Gastronomy & Agrotourism

It is no coincidence that Lesvos is famous for its amazing gastronomy! Lesvos produces unique products such as sardines and shellfish from the Gulf of Kalloni, delicious dairy products, olive oil, ouzo, tsipouro and wines from local grape varieties, herbs, flower water, citrus products. Enjoy the rich gastronomy of Lesvos with handmade products and delicacies such as trachana, boiled figs, barley, hachles, oil cheese, feta, mitzithra, sougania, stuffed zucchini flowers, tomato meatballs, dips, pastries, etc. many, offering unforgettable pleasures to food lovers. In Lesvos there are also Women’s Cooperatives that promote the local economy, women’s entrepreneurship and use local agricultural production to create products of high gastronomic value, maintaining the tradition of Lesvos.
Olive oil and the Olive Grove of Lesvos There are more than 11,000,000 olive trees on the island! Colovi olives are cultivated in the south and the east, the adramytini variety in the north and the northeast, and there are also a few ladolies. Whatever the olives’ variety, Lesvos offers the most unique experience in autumn and winter, during the olive harvest season. Visit the local cooperatives and watch how the raw material of olives is converted into the most golden olive oil, which is light, tasty and sophisticated. Olive oil from Lesvos, and the whole process that revolves around the use of this blessed product have left unique buildings on the island, such as olive presses, olive oil storage and packaging factories, soap-manufacturing plants, etc. The mansions that you see today around the city of Mytilene,Plomari and even in Molyvos were built by industrialists and merchants of olive oil and soap, who also contributed to the way of life on the island, to the fields of education and the arts and also to the organisation of society.
The old communal oil press located in Agia Paraskevi was excellently transformed into an Industrial Oil-making Museum, presenting the complete process of oil-production, from the old storing areas for olives, the so-called bates, house exhibitions related to those who have been working with this blessed fruit for centuries, to their tools and the changes that occurred to Lesvos community following industrialization. Today, the olive oil of Lesvos is famous and is considered of the best in Greece. So it goes without saying that the oil of Lesvos has repeatedly won awards in international competitions while the facilities for bottling extra virgin olive oil in very attractive packaging with a view to exports have multiplied. Tip: Buy a loaf of freshly baked bread and local oregano to dip into the warm olive oil as it flows out of the press! The purest of tastes, straight from the earth. A true gift of nature to Lesvos. It’s the “real” gold!
Cheese products The cheese of Lesvos was known since antiquity from the time of Homer due its special quality and characteristic flavour. In ancient Greece, milk was considered sacred food and according to Greek mythology the art of cheese making was offered as a gift to common mortals from the gods of Olympos. The volcanic grounds and the numerous grazing fields have favoured animal breeding on the island of Lesvos since ancient times while in combination with the mild climate and the rich flora, the quality of the milk is influenced in a positive way making it special for its aroma, flavour and nutrients. Livestock farming in Lesvos was an occupation that constituted family tradition and it was passed from generation to generation. Lesvos keeps unchanged the advantage of distinct dairy products that have a fundamental role in the local recipes and the gastronomic culture of the island.
Most local dishes are based on these special cheese varieties, adding uniqueness to the traditional cuisine of Lesvos. The last few years, the feta cheese of Lesvos, the graviera of Lesvos and the famous ladotyri (oil cheese) packaged either the traditional way inside fine olive oil or in a paraffin layer, have been pronounced PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) cheese products. Of course the fact that these products have the PDO and PGI designation does not mean that other cheese products of Lesvos (kaseri, myzithra, touloumotyri etc) are not of the same quality!
Sardines from the Bay of Kalloni Famous all over the world for centuries now, the Kalloni sardines and papalina, distinct for their small size and unique taste, have been recorded in travellers’ testimonies that have been to the island in the past. It is a very nutritious and tasty dish, salted, grilled or fried and it is the best accompaniment to ouzo. We should stress that the particular sardine is not simply another variety but a unique species of high nutritional value that has been studied repeatedly in connection with the phytoplankton of the gulf that gives it these special characteristics.
Ouzo production on Lesvos has flourished since the 19th century as at that time the port of Mytilini was a big transit centre with booming export commerce, from where large quantities of ouzo were exported to Istanbul. The distilleries operating on the island according to the official catalogues of the state for the period 1917-1918 were 17 in number. The origin of the ouzo making culture is traced back to the Greek migrants and refugees who settled in Greece coming either from the Black Sea region or the Asia Minor coast. Traditionally the ouzo of Lesvos is a product of distillation of agricultural alcohol enriched with aniseed and fragrant plant seeds, with each distillery having its own recipe passed down orally from generation to generation. At the moment there are two PDO and PGI certifications, one of them titled ‘Mytilinian Ouzo’, which covers all certified ouzo produced on the island, and the other one with the title ‘Plomari Ouzo’ which covers all ouzo produced in Plomari and its neighbouring villages. Obviously, exactly because of the wide spread of ouzo in the daily life of Lesvos, a big part of the local gastronomy is based on the combination of ouzo with local dishes. Lesvos inhabitants have even established museums or exhibits in Plomari and in Mytilene to honour our favourite drink! A “must see”!
Wine: Lesvos wines have been in great demand since antiquity. Aristarchus, the poet, praises the “mellow and perfumed” wine of Lesvos and calls it ‘ambrosia’. Both the quality and the quantity of Lesvos wine were impressive, until vineyards were gradually replaced by olive trees, mainly due to phylloxera. Still today excellent wine is produced by a few producers, especially in the volcanic soil region of western Lesvos.
Cooperatives: During your journeys on the island, definitely make a stop at the local women’s cooperatives you may find along your way and discover an array of handmade jams, sauces, sweets, pastas, hahles, biscuits and so much more!
On Lesvos we celebrate our local gastronomy with an array of food festivals:
Fun fact #1: The phrase “Lucullan feasts” comes from the renowned Roman General Lucullas who besieged Lesvos and became famous for his bon viveur living and banqueting on Lesvos, so much so that the word lucullan now means lavish, luxurious and gourmet? One thing is for sure, we know how to eat and live well on Lesvos “Ευ Ζην”!
Fun fact #2: The very essence and richness of our gastronomy is reflected even in our name…Lesvos:
Μανταμάδος (12)
adotyri Cheese, Legumes-Lisvori Chickpeas
xquisite varieties of Honey
Maria Panagou (86)
ardines, Shellfish, Salt, Spices
Kokkas (2)
irgin Olive Oil, Vino
Ouzo (4)
uzo, Olives
ykonium- figs

Local Products of Lesvos – Awards and Distinctions

Lesvos has many local products that have been awarded with distinctions and awards in various competitions worldwide!
High quality award winning honey producers


International Olive Oil Competition 4th Award winning olive oil producers


Award winning Ouzo producers


Sardines (Papalina) from the Bay of Kalloni


Certified with Protected Designation of Origin


Source: ETAL S.A.

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