Hectares of Kefalonia land thrive under the Greek sun, offering a great selection of local delicacies, from olive oil and wine, to dairy products and pure honey.


Robola wine, The Kefalonia Spirit!

Mouthwatering delicacies not to be missed while visiting Kefalonia

Viticulture has a long history in Kefalonia. Its roots are lost into the depths of mythology. According to tradition, the first vine on the island was planted by the son of Hermes, Kefalos, and the heroes of the Homeric years drank its wine. Wines such as Robola, Muscat (made of dried raisin), Vostididi Tsouousi, Chirinia, Mavrodaphne of Kefallonia (with intense, beautiful ruby-red colour and a fragrance of black fruits) are produced exclusively in Kefalonia and distinguished for their distinct flavor.

Kefalonia has developed so much the culture regarding the wine that today it's able to produce high quality wines, like the Robola – the most famous wine of Kefalonia. The Robola is a very old grape native of the island.
This deliciously crisp and fruity wine, is produced from grapes grown on the slopes of Mount Aenos and is a great introduction to the unique tastes of the island. Its pure, characteristic bouquet is that of citrus blossoms, peaches, lime and apple. This wine accompanies best fish dishes, although people from Kefalonia prefer it with almost any food or as an aperitif as well.


Olive Oil: The fluid gold of Kefalonia

Olive Oil - The fluid gold of Kefalonia

Homer called olive oil "fluid gold," and Hippocrates called it the best medicine. Cephalonia olive oil is considered unique because of its flavor. There are many reasons why the taste of Cephalonian olive oil is unique. The main ones are the sun, the sea breeze, moisture, excellent soil quality, temperate climate and the full development of the trees. So Kefalonia offers the right soil quality to grow the fruit of the olive tree.

Olive Oil - The fluid gold of Kefalonia

In Makriotika, there is also the Olive Museum of Pylaros that operates since 2010 and recounts the course of the fruit of the olive until it becomes olive oil, in a restored olive press! The production of olive oil on Kefalonia is a tradition and is transferred from generation to generation…


Heavenly Cheese and pies!

Kefalonia Cheese

Cheese has a great history in local food. Traditional Kefalonia cheese is Feta, from the Homeric era! The art of making feta was known to the rest of Greece by Cephalonia cheese makers. But beware, this is not an ordinary feta cheese that can be found in supermarkets called “Greek feta”. This one is really special!

Kefalonia Cheese

Traditional Kefalonian feta cheese is made of ewes or a mixture of ewe’s and goat’s milk. Therefore, you will usually find and see these domestic animals on the hills and roads of Kefalonia.

The traditional cheeses of the island are the feta of Kefalonia and its byproducts, the mizithra (a ricotta-like cheese), graviera (gruviere), kefalotyri (a hard, salty, full-fat cheese), the pretza (local name for feta cheese trimmings) and stouba (local name for myzithra trimmings). Pretza cheese is made from the liquids and cheese trimmings that remain in the barrel, mixed with a lot of myzithra, throumba and dill. They let it go, "smoothen" and then put it on a plate with olive oil. Yiammy!

Some of the most delicious cheeses in Greece are made in the dairies of Pylaros, in Kefalonia. The cheese makers of Pylaros are old-fashioned artists and manage to maintain traditional methods of production. Because of them, feta, kefalotyri and myzithra of Kefalonian cheeses are already well known outside Greek borders!


Τhe Herbs of Kefalonia

Τhe Herbs of Kefalonia

Herbs are nature’s medicine. Kefalonia is blessed. Τhe hills and mountain slopes of Kefalonia are full of oregano, sage, fennel (marathos) thyme and chamomile of excellent quality. In the traditional cuisine of Cephalonia, oregano is substituted by a local variety of marjoram that grows abundantly on the island. The locals call it Sampsiho, and they use it to give a flowery, subtle spiciness to many of their tomato, fish or root vegetable recipes, including, of course traditional Meat Pie! To them, oregano is a must for lentil soups.

Kefalonia Marjoram has an intense flowery and peppery fragrance with hints of citrus. All dishes and foods that traditionally pair well with marjoram will taste even better with this rich varietal.


Mouthwatering Kefalonia “Retsetes” (recipes)

Mouthwatering Kefalonia Retsetes

The traditional cuisine of Kefalonia includes pies, greens and meat dishes which you may not enjoy elsewhere.

The most noted local dishes, range from pies to greeneries and several types of meat: bakaliaropita (cod pie with salted cod), ktapodopita (octopus pie), the Artichoke Pie (using the hearts of artichokes), cheese pies with the unique dairy products of the island, greens pies, rabbit stew, strapatsada (eggs with tomatoes), riganada (bread slices with oregano, fresh tomatoes and local feta cheese), aliada (crushed garlic on a bulky base made of potatoes purée) that usually accompanies the fried cod, and boiled courgettes, which on the island is called “moropoula”, bourbourelia (soup of mixed beans).

Mouthwatering Kefalonia Retsetes

Long before the turkey appeared at the Greeks’ Christmas table, the plate that gave the celebration tone to Kefalonia was Poutrida. It is a cooked pork with a seasonal vegetables, usually a mapa (this is the Kefalonia name for cabbage), or cavole (Kefalonia name for cauliflower) or more rarely broccoli. The dish was usually spicy with the addition of hot pepper or paprika. Some housewives add carrots and / or the juice and zest of a lemon. Some locals cook it also today.

Kefalonians also love Wild greens (chards, sonchus, lapata, kafkalithra) or wild cabbages sautéed with spinach, leeks and onions in order to make Tsigaridia, a very popular and delicious, local dish. Another delicious, seasonal Kefalonia dish is Kalogiria. Kalogiria, along with the wild asparagus are the most popular green dishes in Kefalonia.

Kalogiria is the Kefalonian name for a species of hyacinth with the scientific name muscari comosum .The most widespread recipe in Kefalonia for Kalogiria is, like wild asparagus, with egg omelette. Try it!


Kefalonia Omellette with wild Asparagus or Kalogiria

Ingredients (for 2-3 people)

a bunch (or a large handful) wild asparagus or Kalogiria, washed and drained

  • 4 eggs
  • milk (optional)
  • olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • oregano

Implementation

Pour a little oil into the pan, just cover the bottom. Once the oil is warm enough, pour the wild asparagus (or Kalogiria) either in one piece or cut into 2-3cm pieces. Stir asparagus a little in the pan, just wither (2 minutes is enough).

In the meantime you knock the eggs with the milk (milk is optional), and pour the mixture into the pan. If you wish so, add some feta trimmings. Add salt and pepper and cook your omellete.
TIP: Add Kefalonia oregano, matches perfectly!

Kefalonia Omellette with wild Asparagus or Kalogiria

Bon appetit!

Other popular Kefalonia meat dishes: hare with red sauce, rooster with thick spaghetti, roasted rooster with potatoes, rabbit in vinegar, veal prokado (cloves and garlic are inserted in the meat), pastitsio with goat and lamb or pork with potatoes and Chicken tserepa.

Chicken tserepa

Tserepa is an age-old cooking technique found in Kefalonia. It is thought to originate in Ithaca, Odysseus’ long-lost isle just to the east. The tserepa is a traditional clay cooking vessel used over charcoal. Customarily the chicken for the dish is marinated overnight in a heady brew of oregano, smashed garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Then it’s baked in the tserepa with tomato sauce, wine, lemon juice and potatoes, and comes out tender and delicious. No tserepa? You can simulate the conditions in a covered casserole dish.

The most popular Kefalonia dish, however, is Kefalonia Meat-Pie. Although everybody knows the kefalonian meat pie, a few know that local housewives made it using three different types of meat (pork, goat and beef), fewer know its variations (in Lixouri they use plums) and even fewer know how many other types of pies are made in the island of Kefalonia. This delicious meat pie is a traditional local dish you mustn't miss while visiting Kefalonia Island! Let's have a look at the recipe.

Kefalonia Meat Pie (Kreatopita)

Ingredients for the filling

  • ½ kg beef cut into cubes
  • ½ kg goat meat cut into cubes
  • ½ kg pork meat cut into cubes
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 250gr kefalotyri or feta cheese, grated
  • 60ml red wine
  • 60ml water
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 spoon of marjoram finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of parsley finely chopped
  • 2-3 spoonfuls of tomato paste
  • 70gr of medium grain rice

Ingredients for the traditional phyllo pastry

  • ½ kg of flour
  • salt
  • juice from one lemon
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ tea cup of olive oil
  • approx. 1 tea cup of tepid water

Kefalonia Meat Pie Kreatopita


Stuffing Preparation

Brown the meat dices in a pan using half of the quantity of olive oil and onion. Remove from fire and add the tomato paste diluted in the wine, the garlic, parsley and marjoram. Next you add the rice, remaining olive oil, cheese and water.

Phyllo pastry

Mix the flour, salt, water, lemon juice, olive oil, baking soda in a basin and knead until the dough becomes soft and smooth. Separate the dough in two balls and shape it with a rolling pin into two flat thick sheets.

Oil an oblong baking dish 35x20cm and lay one of the phyllo sheets on the bottom. Spread the stuffing on it and cover it with the other sheet. Fold the excess dough edges towards the inside. Sprinkle with water and olive oil and bake at 220oC until the dough becomes crisp and golden brown.


Kali Orexi! Bon Appetit!


Pure Honey & Sweets!

Kefalonia Pure Honey and Sweets

Kefalonian honey has already been exported to Venice and Ancona since the 16th century! It acquired European fame and is considered the most excellent honey after the honey of Narbonne and the “tear” of Spain. Its cultivation turned out to prosper economically and in 1528 was imposed by Venice governor to pay a 10th in taxation.

After the Venetian domination the apiculture continued to prosper in Kefalonia also with the help of “Vallianeio” Agricultural School which was the cause for the development and the swift increase in the number of beehives and their modernization.

It is noteworthy that in 1926 school teacher Evangelos Drakopoulos, from Pylaros area of Kefalonia, was awarded for his honey in San Fransisco, USA. The quantity of honey that is produced in Kefalonia remains constant over the last years oscillating to 70 tons annually. Thyme honey constitutes for the main import of this product of about roughly 90%. Towards the end of July and the beginning of August the blossoming of wild herbs, lavender and oregano and especially thyme all give an exceptionally good taste, aroma and a bright, dense colour. Today, there are about 400 honey makers on the island, some officially registered and some not, with about 13.000 European beehives in an overwhelming majority!

Kefalonia Sweets and Delicacies

Thyme and Spruce Honey are varieties of honey that prosper on the island due to its plant life and climate. Thyme honey is light-colored and well-known for its quality, rich flavor and scent, regarded to be amongst the best types of honey produced in Greece. On the other hand, Spruce honey comes from the nectar of flowers and is of high quality and taste. It is said that honey helps those suffering from anemia, or from a heart condition and it is rejuvenating. It contains more than 180 different original elements and Greek tradition says that it sweetens people’s lives and brings good luck to the newlyweds. In recent years it is used in many Greek recipes that contain meat or sea food creating new “exploding” tastes.

Kefalonia Mandola and Mandolato

Mandola is a traditional sweet treat that can only be found in the Ionian Islands and is one of the most well-known traditional products of Kefalonia. This sweet delicacy is made of almonds and sugar, while its vibrant deep red color comes from a kind of seaweed that the locals use traditionally in food coloring.
The classic dessert of Kefalonia is mandola (from the Italian word “mandorla” which means almond), made from caramelized roasted almonds.

Other Kefalonia desserts are: amygdalopita (almond cake- try it with ice cream- the perfect mach), moustopita (cake with must), pasta flora (jam tart), kserotigana (butterfly shaped pastries that are fried then dipped in honey and sprinkled with crushed almonds), the Sperna, (a dish that is common in Kefalonia – symbolizes the rebirth of life and It includes all the fruits, steamed boiled, almonds, raisins, walnuts, orange, pomegranate, parsley etc), and mizithropita a cheese-based dessert - long before the Cheese cakes!

Kefalonian moustopita and pastokidono or Komfeto

Other desserts of Kefalonia are moustopita made from must, semolina and almonds, and pastokidono or Komfeto (quince paste with almonds). Long before chocolates and other modern sugar-based confections appeared on the scene in Greece, people of Kefalonia were fond of quince, an autumn harvest sweet. So, in early November begins the harvesting of quinces from the wild quince trees that grow in Palliki region. At first, fruits get cut and the hardest part of the procedure comes next, with the peeling and de-pitting of the quinces totally by hand. Then, fruits get smashed, mixed with sugar and boiled. In the form of marmalade, gets enriched with roasted almonds and honey. This is how pastokidono is made, a very tasty and healthy dessert.

kefalonian amigdalota and mandolato

Amigdalota (Almond macaroons of Kefalonia) are delicious. Almond paste is mixed with zest and juice of fresh oranges and lemons, then the mixture is dipped in sliced almonds to form the famous Kefalonia almond macaroons. Then the macaroons are baked until they become golden brown.

Mantolato, a wonderful tasty titbit for children and adults, which combines the healthy honey with the exquisite taste of the roasting almond.

For those who want to discover special culinary delights, the Kefalonian cuisine will surprise them pleasantly.

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