Traditional products of Karpathos you definitely have to try
We travel to understand places. What better way to get to know a place other than through its traditional products and flavors? In Karpathos, just like in every other area of Greece, there is a variety of local products that are known for their quality, taste and uniqueness.
Hold onto your appetite, this is going to be a tasty ride!
Karpathos’ cuisine is primarily based on the island's own agricultural products. Nourished by the sea breeze of the Aegean and the all year round sunshine, these ingredients, which have almost exclusively been organically cultivated, give a unique taste to the traditional dishes that express the rich and varied cuisine of the island.
The island is big on seafood from its untouched turquoise seas, free-range chicken and meat, wild greens, exceptional sea salt, aromatic herbs, quality olive oil, delicious breads, and a myriad fruits and vegetables of course. Its most well-known products are honey and olive oil, which both are locally produced and grown mainly at the village of Olympos.
Exceptional quality, Taste and Flavoring. Honey, an essential ingredient in most Greek and Karpathian confections, is the oldest sweet known to exist. In the islands of Dodekanese as Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kos, Tilos, Halki etc., it is grown with a variety of flora with aromatic plants and herbs, combined with the mild climate. Significant quantities of excellent honey are produced with hints of thyme, Erica, sage, oregano and savory.
Thyme and Flower Honey are varieties of honey that prosper on the island due to its plant life and climate. Thyme honey is light-colored and well-known for its quality, rich flavor and scent, regarded to be amongst the best types of honey produced in Greece. On the other hand, Flower honey comes from the nectar of flowers and is of high quality and taste.
Even in the present day “melissothikes” the old stone beehives, can be seen scattered around the fields and terraces of Olympus, where centuries-old traditions still reign supreme. In Karpathos, honey comes from family-owned bee farms and is extracted from their own honeycombs. The honey is harvested, aged, filtered, and cleared naturally, without the use of any preservatives. The resulting honey embodies a subtle thyme aroma or an intense floral aftertaste, perfect in teas, over yogurt, and on toast, as well as for cooking.
Olive oil, it’s a key component of the healthy world-renowned Mediterranean Diet, and an irreplaceable staple in Greek cooking. Olive trees have been cultivated around Olympus for centuries. A distinctive, almost bitter tasting oil is made locally from the Koroneiki olives.
The method of cultivation is ancient; there is no artificial irrigation and the trees are very intensively pruned once a year, while the volume of branches is kept small to avoid damage from the winds. The olives are picked by hand in the autumn.
Last but not least, it would be a shame not to make a small reference to the traditional dishes of the island. The most noted local dishes of Karpathos range from pies to greeneries and several types of meat: Skaros yachni or the Karpathian fish (baked fish with tomatoes and onions), Karpathian Sardines (Local fish named Menoula cooked with salt to form a sardine type), Agriadia(Local kalamaria from the Karpathian Sea), Makarounes (Homemade pasta served with onions and cheese), Kolokythopoulia (Zucchini flowers stuffed with rice), Fakorizo (Lentils with rice), Manouli (Fresh local goat cheese), Kopeles (Herb pies), Ofto (Stuffed lamb baked for about 20 hours in the traditional Karpathian wooden oven), Sisamomeli (Sweets made from sesame and honey, served at weddings), Tourtes or Mizithropites (Pies filled with locally made Sitaka or Mizithra cheese), Karpathian Baklavas (Sweets with walnuts and honey), Psilokouloura(Baked biscuits with sesame).