Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades. It was the centre of archaic Cycladic culture. The island is famous as a source of emery, a rock rich in corundum, which until the modern time was one of the best abrasives available. The emery mines of Naxos have been declared protected by the Ministry of Culture and are an important monument of the modern industrial history of Greece.
Naxos is the most fertile island of the Cyclades. It has a good supply of water in a region where water is usually inadequate. Mount Zeus (1,004 metres or 3,294 feet) is the highest peak in the Cyclades, and tends to trap the clouds, permitting greater rainfall. This has made agriculture an important economic sector with various vegetable and fruit crops as well as cattle breeding, making Naxos the most self-sufficient island in the Cyclades.
Naxos is famous for its cheese products (PDO graviera of Naxos, arseniko, thilikotiri, xinotiri, goat-milk white like feta cheese, ladotiri), and is also well-known for its potatoes. The local citrus liqueurs are renowned.
As for its meat dishes, there is a great variety to try, such as pork ‘rosto’ (garlic-and-wine pork in the pot), pork fricassee with ‘provatses’ (Amaranth horta), kokoras krasatos, kouneli lemonato ( rabbit cooked in lemon juice and herbs), roasted or boiled goat meat with potatoes or macaroni, kalogeros (beef with eggplant and cheese), kokkinisto (veal braised in tomato sauce), stuffed lamb with celery and fennel, “gardoumia” ( gardoumba in the oven, in the pot or grilled over coals).
And as in every island, Naxos has its seafood dishes: gouna (chub or tinker mackerel), salatouri (skate), marinated anchovies, astakomakaronada (lobster with spaghetti) and octopus grilled over coals.
At the end of the meal, try the melachrino.