometimes produces fruit the size of a cherry. Its skin is hard and therefore has a unique taste. Tomato paste is also produced from this variety of tomato. The dry terrain results in an increased amount of sugar and therefore increased tastiness. Prior to the1956 earthquake there were 13 factories in operation on the island producing “Thira style paste”. After this due to the low yield per ¼ of an acre compared to other places, the cultivation of tomatoes was considered unfavourable. Nowadays, there is only one tomato factory in operation in the island.

Tomatokeftedes or Pseftokeftedes is a traditional snack in Santorini. Actually, they are fried tomato balls. The special ingredient of tomatokeftedes is the domestic tomato that is used which is quite small and anhydrous. Onions, parsley, flour and baking powder are also used. However, there are many variations of the ingredients. No matter of the variations you may find, we recommend you to taste them.

 

White aubergine The worldwide unique white eggplant of Santorini, sweet and without seeds. raditional produce of Santorini. Due to the terrain it does not have the same bitterness as aubergines. On the contrary it is sweet and juicy and has few seeds. 

Capers
This shrub grows on the steep slopes of the caldera above the traditional terraces of the island. The blossom and leaves are collected from wild capers and because they are wild they have a more intense aroma and a more spicy taste. They are used in salads or spicy salads, both fresh and dried.
This shrub grows on the steep slopes of the caldera above the traditional terraces of the island. The blossom and leaves are collected from wild capers and because they are wild they have a more intense aroma and a more spicy taste. They are used in salads or spicy salads, both fresh and dried.
Fresh cheese Fresh goat's cheese with a creamy texture and a light sour taste is made by the locals. Its production is limited and it is normally made for household use.        

       

Katsouni A type of cucumber that is very tasty thanks to the microclimate and the terrain's composition.

Courgette

The Santorini courgette is round. Small, very dark with many seeds. Excellent

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 May 2011 )