Hop on the wings of the Aegean Butterfly and let your taste buds explore Astypalea as you discover a whole host of gastronomic treats. The island’s cuisine uses local produce to create imaginative tasty dishes.
The fresh raw materials from the island make for the best quality ingredients. The fruit and vegetables that grow in this arid climate have a special taste, and the island has its own locally-made cheeses and local meat from the island’s farmers. And all this is in addition to the fish and seafood which is the Aegean Sea’s gift to the island. And as if that was not enough, there is also Koronida, the famous saffron that the islanders gather from the mountainside and the renowned local thyme honey. There are around 80 beekeepers on the island and, rather than moving the hives from one place to another, they have chosen static beekeeping methods – and the wonderful taste of their honey definitely justifies their choice! The bouquet of scents, its rich, pure taste and its unique amber colour make it one of the most popular Greek honeys. Lasagna, macaroni and other pastas are also produced locally.
The island’s housewives take advantage of the wonderful raw materials and follow their grandmothers’ traditional recipes, adding the same fresh natural herbs to create the island’s traditional dishes. Kitrinokouloura (cookies made with milk, pure butter, saffron and spices) can be found in every home, as can thyme and herb crispbreads. You can try the famous pastry parcels filled with kopanisti (spicy, salty cheese) and chlori (a soft sheep and goats milk cheese) which are traditionally eaten with local honey – making an unusual but wonderful combination. Local pasteli (sesame seed and honey bars) can be found at all weddings and baptisms and is a treat for young and old alike.
When it comes to oven-cooked food, the island’s traditional dish is "lambrino" - goat stuffed with rice, liver and lots of spices and then cooked in the oven. This dish is the star at every saint’s day feast and every celebration. Every meal is accompanied by stuffed vine leaves, and if you get the chance, don’t miss out on courgette flowers, meatballs and rantista (lentils with pieces of dough), octopus croquettes and kakavia (fish soup).