A colorful mosaic of flavours

A colorful mosaic of flavours that puts on a pedestal the meze, the ouzo, but above all  good company.

Lesvos, thanks to its geographical location, is a crossroad of gastronomic cultures that have left their traces in the tastes, smells and recipes of the island. Where the West meets harmoniously with the East, priority is placed on the quality of the materials of the primary sector which are in season and the passion of the cottages industry that highlight the standards of the Mediterranean diet.

Taking a stroll amongst the eleven million olive trees, we take a stop at the “Skalas” [1] of the island for fish in all its variants, fried, grilled, marinated, baked, salted and sun-dried. Depending on the time of year ask to try salted Papalina [2], Lakerda [3], Smarida [4], Hapsi [5], Ktavelia [6], and Trigona [7]. Accompany your ouzo with scallops, “Kalognomes”, quinces, steaming s’lines [8] and thrapsala [9]. Don’t forget to ask about all the kinds of seafood which are “sunbathing” in the fish taverns. Absolute “musts” as accompaniments to balancing out the saltiness are fava (split peas), broad beans, white beans [10], chickpeas from Lisvorio and boiled greens with plenty of fresh lemon juice.

In the mountains, the “meze” takes another form and the palate yearns for charcoal. At such destinations, lamb chops or tender goat, “lepidi” [11], the ewe, the boiled nanny goat with the special cheese “ladotyri” taking a special seat at the table, alongside the various homemade pies made from an assortment of greens and of course the salad to accompany your “diet”.  In the western volcanic side of Lesvos, since antiquity, wine has been the accompaniment of a great variety of local recipes. Here you definitely must ask for wines from local producers. The main stars in all the local menu compositions are played by the “gkiouzlemedes” [12], the “sfouggato” [13], the “sougania” [14], the «kolokythokorfades [15], and all kinds of “keftedes” (patties). After your pilgrimage to Taxiarchis in Mantamados or to Panagia Agiasos, visit the traditional coffee shops (kafeneio) and accompany your coffee or “kainar” [16] with “gemata” [17], “Blatzenta” [18], “loukoumades” bathing in “Vrasma” (fig molasses) [19] or a huge variety of spoon sweets. At religious festivals, you must try “kiskek” [20]. Bon appetite “Morelia”[21]!



1) Skalas: The seaside homes of the villages of the island.

2) Papalina: The sardine of Kalloni, a trademark of the bay, but also of the whole island. A Spongefish, smaller in size than the classic sardine of the sea, but much more delicious. Served fresh, grilled, fried and in many other variations.

3) Lakerda: It is fished in November and December. Served salted, which you will find all year round or grilled.

4) Smarida / Marida: The well-known fish, which is not only served grilled or fried on the island, but also salted. The season that it is most delicious is the spring and the summer.

5) Hapsi: Enjoy it either salted, marinated or fried. You will find the Hapsi (anchovy) in its salted form any time of year, and in summer months you can find it marinated or fried.

6) Ktavelia: Species of small galeous. It is usually served fried accompanied by a special garlic dip (skordalia) and you will find it all year round.

7) Trigona: A type of ray fish. Its taste resembles a very good quality galeous. Served fried with garlic dip (skordalia) or “plaki”, baked in the oven with vegetables.

8) S’lines: Shellfish (tubes) are fished from sandy seabeds. Fishing for S’lines has been banned from time to time but around February you are allowed to fish for S’lines for a short while and if you are lucky you will find them served at a taverna steamed.

9) “Thrapsala”: Wild squid of the sea, served fried.

10) Beans: White beans prepared boiled.

11) “Lepidi”: Little Pork steaks, very delicately cut, light and juicy, the ideal mezes to accompany red wine!

12) “Gkiouzlemedes”: Local fried cheese pies made with feta, eggs and fresh mint. They perfectly accompany meat and seafood.

13) “Sfouggato”: A traditional pie of the island made with zucchini, eggs and cheese.

14) “Sougania”: “Dolmades” rolled in onion scales. You will find them in many taverns all over the island.

15) ”Kolokythokorfades”/ “Kolokytholoulouda”: The flowers of the zucchini. Usually fried as little patties filled with cheese or cooked in a put, stuffed with rice and herbs.

16) “Kainar”’: A hot beverage with an exotic fragrance of cinnamon, pimento, ginger, mountain tea, sage, cloves and peels of orange. Served in cafes of Agiasos.

17) “Gemata”: The traditional “amygdalota” (almond marzipans) of Lesvos, the sweets of marriages because they are sent “peskesi” (as a gift) from the bride to the mother-in-law. You will find them in some traditional cafes and women’s cooperatives all over the island.

18) “Blatzenda”: A syrupy dessert served at weddings, its dough made with olive oil and then sprinkled with walnuts and cinnamon.

19) “Vrasma”: The syrup gathered from the scalding of dried figs along with various herbs. It is used instead of classic syrup and sprinkled over “Loukoumades” -donuts.

20) “Kiskek”: Festive food made out of grounded chick peas, wheat and meat (usually nanny goat or ewe). You will find it at … festivals of course!

21) “Morelia”: A beloved expression used by the locals of the island and a trademark of the local dialect. It is addressed towards both males and females of all ages-good to know to avoid any misunderstandings!