Santorini Cuisine | Food and Wine Deliciously Local

Familiarization Trip > Santorini Cuisine | Food and Wine Deliciously Local

Santorini is an idyllic, iconic, and unique Greek island. It is famous for its white buildings, blue roofs, and even bluer sea. If you’re a foodie, Santorini has a greater lure. Here, we explore a little of Santorini’s cuisine.

On this island, you’ll find all the Greek food staples like spanakopita, hummus, and grape leaves. Growing conditions in Santorini result in elevated twists on Greek staples, including wine! 

Here is what is good to know: 

Volcanic soil contributes to Santorini cuisine

About 3,600 years ago, Santorini experienced one of the largest volcanic events in history.  The aftermath of this devastating eruption yielded the nutrient-rich soil that is indicative of Santorini. Pumice stone, lava, and volcanic ash play a role in the growing conditions. These lend themselves to the island’s indigenous flora.  

Fava beans (Lathurus clymenum) in Santorini cuisine

This is the most fabled crop of Santorini, and locals have been growing it for over 3,500 years. The large, flat beans we recognize as fava are not the same as the Santorini version, which are yellow split peas. Santorini fava beans are sweeter than other varieties. They must be from the island to earn the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.

You can purchase Santorini fava if you don’t want to use your local supermarket brand of yellow split peas.  The Arosis brand of Greek Fava Beans, also available online, is a good compromise.   

Locals often serve Santorini fava as a dip, Koukofava, topped with red onions and capers.  You can find the same dip as a wonderful accompaniment to grilled octopus on menus at the NEW Hotel in Athens

A traditional koukofava recipe is below, courtesy of NOUS Santorini. This hotel serves the dish in its two restaurants. 

Cherry tomatoes  in Santorini cuisine

Are you accustomed to tomatoes that have traveled miles before reaching your plate? If you do, you will love the sweet, flavorful version you’ll enjoy on Santorini. Crops flourish here because of the volcanic soil. Harvesters gather them from late June to early August.

You can learn more about tomatoes and their importance in Santorini at the Tomato Industrial Museum, D. Nomikos. There, you’ll learn about growing tomatoes on the island. The museum also boasts a cultural center that hosts events and workshops.  

And we must not forget tomato fritters. These are delightful snacks just like white eggplant.

Capers | Santorini Cuisine

Grown amid volcanic ash and bathed in the Aegean sun, Santorini capers have a distinct, peppery, and earthy flavor. It results from the island’s volcanic soil, which imparts its minerals and subtle aroma to the delicate buds.  

Only the finest capers are hand-picked with meticulous care during the summer months. This dedication to quality is evident in the capers’ firm texture and vibrant green color.  

Locals preserve Santorini capers in a traditional brine using local seawater and vinegar. As such, they acquire a delicate balance of sweet and salty notes. The process doesn’t just make them taste better but also keeps them fresh for a long time

A cornerstone of Greek cuisine, Santorini capers add depth and complexity to various dishes. Their versatility is truly remarkable. They add a briny punch to salads and stews and elevate pasta sauces with an unexpected kick.  

Fava Bean Dip, courtesy of NOUS Santorini  Fava 

Ingredients for this Santorini cuisine


Santorini Cuisine | Exploring Diverse Greek Wines

Santorini is not just famous for stunning sunsets and breathtaking landscapes but also for exceptional wines. The Aegean island’s unique terroir, ancient grape varieties, and winemaking traditions have made it a hotspot for wine enthusiasts.

Here are the different types of wines produced on this enchanting Greek island, each with its own distinct character and charm.

1. Assyrtiko: Santorini’s Signature White Wine

Assyrtiko, often called the “King of Santorini Wines,” is the island’s flagship grape variety. The variety has gained worldwide recognition for its zesty acidity, mineral hints, and citrusy freshness.

2. Nykteri: A Volcanic Aged White Wine

Nykteri is another captivating white wine produced on the island of Santorini. What sets Nykteri apart is its unique winemaking process, which involves nighttime harvesting.

3. Santorini Cuisine | Vinsanto: The Sweet Elixir of Santorini

Vinsanto is Santorini’s cherished dessert wine, known for its rich amber color and luscious sweetness. This wine, with a history dating back centuries, deeply intertwines with the island’s culture and traditions.

4. Mavrotragano: The Intriguing Red Wine of Santorini

Santorini farmers also produce a unique red wine called Mavrotragano. Nearly extinct, this grape type has made a comeback in recent years.

5. Santorini Cuisine | Aidani and Athiri: the Hidden Gems

While Assyrtiko takes the spotlight, two lesser-known grape varieties, Aidani and Athiri, also contribute to Santorini’s wine diversity.

In conclusion, Santorini’s wines offer a diverse and captivating range of flavors and styles. They range from the crisp and refreshing Assyrtiko to the sweet elixir of Vinsanto and the intriguing Mavrotragano reds. Each wine reflects the island’s unique terroir and winemaking traditions. This makes Santorini a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts seeking a taste of the Greek Isles.

Whether you prefer white or red, dry or sweet, Santorini’s wines will surely delight your palate on this enchanting island.

Our sister company, The CKIM Group, specializes in Greek Yacht Charter Vacations. Some of these charters visit the island of Santorini.

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