Gastro guide to Santorini

Fine wine, seafood and fava

Add This

Russell Bowes

Russell Bowes
HomeAway travel expert


View to the sea and Volcano from Fira the capital of Santorini island in GreeceSitting in the southern Cyclades, Santorini is magical, romantic and perhaps the most quintessentially ‘Greek’ of all the Hellenic islands. It is also quite special in that is is home to a vast volcano; indeed the islands which make up Santorini form the ring of the caldera. Why is this important to food lovers? Well, all of that volcanic activity and ash has created a unique ecosystem with porous volcanic soil, which – combined with an almost perpetual state of drought – produces utterly distinctive flavours in all of the produce grown on the island.

Like in much of Greece, the food of Santorini relies heavily on great quality, fresh and local produce to elevate deceptively simple dishes into wonderfully flavourful meals. Santorini is world famous for its fava and cherry tomatoes, and then there is my personal favourite, the freshest of fish and seafood. Santorini’s recipes aren’t necessarily what you you think of when Greek food comes to mind; much of it is lighter, but it is all best enjoyed when sitting in a restaurant overlooking Santorini’s wonderful caldera view with a glass of Santorini’s finest wine.

 

Russell's verdict on gastronomic Santorini

Views - Oia is famous for its sunsets – but trying to find a perch on the castle or table in a bar can be difficult. Stroll along the caldera to the village of Imerovigli which is draped down the side of the caldera and watch the sunset over the famous blue-domed churches.


Volcano - You can’t get away from the fact you are staying on a giant volcano. It will greet you every morning as you look out across the lagoon. So why not take a boat trip out to the central volcanic island of Nea Kameni, where you can walk around the smoking crater and bath in volcanic hot springs?

Getting there - Santorini is relatively easy to get to having its own small airport with connecting flights available from Athens. From May 2014 both British Airways and EasyJet will be running direct flights from the UK. The best way to approach the island is from the sea, getting spectacular views of the inner caldera villages from the lagoon. Boats run daily from Piraeus and stop off at other Cycladic islands on route.

 
 

Russell Bowes' guide to the Cyclades' finest dining


   

Wine of Santorini Wine of Santorini

Back in the '80s Santorini wines had a reputation for being cheap, produced in bulk, and being uninteresting, so why is wine my first recommendation? In the last couple of decades this has turned around: vineyards which had previously been squeezed to allow a few more hotels have resurged to their former glory of the early 20th century, creating one of Greece’s premier wine touring destinations and some of Greece’s best wines. Handily, most of Santorini’s vineyards are concentrated around the village of Megalochori, making it easy to see several in a day.

Assyrtiko is the main grape variety, but there are also whites such as Athyri and Aidani, and reds like Mantilaria and Mavrotragano to try. Wines tend to be acidic with an explosive body. To find out more about Santorini’s wine history and try the best the island has to offer visit the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum in one of Greece’s few wine caves. 

View holiday homes in Megalochori

 
   
 

   

Santorini cherry tomatoes Santorini cherry tomatoes

Two foods truly encapsulate Santorini’s great quality produce: one is the fava, and the other is this – the cherry tomato. Santorini has been growing cherry tomatoes since they were brought to the island in 1875, and since then Santorini has taken cherry tomatoes to be their own – there is now a variety named after the island. They are included in many of the island's recipes from seafood pasta to tomato keftedes, a tomato fritter often served as a starter with a glass of wine. The best place to enjoy these is in the Kapari Taverna on the edge of Firostefani.

View holiday rentals in Firostefani

 
   
 

   

Santorini fava Santorini fava

If you only eat one Greek dish when you visit Santorini, it really should be the Santorini fava. You might think one fava is much like any other and you would be right, unless you were talking about the Santorini fava. This pulse has been produced on Santorini for over 3,500 years and like much of the island's produce has taken a unique flavour from the soil. Fava is most often served prepared as a dip with red onion and capers; try it with some bread and a glass of beer whilst looking out at the beautiful island vista. A favourite place of mine to try this was Anogi in Imerovigli square, Imerovigli.

View holiday lets in Imerovigli

 
   
 

   

Santorini seafood Santorini seafood

Being an island adrift in some of the clearest waters around Greece you would expect Santorini to be home to fantastically fresh fish and seafood, and you would be right. Many restaurant menus, cafés and tavernas feature fish and seafood prominently (or even exclusively). Look out on the caldera in the early morning and you’ll see a myriad of small fishing boats returning to port on the smaller island of Therasia. To enjoy the freshest seafood prepared simply but brilliantly, take a boat trip across to Therasia for its unprepossessing restaurants. If you’re on the mainland, head to the capital Thira (Fira) and find Mama’s House for its seafood pasta.

View holiday lettings in Thira

 
   
 

   

Kardamides Kardamides

"Man cannot live by bread alone" – and nor can he live without a good portion of greens now and then to keep him healthy! Thankfully Santorini again serves up something special in great handfuls of Kardamides, the elegant and flavourful green herb which is collected each spring as it pops up across fields and vineyards. More often than not, it is served as a side dish to stronger flavoured fish which need something more robust to complement them. Enjoy a big portion of kardamides with a cherry tomato salad at Krinaki in Oia.

View holiday apartments in Oia

 
   


Images

Wine of Santorini by Jameson Fink
Santorini fava by Klearchos Kapoutsis
Seafood by Russell Bowes
Kardamides by J B

Santorini Holiday Homes

Villa Sapfo - Private, Luxury Seaside Villa

Situated on the far side of the famous volcanic black beach of Kamari, under the imposing granite rock, and only a few steps away from the clear blue sea, Villa Sapfo offers its guests the unique experience of complete privacy while just a few min...

Absolute Peace

Our property is composed of two adjacent villas set in an acre of private land. Quiet and spacious, laid out on two levels, each of our homes is the ideal accommodation for a couple or a family of four. The upper level has the master bath and be...

Villa with sunset view -Outdoor heated private hydromassage spa & swimminig pool

Swinging Sunset Villa is located in the north of Santorini Island in the traditional settlement of Oia (Ia) village. It is just 400 m. from the village, but so far enough away from “civilization” to be peaceful and the same time quiet. Ammoudi ba...

RIVAS VILLA FOR 2 PERSONS

Villa Riva is located at Perivolos Beach. The most beautiful beach in all Santorini.The newly-build villa promises relaxing holidays of a high standards for couples and families. Build on the black sandy bay of Perivols beach. Set in an area of 20...

Santorini traditional apartment with Free car included/ Villa The Birds Aptrm.

Beautifully situated in a quiet spot close to Perissa, within walking distance of Perissa’s black sandy beach, The Birds Villa Apartment offer guests complimentary transfer to and from the port. The villa has air condition, have big private balcon...

Greece Europe United States World Corfu Ionian Islands Crete Dodecanese Rodhes Cyclades Santorini Hydra Patra Athens Mykonos Aegean Islands Skiathos Calcidia Thasos


Search for holiday rentals

Search for holiday ideas
 


WIN £10,000 FOR YOUR DREAM HOLIDAY

Sign up to our newsletter

Our latest updates and special offers, direct to your inbox

Advertise with HomeAway

Related Articles


 

Other Categories



Popular Articles