“Whoever finds the time to stay a few days on the island will taste other joys and other treats and other delicacies. Delicious pork, unique sausages and synglina and louzes, wonderful cheese, kopanisti, and the barley rusk, along with some good wine, in the company of the locals who know and eating and dining well and how to have a good time, buying each other drinks and singing, perhaps because since ancient times the god most worshipped on Mykonos was Dionysos. And today you find him everywhere, in the town, in the port, in the countryside.”
This was how the noted architect Aris Konstantinidis described the island’s gastronomic wealth, after dedicating his time to a poetic appreciation of its architecture. And even if some fifty years have passed since then and tourism and rampant construction have taken over much of the island, the Mykonians continue to be hospital, warm and extremely tolerant of their numerous visitors, while observing their own customs, enjoying themselves and eating the way they always have.
Thus, apart from the gastronomic ambassadors of the island, which are the mild fresh cheese tyrovolia, the peppery kopanisti and the so-called sour cheese (xinotyri), the sweet-scented louza, noumboulo (smoked pork fillet) and mouth-watering sausages, the typical Mykonos mezes, the famous mostra (made with barley rusks, sun-dried tomatoes and kopanisti), there are many more typical dishes that represent the island.
At the baker you’ll find kouvarotes, kouloures (sesame rings), just baked bread, and paximadia (twice-baked breads or rusks). Among the pies, favourites are honey pie and onion pie, both of which are made with fresh cheese, as well as Mykonos tsimbita (little bites) flavoured with honey, cinnamon and orange (similar to the myzithra pies of Crete or the lychnarakia of Santorini). The amygdalota (crushed almond sweets) of Mykonos are baked and are more like the kourabiedes (almond shortbread) than their marzipan type relatives on other islands, and have a strong taste of bitter almonds.
All of these, together with the Mykonos fried raviolia, can accompany the local beverages, such as tisanes made of penny royal, mint, and sage or a Greek coffee, as well as the galachtia (fresh cheese thinned with water that is like the Turkish ayran) to make up a wonderful Mykonos breakfast.
Other classic Mykonian dishes are broad beans with lard and fennel, oporichia with broad beans,cabbage with lard, a fry up of various kinds of wild mushrooms, two types of snail with onions or pilaf, lamb fricasseed with fresh amaranth, and wild fennel fritters.
Of course, there are also many wonderful dishes from the sea as well as game (hare and birds). One of the best of them is parrot fish roasted whole (one of the few fish with edible intestines, which has given rise to a rather scatological folk song: ‘parrot fish I am, roast me and put me on your plate with a little oil and vinegar and as for my shit, eat that too’), not to mention fried fish marinated savoro style with vinegar, rosemary and currants, limpets and sea snails.