Primarily famous for beautiful beaches and illustrious nightlife, the Greek island of Mykonos also promises a flavorful culinary journey to those who pull up a chair at its many exceptional eateries. From upmarket, internationally celebrated restaurants to quaint local bakeries, street food vendors, and small cafés, Mykonos is a superb place for sampling myriads of traditional Greek favorites and Cycladic dishes.
When searching for grub in Mykonos, visitors will find no lack of traditional and international restaurants in Mykonos Town, coupled with plenty of tip-top food at most beach bars. But if it's authentic Mykonian cuisine one craves, then exploring the island's charming villages - particularly Ornois Mykonos, Tourlos, and Ano Mera - opens up traditional Greek taverns serving up local delicacies. Which of those delicacies are worth trying?" one might ask - with the answers being the following.
Sometimes called "Myconian prosciutto", louza sausages are traditionally made after the island's yearly pig slaughter during a lively festival that takes place each autumn. It's the time that Mykonian families would slaughter their pig, which they had fattened up throughout the year. Once the meat has been acquired, the pork fillets and tenderloins are left for 24 hours to bask in in salt, after which they are rinsed off and left to dry out in the sun during the early winter.
After this, the meat is marinated with salt, pepper, and other spices, followed by being stuffed inside a pig’s intestine to form sausages, which are then left to hang and cure for around 20 to 25 days. When it's matured, louza can be stored in the freezer all year right until summer without losing any of its freshness. When it's ready to be eaten, the end product is an incredibly delicious cooked meat served in thin, dark slices, finalized with savory herbs and plenty of pepper.
Popular for its aromatic, spicy taste Kopanisti is a Mykonian cheese that goes harmoniously with "mezedes" (Greek tapas) and wine. It's a delicate soft cheese that's the result of a special maturing process - one that lasts around two months. During the maturation, a fungus grows with the end product being the cheese rich in texture, aroma, and irresistible flavor. Kopanisti can be eaten however one wishes, but it's especially fantastic paired with bread, tomatoes, and wine as a delicious appetizer before tucking into a tasty Greek main course.
Thought that kopanisti was the only Mykonian cheese? Think again; the island boasts two of its own fine dairy delights - and Ksinotiri is the next on the list. This sour, sharp cheese is produced by fermenting and straining buttermilk and is then left out in the sun to firm - a step that gives it its distinct strong flavor. Like most cheese, it goes well with most savories, but ask any local and they'll likely profess its excellent partnership with tomatoes, pasta, and bread.
Melopita is a honey pie made with a traditional Mykonos cheese called "tirovolia", which is made from goat's, sheep's, or mixed milk. The original recipe consists of two crispy sheets of pastry each enveloping a mouth-watering filling of tirovolia, honey, and cinnamon. A longstanding Mykonian favourite, the sweet treat is typically served in a baking tray, although it can also formed into small individual rolls. Everyone loves melopita so much so that it's even become its own ice cream flavor in Mykonos.
This traditional Greek sweet exudes a nose-catching rosy aroma and almond taste and is considered one of Mykonos's more healthier desserts thanks to the almond oil used in the recipe. Other Greek islands have their own versions of Amygdalota, but on Mykonos, the delicacy is shaped into an oblong before being baked - unlike on other Cycladic islands. The baking step forms a slightly hard exterior with a lovely soft interior to enjoy upon biting into it.
Mostra is a quick-and-simple recipe prepared with a large barley rusk followed by a spreading of kopanisti cheese with a big ripe tomato diced and place on top (sometimes grapes are used in place of tomatoes depending on the season). The whole plate is then sprinkled with oregano, capers, and olive oil. Overall, the spice of the kopanisti cheese is perfectly harmonized by the tomato's sweet flavor, creating a unique taste and scent reminiscent of Mykonian cuisine.
3 Mykonos Sausage
Sausage may sound like one of the less authentic Greek foods, but Mykonos really does pride itself on its very own. Combined with tempting black-eyed beans called "Kafematika", Mykonos sausage is a savory special formed exclusively from pork meat and fat.
Unlike in other areas of Greece, the Mykonos sausage is sun-dried, not smoked. It is cured by the sun due to a lack of wood on the island, which is required to smoke the meat. Traditional Mykonos sausage also contains spice, savory herbs, salt, pepper, and finely chopped oregano. It's not difficult to find these sausages since they're served all over the island at restaurants, street food vendors, and beach bars. Alternatively, guests can also purchase them directly from the butchers that make them - three of the most famous who make these sausages are Madoupas, Menagias, and Markaras.
Kremidopita is a Mykonian onion pie and is usually associated with Easter. The pie contains ample onion, giving it a tangy taste - but this is balanced out with the creamy Tirovolia cheese that often accompanies the dish. For further flavor, other ingredients added to the recipe also include dill and a menu of diverse spices and herbs.
What also makes Kremidopita stand out from other Greek pies is its consistency; unlike most recipes, this one only uses two sheets of thick filo pastry, which is wrapped around the delicious filling. The result? A crispy texture on the outside with a soft, creamy center.
Rafiolia are sweets made up of fried dough complete with orange, honey, and a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. It's quite common that the dough is filled with Tirovolia cheese, giving it a slightly sour flavor that goes deliciously with the sweet honey and orange taste. Best consumed fresh, this treat is one of Mykonos's top and is usually served at hotel breakfast buffets. One can also find savory versions of it featuring onion or herbs instead of fruit.