Chios is an island in the North Aegean that retains its beauty unchanged. It is famous for its mastic and the beautiful Mastic villages, its medieval villages, the lovely beaches and its fertile plain with the endless orchards with citrus, but also some of the most attractive traditional houses of the island.
It combines the modern with the traditional way of life; an island with wild, unexplored beauty and impressive landscapes with more than 90 beaches.
The homeland of the mastic tree which, although it belongs to a phylum of trees found all over the world, this particular species grows exclusively in Chios and is closely adapted to the local flora and fauna. This tree gave Chios a privileged status during the Turkish occupation, where all the production of mastic was given to the Ottoman state, with the result that the product is almost absent from the local cuisine.
The local cuisine is very much influenced from Alexandria, Izmir and Constantinople (Istanbul). Some typical dishes that are found today:
Fish and seafood: A typical dish is potatoes with herring yiahni (from Mesta) in the southern part of the island.
Meat: hares, partridges and wild pigeons are sources of protein for the inhabitants, in addition to breeding animals for their milk, cheese.
“Hare with horta is an excellent dish that includes broad bean leaves, poppies, and a few sprigs of mastic trees. Cooking meat is simple but delicious: either boiled or kokkinisto.
On weddings and festivals, goat yiahni with hondros (coarsely chopped wheat) is common while the pork is boiled.
The pork preserves are not consumed at Christmas as in the rest of Greece after the hirosfaghia but after Halloween (Sunday of the Prodigal Son).
Hen is cooked yiahni with handmade pasta and goat or sheep stew as a soup.
Small, anhydrous tomatoes are harvested in August and stored throughout the winter. The resulting sauce is red, shiny and thick.
Between the legumes, the most popular are broad beans.
Capers are pickled (‘tursi’) together with their sprouts, making one of the best meze for tsipouro.
Souma of Chios is a strong alcoholic beverage made from figs that have fermented and then distilled.
Cheeses and pita: kopanisti made in ‘tulumia’ (leather bags) and kopanistopita are pita using kopanisti cheese.
Mastelo from Chios (with goat or cow milk) is a fine cheese based on “pasta filatura” and looks like halloumi of Cyprus.
Popular are also baked sweets such as baklava and small wrapped sweets filled with almond paste or grated almonds.
Melalevria: A sweet with almonds, sesame, honey and cinnamon.
Mamulia: A kind of kourabie stuffed with chopped walnuts.
Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, citrus fruits) predominate, as they are abundant and spoon sweet are made from citrus flowers.
Other local dishes are:
Fried broad beans with garlic
Vegetable soup with “beetroots” or with “wild greens”
Avgokalamara, a wrapped meze with minced meat and eggs like omelette
Voli: meze with hondros, pancetta, and aromatic herbs
The interest for wine tourism in Chios is focussed in the north-western part of the island at Amani, where most of the vineyards are located, and to the tradition of “Ariousios wine” that was produced on the island in the classic ancient world.