Andros is best known as the island of the seafarers but it is also known as an agricultural paradise, blessed with abundant waters and fertile valleys covered with herbs. Cows, sheep, and goats graze on its hills and pastures, producing excellent cheeses and meat; thousands of beehives yield ambrosial honey; and women’s cooperatives together with a few artisanal workshops turn the local produce into exceptional preserves, jams, pasta, pickles, breads, rusks and a sublime range of sweets.
You will find these products at small shops specializing in Andros products in Chora, Batsi, Gavrio and Korthi. Keep your eye out for capers and kritamo (rock samphire); louza (cured pork tenderloin) and sausages; soft cheeses like Malako (which means soft in greek) or simply ‘Doppio’(which means local) or harder ones like cone-shaped Volaki, flat Petroti or spicy Kopanisti; exquisite thyme and heather honey; spoon sweets’ made of lemonblossom (made only in Andros) and rose petals, as well as a huge variety of fruit from grapes to bitter oranges and even baby aubergines; noodles and trahana which adds substance and flavour tomany winter soups.
For sweets, head for the bakeries and pastry shops and look for pastitsakia, amygdalota, kaltsounia, sesame bars called pasteli and lots more, including locally made ice creams and sorbets.
From their names you can see that some of these treats are a legacy of centuries of Venetian occupation. The Venetians also left their mark on Andros’ cuisine.
The most popular dish in Andros is the rich pork/sausage and potato omelet called fourtalia. Recently, a team of professional chefs dubbed ‘Andros beyond froutalia ‘ headed by Dimitris Giginis, chef at Sea Satin Nino in Korthi presented new versions of traditional Andriot recipes to chefs and students from all over the southern Aegean.
Indeed, for some years now many island restaurants are offering innovative variations on old favorites, like knuckle of pork with sautéed greens, pastas with sea urchins, beetroot chutney, and braised goat with string beans and many sea food delicacies.
Andros has come a long way beyond… fourtalia. From the ancient times Andros was famous for its stock farming, cheese production and the excellent quality of its agricultural products. It has a great variety in cheeses such as a soft cheese called Malako (which means soft in Greek) or a harder cheese called Volaki, or a white fresh cow cheese with a semi-hard texture which is called Petroti or a spicy one called Kopanisti.
Olives and olive oil, fruits, vegetables, vegetables, mushrooms, capers that are pickled or used in cooking, various fruits, wines, liquors like ouzo, soumada, meats, fish and seafood enrich Andros’ local cuisine.
Andros is also rich in growing herbs, such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, fennel, mint, laurel, arbaroriza, which is a perennial, herbaceous, evergreen plant that is often found in Greece. Our gastronomy presents a variety of age long recipes that demonstrate the island’s expertise in creating mouth-watering dishes.
The next time you visit our island you have to make sure to taste Andros’ local traditional products such as petroti, kopanisti, volaki and a number of delightful delicacies. Here are a few to bear in mind:
Andros’ “trademark” dish. An omelet made of potatoes , herbs, local pork sausages and a fat called calledglyna, which gives fourtalia a unique flavour. It can be made with a variety of ingredients depending on the season. Like zucchini, artichokes, or broad beans. But always includes the local sausage and potatoes.
A traditional Easter dish, made of lamb stuffed with a mixture of three different types of cheese, eggs, rice, spearmint and parsley.
Smoked pork marinated in a mixture of red wine, fennel and pepper.
Mizithra (Greek Cheese) in a clay pot with salt. It is kneaded about three times with all the air removed before covering it with a vinegar-soaked cloth.