Besides enchanting Cycladic architecture, scenic cobbled pathways lined with bougainvillea-filled, whitewashed houses, the most vibrant night scene in the Mediterranean, and captivating views of the Aegean Sea, Mykonos is also a Greek island that promises intense and utterly satisfying culinary experiences.
An island that has always had to rely on itself and the (limited) resources provided on its relatively barren land has managed to create incredibly palate-pleasing tastes from the simplest of ingredients. Here are some of the must-try local Mykonos foods you should never leave without tasting at least once! You can thank us later.
The fantastic range of cheeses
Who would have imagined that such a small island like Mykonos that lacks the benefits of the flourishing Mother Nature of its other siblings would produce not only one but three different types of cheese:
- Kopanisti – A delicious creamy cheese made of a mix of goat, sheep, and cow’s milk (matured for more than 2 months) with an intense peppery taste, spiced with garlic, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Depending on the quantities of the different types of milk used, it can have a sweet, soft, sour, or buttery flavour. Kopanisti is a great side dish to accompany meat dishes, fruits, and, of course, local ouzo, tsipouro, wine, or raki.
- Tyrovolia – This tasty soft white cheese is made with the same process as kopanisti, but it is less spicy than its other cheese cousin. You will find tyrovolia either served in Greek salad or cheese and spinach pies (or another traditional savory Greek pita). It is also often added to sauces and squid fillings.
- Xinotiro – The most soured of all three Mykonos cheese is shaped in bulrushes-made baskets and can either be eaten raw or be left to mature. In the latter case, it is grated over pasta or blended in sauces.
The baked delicacies
Back in the day, the windmills were used to supply local bakeries with flour that helped produce bread and the popular Mykonos rusks (twice-baked hardened bread). To make these rusks, the bakers used dry brushwood from the Mykonos hills rather than hard-to-find firewood for the ovens, using donkeys to transport it to their premises up until the 1960s.
Besides rusks, though, Mykonos is also renowned for its sweets, including the popular almond sweets called amygdalota and the almond-filled small tarts they refer to as kalathakia. Both of these take center stage during christenings, name day celebrations, and baptisms and are sold in almost all patisseries and bakeries in Mykonos.
The mouth-watering meat dishes
Here, we have louza, an incredibly satisfying meat product made from pork exclusively grown on the island. The recipe uses pork tenderloin that is left to mature in the Meltemi wind and seasoned with pepper, salt, allspice, oregano, and summer savoury. The resulting product is a sausage-like type of meat that is served in thin slices and impresses with its dark ruby colour.
Other local meat dishes to die for are fried Sisera (pork rinds) and Paides (ribs with the same herbs and spices as louza). Also, sweetbread and lung stew, local greens (aka Provasia) with lard, fried pig’s liver, and collard greens with boiled pig’s head are hugely loved by visitors and locals alike.
The BEST seafood tastes!
From fresh sardines to octopuses, the archipelago is home to a wide range of fish that is a primary component of many local seafood dishes. You may taste, for example, something as simple as stuffed kalamari (squid) with local cheese and herbs or fried smelt to more complex flavours, such as an Aegean paella made with chicken, seafood, and louza. Fresh, baked salmon served with quinoa tabbouleh, mussels topped with a basil-tomato sauce, and octopus carpaccio with fried capers, pink peppercorns, olive oil, and oregano are also dishes you won’t be able to resist to for sure.
Where to eat local delights in Mykonos
Any taverna, street food provider, or restaurant that respects itself at Mykonos will prepare tastes that will be impossible to put your fork down. Whether you decide to expand on your Mykonos culinary endeavours with a seaside, family-run taverna, or a gourmet restaurant in Little Venice or another prestigious area, be prepared for the delicious explosion of tastes that will take place inside your mouth.
Infused with the appetizing and delectable flavours of the Mediterranean, the local dishes are superbly paired with local sun-dried, red wines from traditional grape presses on the island, such as Mavri Kountoura, Pariano, Xylomachairou, and red Agianiotiko.
Of course, you may even pamper yourself with private gastronomic adventures at your luxury Mykonos villa and reward your taste buds with local dishes prepared by your personal chef! In any case, enjoy!