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Culinary voyage to Limnos Island

'Limnos is the most beloved of all lands’: according to Homer, these are the words of god Hephaistos who found shelter on the island when he got kicked out of Mt. Olympus, the abode of the gods. Locals welcomed him with warmth and hospitality, so he expressed his gratitude and satisfaction for his newly found homeland with the above words. It is a land of immense natural beauty and a centuries-old gastronomy that will definitely impress you.

Imposing rock formations; singular volcanic rock landscapes, rolling green hills, far stretching fertile plains; huge sand dunes; wetlands bustling with life; lovely beaches: these all create the impressive terrain of Limnos Island. This place’s ancient history is closely linked to top quality local products, such as wine, cheese (PDO or not), the exceptional thyme honey, wheat and the very tasty mavragani flour made of an old local wheat variety. These products are the beating heart of the local gastronomic tradition.

Local Products

The island has a long tradition in cheese production and the steps followed during the process guarantee unique quality and flavour. The most famous products are Kalathaki Limnou, Melichloro and Feta cheese. Kalathaki Limnou is a PDO traditional white salted cheese. Small woven wicker baskets (kalathaki) were used in older times to drain and give the cheese its final shape. Melichloro (or Melipasto) is made of sheep’s milk which after having been strained, is allowed to dry out in shaded places during those times of the year with low atmospheric humidity (after spring). During the first phase, the cheese acquires a semi-dry texture, and as dehydration proceeds the cheese becomes harder. It is a fine accompaniment to pasta, it makes a great saganaki dish, or simply enjoy it the greek-way next to your meal.

Limnos boasts a very long history in apiculture and local honey is amber coloured, it has a thick texture, a lovely scent and an intense flavour. It smells of sweet thyme and is considered a top quality Greek honey.The flour produced on the island is of excellent quality and it is used to make wheat and barley rusks and cookies of various sizes and types. Two other famous products you must try is flomaria (a local type of pasta) and trachanas (usually made from grain and milk).

Culinary tradition from the island of god Hephaistos

Limnos local cuisine maintains the tradition and utilises its local produce. This island will blow your mind away with its resourcefulness in combining the local flavours. Fish and sea food dishes (mostly lobster) are renowned and dominate the Aegean cuisine. Don’t forget to try the cock dish in tomato sauce sided with a local type of pasta (flomaria), katmeria (pancakes), zucchinis cooked with eggs, cured fish, bochtsadelia (dough filled with cheese), and klikia (local cheese pie dish).

Sweet treats

Loukoumia is a favourite treat for all ages and the ingredients are sugar, glucose, starch, and added natural aromas. Tasty local halvas is made of crushed sesame seeds (tachini) and comes in various flavours, for example vanilla, cocoa, pistachio, honey, almonds etc.

Make a point of trying venizelika, a local sweet treat which was offered in 1912 to the then prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos by local women when he visited the island after its independence. In pastry shops and cafés you can try samsades (a traditional Christmas sweet with sesame), amygdalota (almond paste with rose water) and spoon sweets (fig, tomato, zucchini etc.)

Wines and Spirits

In ancient times wine from Mithymna was believed to be the ambrosia drunk only by the Olympian gods. In spring, sweet smelling Limnos resembles a carpet of flowers floating in the Aegean. During the Trojan War, Homer speaks in Iliad of how local wines put an irresistible spell on people. Today local grape varieties produce excellent wines with fine aromas and flavours and their reputation is worldwide. Top quality white wines and sweet wines are made from Moschato Alexandrias, a white aromatic grape variety, on the island’s volcanic terrain.

This variety produces Protected Designation of Origin wines, awarded prizes in international wine contests and exhibitions. The red grape variety Limnio (Kalampaki is the local name) is cultivated in east Limnos.
Next to winemaking, tsipouro and ouzo spirits are also produced in the local distilleries known as lakaria. Have an ouzo drink next to grilled octopus, seafood and other local delicacies, or try it on the rocks.

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