Fava is probably the most famous dish in Santorini, and while its name might suggest fava beans, it is actually a yellow split pea purée. The creamy dish is usually served warm with olive oil and lemon and sometimes topped with chopped onions or capers. For many people, it is the ultimate comfort food, perfect as a healthy main meal or side dish.
Ntomatokeftedes (tomato fritters)
The island is home to a specific variety of tomatoes called Santorini tomatoes, which are the size of cherries. Sweet and with an intense red colour, they are at the centre of the ntomatokeftedes (or tomato fritters) dish. A vegetarian appetiser fried in hot olive oil, it also includes peppers and onions, mint, and other aromatic herbs in a thick batter. Make sure to try them the next time you are visiting the island.
The volcanic soil of the island makes a perfect breeding ground for another rare product: the white eggplant. It is a unique variety that has fewer seeds than its purple counterpart, plus it has a sweet taste. Many dishes involving the vegetable, such as white eggplant purée, are available in several restaurants. Don’t miss your chance to try it.
Kopania are old-fashioned Santorini sweets made of powdered barley rusks and mixed with raisins and sesame seeds. The dough is then rolled into little balls and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. An example of cucina povera at its best, these little sesame balls are mouth-wateringly delicious.
A traditional sweet you can find around Easter time, melitinia is a delicious sweet cheese pie made with fresh mizithra cheese, sugar, and mastiha powder. While talented home bakers have mastered these little treats over the past decades, traditional bakeries on the island bake them as well.
Apochti is another traditional food found in Santorini. Pork loin is salted and then placed in vinegar before being air-dried. Later, a mixture of pepper and cinnamon is rubbed on the meat, before allowing it to rest for six hours. After the meat hardens, it is ready to be used in a variety of recipes.
Made in limited quantities, chlorotyri is a local cheese that you can only find on the island. Slightly sour yet creamy, this white cheese is made from goat’s milk. Use it as a spread on bread or mix it in a Santorini salad, a local variant of the Greek salad, which also includes the local cherry tomatoes.
Capers date back to antiquity, and in Santorini, the plants are found virtually everywhere. The unopened edible flower buds are picked and then sun-dried until they harden and turn slightly yellow. They are then rehydrated before use and are usually added to sauces or to spice up several dishes, including fava or even salads.