Samos’ cuisine isn’t just influenced by its lush and fruitful landscapes (mountains, valleys, forests and sea) but also by the culinary customs brought over by Greek migrants, merchants and travelers visiting Asia Minor or other parts of the country.
The island grows and produces an abundance of foods it has become known for: the famous sweet Samian wine, extra virgin olive oil, citrus fruits, throumbi herb, reminscent of oregano, and bournelo, a small, juicy tomato.
Traditional recipes also make the most of Samos’ rich variety of wild and aromatic greens, such as trifluhortara, zougi, fteres and orvyes.
Bakers customarily use sweet-scented black sesame seeds, known as mavrosousamo or mavro kymino to season their pies and breads.
A Samos specialty most loved by meat-eaters is baby goat, cooked in numerous ways, but especially stuffed and roasted with garlic and potatoes, or in a tomato sauce (kokkinisto). There are plenty of recipe and restaurant choices for fish and seafood lovers, presenting dishes that go from the classic grilled or fried fish to those with more intricate sauces and condiments.
Another Samos specialty are stuffed vegetables: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, aubergines, onions and zucchini are stuffed with rice or minced meat that have been sauteed with herbs and spices and baked in the oven.
Chickpea patties with garlic and tomato puree, are another local favorite, as are zucchini flowers, and these are served in most restaurants throughout the island. One of the most beloved foods on Samos are the bourekia, which are made with filo pastry prepared and rolled out to a paper-thin texture that is then cut into strips, stuffed with squash and local cheese, as well as cinammon and herbs, rolled out like spring rolls, and fried or baked to a crispy texture.The result is a mouthwatering, sweet-savory treat that can be topped either with a sprinkle of cheese or drizzled with honey.
When Samiots celebrate their Orthodox saints, they prepare a unique dish called kishtek or giorti. The main ingredient of the dish is goat meat, which is boiled for around 12 hours in a cauldron together with a large quantity of onions and wheat. The dish is served hot right after the Holy Liturgy.
With such a wonderful and awarded selection of wines being produced on Samos, it’s no surprise that locals enjoy accompanying their favorite foods with plenty of wine or souma, a distilled drink made from grapes. Whether you are sampling a hima (barrel) wine at a taverna or ordering a more established label, you’re sure to enjoy it. It’s also well worth taking a trip to the wine museum and enjoying a tasting of all the wines created by the union of winemakers on the island.