Halkidiki is famous for its olives, the high quality olive oil, its fine breads and cheeses, as well as for its traditional sweets and pastries made with delicious local fruit produced locally. The region is also well known for producing honey of the highest quality, while being a location worth visiting due to its wine routes. This is the ideal place to enjoy the healthy tastes of the Mediterranean diet and to savor dishes made from the purest natural ingredients.
- Wine & wineries
- Agricultural products
- Associations & Cluster
- Food in Festivals & Feasts
- Street Markets
(!) Special info:
The Guinness Book of World Records featured the tirokomio (cheese making factory) of Ierissos of Halkidiki, Greece where they make the largest carprine (goat) cheese in the world. The representative of the Guinness World Records, Jack Brockbank gave the certificate to owner Ioannis Stathoris, within the 21st International Exhibition of Food and Drinks Detrop. The cheese under the name of “carprine rock” weighed 939 Kilograms!!
Wine & wineries
Halkidiki’s wines: Renowned wines were produced in Ancient Halkidiki. Writings from the 5th century BC mention the white “afstiro” (dry) and the “malthako” (semisweet) wine of Mendi (a town southwest of Kassandra). Also well-known for their wines were Akanthos (today’s Ierissos) and Afitis (today’s Athytos) while the first model vineyard at Stagira was planted by its most famous son, Aristotle himself. Today there are vineyards in central and mountainous Halkidiki, at Sithonia and Mount Athos.
On the sun-drenched slopes of Mt Meliton, the warm, dry climate and the humidity from the Aegean Sea create a beneficial environment for winemaking. The red wine is made from Limnio, an old Greek variety, along with the French varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. A white wine comes from the white grape varieties of Assyrtiko, Roditis and Athiri.
Almost all Monasteries in Mount Athos have a longstanding tradition in winemaking. In quite a few of them a revival of this tradition is taking place. This blessed stretch of land with its mild climate, more than adequate sunshine, mountain coolness and sea breezes produces the Regional Wines of Mount Athos.
The vineyards of central Halkidiki stretch from the low hills near the sea, with a beneficial sea climate soothing the land during the summer, to the mountainous regions of the area. The grape varieties cultivated to produce the white Regional Wines of Halkidiki are Roditis and
Sauvignon Blanc. The red Regional Wine of Halkidiki is produced from the Xinomavro, Grenache Rouge and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties.
More information: Wine Producers Association of the Northern Greece Vineyard , www.wineroads.gr
Tsantali Agios Pavlos Winery
In the winery of this well-established Macedonian company you will get a full tour of the production facilities, the aging cellars and the distillation units, before ending up in a specially designed room for a delicious tasting of wines, tsipouro and grape distillates. - Agios Pavlos (West coast), www.tsantali.gr
Domaine Porto Carras
The tour begins with a walk through the winery and the cellar where the wines mature in oak barrels. It concludes in the “Melissanthi” tasting room with a wine tasting and an informative video about the vinery’s activities. Neos Marmaras (Sithonia), www.portocarras.com
Tsantali Metohi Chromitsa Winery
Only men can visit the vineyard of Metohi at Chromitsa, at the Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas, after contacting the Tsantali winery and the Holy Caretaker of Mount Athos. The revival of the vineyard began in 1973 by Evangelos Tsantalis. The fruits of his labor were recognized in 1981 with the establishment of the indication “Regional Wines of Mt Athos”. Agios Pavlos (West coast), www.tsantali.gr
Milopotamos, Mt Athos
Holy Cell of Saint Efstathios. Men can tour the vineyards, and look around the traditionally built yet modern winery and distillery. Mt Athos, www.mywines.gr
Claudia Papayianni Estate
At the outskirts of Arnea, in mountainous Halkidiki, you will be offered a tour to the vineyards and the estate’s new winery. The tour concludes with a video presentation and wine tasting. - Central Halkidiki -Arnea, www.cp-domaine.gr
Olive oil & Olives: The olive tree is indigenous. From ancient times until today it contributes to the local economy. In ancient times, the oil had many uses, from lighting to lubrication. Halkidiki, thanks to its climate and to the morphology of its land, produces oil and olives, which are distinctive for their special taste and quality. The olive trees of Halkidiki are cultivated without chemical interventions. The olives are rich in organic characteristics (substances which are necessary for the operation of the human organization) and they are processed by one major principle: the satisfaction of the consumers. The high nutritional value and the unique taste of the olives and the oil have rendered them as integral part of the Mediterranean nutrition.
Production areas: Mount Meliton, Pallini Peninsula, Holomontas Iporia, Polygyros, Ormylia, Olynhtos and Moudania.
Ouzo & Tsipouro: Ouzo is made in a traditional way found only in Greece; it belongs to the general category of the alcoholic drinks with a scent of anisos (anitholi). It is a product of marcs distillation and other saccharoid raw materials, which have been scented with seeds of anisos and maybe fennel, mastic of Hios, and other aromatic seeds, plants or fruits. Ouzo, for the distillation of which a special distillation machine (amvikas) is used, can not be submitted to an aging process.
Tsipouro on the other hand, is the clear product of the marcs distillation, which means that it is not submitted to any scenting process. The variety and the fermentation procedures of the grapes, the distillation way, the analogy of ingredients are all the determinative factors during the production procedure. Tsipouro is colorless, and has a very high degree of alcohol, that is why it is often drunk with water and always with some snacks, which traditionally have the following order: light salads, sour (pickles), various dry-salted (sea rover, anchovies, e.t.c) fish, crawfishes, shrimps, rarebit, e.t.c. Many habitants of Halkidiki produce their tsipouro for sale but mostly for domestic use.
Honey: Halkidiki is the motherland of beekeeping. Over 6.500 beekeepers (32% of the country’s total) and 1.910 tons of production of high quality honey, annually, is sufficient to characterize Halkidiki as the center of beekeeping in Greece. Aristotle 2.300 years ago praised the honey and its benefits to man by saying that it prolongs life. Today the area’s beekeepers respect the tradition and exploit the rich fauna of Kassandra, Sithonia and North Halkidiki, in the most pure way by producing great quantities of quality honey of a high nutritional value.
Production areas: Nikiti, Kassandra and Arnea.
Cheese products: The climate and soil conditions, the flora of Halkidiki and the powerful tradition in cattle breeding, result in the production of high quality products. The traditional cheese of Halkidiki, is produced from pure goatish milk and has an increased content of protein. Most of the cattle-breeding units are located in Holomontas Mountain due to the special elements in its climate and ground that contribute to the favourable synthesis of the goatish milk to the cheese production. With respect to tradition, the cattle breeders of Halkidiki produce significant quantities of goatish cheese.
Production areas: Central and South Halkidiki.
Marmalades, Sweets: A great variety of fruits of excellent quality is being cultivated all around Halkidiki, without the use of fertilizers. These tasteful fruits are the raw material for the production of the well-known marmalades and of the special deserts the exceptionally skilled women of Halkidiki make. High quality, special taste and the respect to tradition have established these products in the Greek and foreign market. The traditional marmalades and the deserts of Halkidiki, transform the simple breakfast into a unique and tasteful experience!
Pastries: Both, the traditional and modern bakeries of Halkidiki, create unique bread products and pastries. The hard wheat, which is being cultivated in great areas in Halkidiki and is rich in proteins, amino acids, vitamins and rich acids, is used as the raw material. The traditional recipes which pass from one generation to the next, convert it into delicious pastries. The high nutritional value of the raw materials and the respect to tradition make the local pastries popular to all its visitors.
All over the region one can see the traditional windmills, which were developed for milling grain for food production. There are remains of windmills and watermills in: Kassandria, Ormylia, Sykia (standing from 1840), Metaghitsi, Galatista.
Associations & Cluster
They were founded in several villages of Halkidiki, especially the mountainous ones. The women of the villages were organized to promote their handmade products, to preserve their tradition and transmit their culture. When visiting such an association, the visitors have the chance to taste homemade pasta and pastries, marmalades and liqueurs made of local fruits. There are Associations in: “Dryades”, Varvara village “Ef Gevesthe”, Taxiarchis village “Theofylaktos Klironomia”, Paleochori village “Ta Gennimata”, Vrastama village.
Cluster of Halkidiki
It was founded to connect Halkidiki’s companies and promote them. The Cluster of Halkidiki introduced its members to the “Local Quality Mark” in order to ensure specifications of high quality and balance value for money. The project is still new, but businessmen always on the look out for high standard new business ventures will be interested. More information about products and Associations in Halkidiki: Halkidiki Chamber, www.epichal.gov.gr.
Food in Festivals & Feasts
Sani Gourmet Festival
Sani Gourmet is an annual gastronomic celebration that brings together some of the finest chefs from Greece and around the globe, along with some of the rising stars already starting to make a name in their field. Each year Michelin-starred chefs join the acclaimed line-up set at Sani’s top restaurants to create contemporary dishes that astonish and delight the visitors. Over the ten days, guests are also treated to a number of workshops, presentations and wine tastings. Sani Gourmet is on its way to becoming a world-renowned culinary festival. More on Sani Gourmet: www.sanigourmet.gr
Every religious celebration or cultural feast in Halkidiki would be incomplete without the special tastes that tradition requires. Those courses are cooked by the people of the village that celebrates and are freely given as “Kerasma” (treat to guests).
✓ can’t miss this!
Sausages and wine in Polygyros (Carnival, Ferbuary)
Painted eggs, pies, buns and wine in Arnea (Easter day)
Sardines in Nea Moudania (mid. July) & Nea Roda
Olives in Olynthos (July – last 3 days)
Mussels in Olympiada (6-7 July)
Raki (tsipouro) in Vrastama (14-15 August)
Mushrooms in Taxiarchis (mid. September)
During the religious feasts, the locals treat the guests with: bean soup, grilled meat (souvlaki, sausages) and - of course- wine.
Monday: Ormylia, Nea Triglia
Tuesday: Kassandria, Nea Kallikratia, Ierissos
Wednesday: Nea Moudania, Arnea, Megali Panagia, Galatista
Thursday: Neos Marmaras, Agios Nikolaos, Lakkoma
Friday: Nikiti, Simantra
Saturday: Paleochora, Polygyros, Sykia, Riza-Paleochora