An amazing bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables can be found in Messinia, encouraged by an ideal climate and traditional cultivation methods. Olives and olive oil are on top of the list, but so are vinegar, honey, figs, herbs, homemade jams and more.The olive tree is perhaps the most beloved in this part of Greece, thanks to excellent soil and old harvesting methods. Kalamata olive oil and olives, named after the capital of Messinia, are protected by name to distinguish them from other varieties.
Winemaking has existed in Messinia for millennia, a tradition which today manifests itself in exceptional fruity wines full of flavour and colour. They are aged in winery cellars to produce a great taste and 'jovial' bouquet.Messinia produces around 6,000 tons of dried figs every year, which are perfectly dried in late August and September by the heat. The fig is nutritious and acts as a mild laxative, enjoyed fresh as a fruit or dry and ripened. Sometimes it even accompanies alcoholic spirits.
An abundance of tomatoes, potatoes, peas, cucumbers, squash, melons, augergines, peppers and watermelons are grown on coastal areas, such as Methoni, Petalidi, Logga, Chrani, Finikounda, Romanou and Koryfasio. The Spring Potato is even exported to England and Germany.Worth trying also is the local Pasteli, the nutritious sesame-honey bar that give a boost during hikes and lazy days at the beach. Messinian Pasteli is considered superior than many others. Also on the sweet front are the local Diples, a fried and crunchy doughy dessert dribbled with honey.
The area's raisins are also well known, and Corinth Raisins are grown here (particulary Pylia, Trifylia and Messini), even if Corinth itself is in the neighbouring prefecture of Corinthia. Keep these dark, juicy raisins with you as a snack wherever you go, as they're full of iron, potassium and other nutrients. Dried naturally, these raisins also used to make quality vinegar and spirits.If you're in Lagadia, head to the Katastima Trofimon (literally 'Food Shop') run by the amicable Kanella Mouroutsou. You'll find homemade sweets, cheeses, dried fruits, vinegar, local fruit preserves, grains, honey and sun dried tomatoes, among many other traditional ingredients and fare.