YOU ARE READING:Cyclades what to Eat
Cyclades what to Eat
8 Jun 2023

These islands are typically known for their pristine waters, glorious beaches, and stunning whitewashed architecture. However due to their rich history and culture, visitors will quickly understand that the Cyclades cuisine is a journey all on its own. Many of the islands have their own distinct delicacies and specialities, during your sails of the islands you will have the opportunity to enjoy some of these unique flavors and share memorable monuments with your loved ones. These beautiful locations each have their own unique landscapes and variety of climates.

The sea surrounding them has led to delicious seafood and fish dishes, served with vegetables and salad and perfectly paired with a glass of wine or ouzo. They have a reputation for some truly distinct tasting cheeses, cold cuts, and various other specialties. Even though there is a lack of vegetation the islands have some of the best tasting capers, herbs, and aromatics available in the country.

The Cyclades are also known for their excellent quality of honey, and delicious pastries. No matter where you are on the islands, whether perched up high with a view over the sea, in one of the many charming fisherman villages, or simply strolling through the intricate alleyways of the islands, chances are you will stumble into a charming Greek tavern with delicious traditional dishes and mouth watering surprises. 

There are a variety of seafood and fish dishes available to enjoy when visiting the Cycladic islands. Kakavia is rooted from a fisherman's soup which incorporates a mixture of fish or different parts of a fish, simmered in tomatoes with celery and loads of olive oil and lemon juice. Syros has its own distinct style of fish soup containing atherina fish cooked with onion, tomato and egg. Every island you go to will have delicious seafood dishes such as grilled octopus, fried calamari, red mullet, and steamed mussels. 


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The Cyclades have a reputation for mouthwatering cheeses usually made from goats milk such as; graviera and myzithra from Naxos, xinomyzithra from Paros, and a unique parmesan style cheese called San Michali which can only be found in Syros. Kopanisti is a spicy cheese that can be found on most islands but originates from Mykonos. It is perfectly paired with a glass of ouzo and is preferred for its smooth texture,spicy, and creamy flavor. These and a variety of other cheeses are used to make savory and sweet pies, which are all made a little differently on each island you visit. 

Beans are a big part of the Greek diet and this is especially true when in the Cyclades. You will find a variety of bean dishes which are often eaten as a salad or a small meze. Chickpeas are considered a specialty on the islands of Paros and Sifnos, here they are slow cooked for 24 hours in a clay pot which is known as revithada soup. Black eyed beans are also popular and can be enjoyed as a side dish, salad, or sauteed with wild greens. When in Sifnos you will encounter chickpeas served in a similar fashion as falafel, with a crispy exterior and fluffy interior filled with flavor. Fava is another popular dish you will encounter at most the fish taverns you visit during your sails of the islands. Made from split yellow peas, typically served with raw onions, capers and lemon juice. The capers found in this region of Greece are particularly flavorful and you will notice them scattered on a variety of dishes you order, such as a Greek salad. 

When it comes to meat dishes, kalogeros is a traditional Greek beef stew which is served as a casserole. It is a combination of beef and veal, all combined and slow cooked with tomato, eggplant, graviera cheese, cinnamon, and xino mizithra. These ingredients all come together to create a deliciously rich stew which shouldn't be missed when visiting Naxos. Patatata is a signature dish which originates from Amorgos, the dish contains goat meat, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil and white wine. All these ingredients are slow cooked in a pot with herbs and spices and make for a delicious meal. On the different islands you visit the dish may differ slightly where lamb, beef, or veal may be used. Santorini is famous for its tomato fritters which are made from local sun dried tomatoes and served as a tasty meze with a glass of wine or ouzo. Santorini is famous for its variety of Assyrtiko wines produced from the unique vineyards which grow in the volcanic soil of  the island. 

Be sure not to leave the cyclades without trying some of their extremely unique products which are PDO (protected designated origin products). As mentioned earlier the kopanisti cheese of Mykonos and louza which is a cold cut similar to prosciutto, are a huge part of the Mykononian diet and traditions. San Mihali cheese which we mentioned earlier as well is one of these products and definitely not to be missed during your sails in the cyclades. In General when enjoying meals on the islands and tasting different dishes, pies, and mezes, you will get a glimpse and better understanding of the history of the people and the origins of their culture. Each bite you take from these traditional dishes has a deeply rooted past which tells an incredible story of the islands and the people who now inhabit them. 

When exploring the many alleyways, you come across many local bakeries. Here you may choose from a variety of unique cheese pies as well as savory and sweet flavors. The pies of the Cyclades are usually bite sized in comparison to the rest of the country, and are fried instead of baked. An example of this is the pitarakia, which you will find on the island of Milos. These are half mooned shaped pies, which are filled with menoura cheese and  ground pepper. A different version is available with a sweeter flavor which incorporates other cheeses such as mizithra, sugar, egg, and cinnamon. In general, everywhere you visit will have its own variation or twist when it comes to tasting different pies on the islands. 

There are simply so many different styles and flavors to enjoy during your vacation in the Greek Isles. This is what makes an island hopping vacation so special, not only do you get to see different locations, but also experience their way of life and enjoy the delicious treats they have to offer. We hope to hear what dishes were your favorite and we can always go ahead and inform our future guests of your discoveries. 

Featured Photo by Ioannis Sarantis on Unsplash