Lesbos is the eighth largest in the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Turkey with hot springs, pine forests, a large and diverse avifauna, and its world-renowned “petrified forest”, formed due to volcanic activity about 20 million years ago. Mytilene, the capital of the island is overlooked by a large fortress -one of the largest in the Mediterranean- dating to the Byzantine era and believed to have been erected on top of an ancient acropolis. The large number of exhibits showcased at the Archaeological Museum of Mytilene is a testament to the island’s millennia-old history.
It is also widely known for its many olive groves, producing olive oil of excellent quality, the diverse cheeses with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) such as ladotiri, Mytilene feta, and Eresso kaseri, pickled sardines, and anchovies (caught in the Gulf of Kalloni), fruits and nuts, which thanks to the island’s lively women’s cooperatives are transformed into handmade spoon sweet, marmalades and liqueurs, honey from thyme, pine and aromatic blossoms, wine from local grape varieties, and fresh fish and shellfish together with the most renowned product of Lesbos, ouzo.
Local and special:
The specialties which you must by all means try are souyiana (onions stuffed with meat and rice), lamb stuffed with pieces of liver, raisins and pine nuts, the chachles (boat-shaped trahana in olive oil, tomato, and feta), giouzlemedes (tiropita with a savoury or sweet filling), sfougato, tomatoes and eggplant stuffed with octopus, roasted sardines filled with pickles and capers or wrapped in grape leaves, and lahanodolmades stuffed with cod, carrot, and celery.
Sweet and beloved:
In Lesbos, dozens of women’s cooperatives and cottage enterprises make traditional sweets. Baklava with almonds and anthonero, gemata (a local kind of amygdalota), plantzeta (syrupy filo made plain or stuffed with walnuts or almonds and sprinkled with cinnamon), kolokythopita, and an endless variety of spoon sweets.