This time of the year the countryside of Chios island is full of wonderful aromatic herbs with incomparable aroma: fresh oregano, aromatic thyme, rosemary, lemon verbena, sage, fragrant lavender and hypericum with its healing properties. The dry and mild Mediterranean climate, combined with the Aegean Sea breeze, is extremely favorable for these plant species, allowing them to grow especially rich in aromas and essential oils. Chios island presents a great variety in endemic species of aromatic plants and herbs encountered in the Aegean Sea, but also in the opposite Asia Minor coast.
There's no doubt that a good dining experience can upgrade your holiday and make you love the place you've been to. That's why we recommend today an Instagrammer who loves Chios and the good life and can tempt you to have the best and most delicious holiday of your life on the island!
At 18 km distance from the city of Chios, lies the village of Nenita, one of the largest and most vibrant mastiha villages. Close to the village are the two small ports Gridia and Vokaria, favorite destinations of the Chiots, every time they want to enjoy an ouzo by the sea.
Taking our cue from last week’s blog post on the Easter delicacies of Chios island, we offer here a couple of local recipes which are perfect for the fastening period leading to Easter celebrations. These dishes are ideal meze (tapas) for a glass of Chios excellent ouzo or souma (the local spirit distilled from figs).
The recipes are found in the book “Traditional recipes from Kampos, Chios” where we can find a treasure of local recipes collected by the Kampos Cultural Association. The book is published by local “Aegeas” publications and can be found in Chios bookstores.
Broad beans in olive oil
1 part vinegar, 1 part lemon juice, salt
Prepare the broad beans and slice them lightly. Pour water, vinegar, salt and lemon juice in a pot. After it boils, add the broad beans and let them boil for a couple of minutes, but do not overboil them. Let them cool in the water overnight. The next day drain them and place them in a jar of olive oil.
Chickpeas, 1 grated onion, parsley and peppermint, oregano, ½ cup of flour
Boil the chickpeas. After they are ready, drain them and put them in the blender. Add the onion, the herbs and as much flour as necessary. Make the mix into croquettes and fry them.
Preserved fish roe croquettes
100 grams preserved fish roe, 1 grated onion, 200 grams wet bread, some parsley, flour
We wash the preserved fish roe in cold water, we drain it and place it in a bowl. We add the rest of the ingredients and we mix it. Add some water if necessary. Leave the mix to rest for 25-30 minutes. We make the croquettes, cover them in flour and deep fry them.
Chios may be one of the most popular Greek destinations for Easter due to the rocket war but at the same time anyone who chooses to visit Chios this period will definitely enjoy savory traditional local dishes. Both the foods of the fast and the meats that follow the Resurrection will amaze you and in this article we offer some suggestions that will take off your meals during Easter holidays in Chios!
During the Holy Week, as most people observe the fast, sea food and vegan meals are the stars of local gastronomy. While wandering in the city and the villages, try the small artichokes and broad beans preserved in olive oil, fava puree, and vegan “keftedes” made with tarama, wild greens or chickpeas. In patisseries look for kaltsounia and methismena (cookies without dairy or eggs, stuffed with nuts or jam) and pies made of tamboura (red pumpkin).
As for the seafood if you are looking for a restaurant near the city, try Ihthioskala and Daskalopetra where seafood is consumed as soon as fishboats arrive at the harbour. But you should definitely visit the villages of the fishermen such as Lagada, Pantoukios, Kataraktis and Lithi and beaches such as Komi, Gridia and Emporios, where the seafood abound and you will enjoy them “the right way”: directly from the sea to your plate, on a table by the sea accompanied with ouzo.
After the Resurrection, there is meat consumption, mainly goat and lamb and of course the red Easter eggs. Combine them with a visit to a picturesque village like Avgonima or Volissos, Pitios, Mesta, Kalamoti and Armolia. Accompany them with the extra fresh myzithra cheese, rich artichoke or cheese pies and local wine and of course with the amazing Chian tsourekia (brioches)!
In the churches of the villages the Resurrection liturgy is very nice, while in the squares there are bonfires in order to "burn Judah". On Easter Sunday before your festive meal, we suggest that you choose a hiking route from the ones mentioned on our website(http://www.chios.gr/en/things-to-do/peripatitikes-diadromes ) and enjoy your meal with more appetite and fresh air in your lungs!
Heroic Psara, a dot in the Aegean Sea, a small island famous for its glorious history and incredible beauty. A paradise for those seeking natural beauty and absolute tranquility, but also for the foodies, due to the delicious local cuisine, based on the pure products of the island.
The marine dishes, the crown gem of the local cuisine, since the sea bottom of Psara is distinguished by its wealth. Local lobsters are served grilled over coals, in pasta, fried, accompanied with skordalia (garlic dip) in traditional dishes that will enchant you. The fish, fresh and plentiful, is served in all ways and accompanied by wild grasses of the area! If you prefer meat and dairy products you should definitely try stuffed wild goat, the local white cheese, the fresh mizithra cheese and the kopanisti dip. Accompany your meal with the unique sun-dried wine of Psara, the beloved wine of the legendary “bourlottiers” of the 1821 Liberation Struggle.
If you like sweets, the bitter almond preserve and almond sweets will tickle your palate. However the true star is the pure natural thyme honey. Although the island’s beehives are active throughout winter, since temperatures are never truly low around coastal regions, the beekeepers of Psara only have one period of florescence and must wait to collect honey in late August. However, this harvest produces a magical honey, imbued with the unique scent afforded by the Psara air and the fresh Aegean breeze to the millions of thyme plants on the island. When you try it you will know the difference.
Greek Carnival, the three weeks period before Ash Monday (11th of March for this year), is one of the most characteristic and distinctive festive celebrations, with customs that have their roots in the Dionysian celebrations of ancient Greece. The whole country celebrates joyfully, and Greeks wear costumes and consume large quantities of meat and wine. But most of the meat is consumed during the second week, especially on Thursday, which the Greeks call “Tsiknopempti” (Barbeque Thursday).
In Chios, Tsiknopempti is a very festive day! Barbeques are set up in every corner and smokes and smells of charcoal grilled meat are diffused above the town and villages.
If you happen to be in the city of Chios such a day, take a walk in the streets and be a part of the festive atmosphere. Chians grill outside their houses and their taverns, but also the butchers and the distillers put charcoal grills outside their shops and everyone is welcome to taste hot “souvlaki” or a piece of meat. Of course fat meat is in order! In pastry shops you will find the traditional “kataifi”, the traditional Carnival pastry, plain or stuffed with nuts, or even covered with rich cream. Due to the festive character of the day, in many restaurants you will find live orchestras or DJs.
If you still have an appetite for a nice drive in order to enjoy the nature and quietness, visit a village and enjoy your meat in a traditional tavern, accompanied with local cheeses and especially “mizithra”, which is a fresh and creamy cheese with gentle texture. Enjoy your meal combined of course with local wine, ouzo or souma.
February is coming and there is no better idea than an excursion to Central Chios to make a winter Sunday exciting!
Starting from the town of Chios, take your coffee and maybe some “loukoumades” in a box and enjoy the ride through pine trees to the "Aegean Mistras". This is Anavatos, the village with two-storey stone houses that look like hanging over the cliff. Take your coffee with you and climb to the highest point of the village, through the stone paved path and the old abandoned houses. When you make it to the top, the winter landscape and the view will take your breath away!
Then head to the picturesque village of Avgonima, situated just 6 km away, uniquely built on a rocky hill among the pine forests. The stone, cube-shaped houses, the narrow streets and the stone-paved alleys are perfect for both adults and children, since they create a perfect setting for romantic walks and endless games at the same time. The village is one of the classic gastronomic destinations for the Chians, who visit it often for the good food served at the local traditional taverns. Follow the smell and stop at a tavern to eat hand-made pasta with rooster, goat, vegan “keftedes”, fresh cheese (mizithra) and the mushrooms called “amanites” accompanied by Chian wine, ouzo or souma!
Can you think of a better way to spend a winter Sunday or even an entire weekend next to the fireplace?
Book now a short stay in one of the traditional hotels of the village.
In Chios and especially in the northern part of the island, when it is raining, a special type of mushrooms that the locals call “Amanites”, grow on the mountains. With the scientific name Lactarius Salmanicolor, these mushrooms resemble the pleurotus mushrooms in the shape, but they have a difference in color, since they are orange, and in taste, since they are much tastier.
They are usually found under the pine trees, alone, or in groups of 2-3 mushrooms and like most wild mushrooms are scarce, since their main part is under the earth and almost always they are invisible. They grow in the most unlikely places and in order to find them one needs knowledge, effort and patience. The lovers of these mushrooms should be accompanied by an expert who knows how to distinguish them from poisonous ones that have a similar look.
The locals however know specific spots where the mushrooms grow every year and also how to discover them, and this knowledge, that of course they usually do not share, makes the process easier for them. In order to protect the species, there is a limitation by the local forestry authority, which sets a limit for every mushroom lover, to cut up to two kg per day and to be careful not to touch their roots.
Amanites are usually fried and then served with some vinegar and lemon, but they are also delicious roasted or sautéed in the pan with wine and garlic! So, next time in Chios, ask for this exquisite “meze” at the local taverns. If you accompany them with some local wine, ouzo or souma, you will understand why the Chians walk miles on the mountains, early in the morning to discover them.
The Chios Mandarin is the fruit of the Citrus deliciose tenore, and more specifically of the Common Chios variety. This delectable fruit was recently recognised by the European Commission and granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under the trademark Mandarini Chiou, which means that no other location can claim ownership of this fruit.
The Chios Mandarin has been known under this name for several decades in Greece and abroad, and has also been responsible for a good part of the island’s citrus trade. Chios has a reputation for its unique produce (particularly its mastic gum and citrus fruits), a source of pride for the people who continue to cultivate the land with respect for the natural environment and their cultural roots, maintaining many of the estates in the heartland of this tradition, Kambos.
The difference between chios mandarine and the clementine variety, which is widely known in the market, is the intense aroma and the strong flavor. Chios Mandarin is fragrant even when it is raw and it is full of vitamins. That is why in the past, in order to preserve their special characteristics, the Chiots wrapped the mandarins on paper printed with the producer’s logo one by one, before they were exported and sold abroad, where they were considered a luxury and a great gift to offer to someone you appreciate.
Poster for advertising or boxing decoration
The locals claim that anyone who tastes Chios Mandarin can smell hours afterwards its long-lasting aroma. They love their product and traditionally use it for sweets, jams, liqueurs and add it to syrups, delights, sesame seed candies, marzipans, juices and even in tomato sauces, legumes or salads.
On your next visit to Chios, do no miss to visit the Citrus Museum, situated at Kambos area, in order to learn about the history and growth cycle of Chios’s unique fruits. Plus you will have the chance to drink your coffee and enjoy local juices and sweets of citrus fruits in a traditional Kambos courtyard.