Parians have had their own food habits for many years. If you look at our grandparents’ generation and talk to older people, you will realise how they are happier with the little things. Since the war, they learned to appreciate the local products that grew unsparingly on their own on hills and valleys. They have found a way to transform simple products into delicious dishes that characterize today’s parian cuisine.
Gouna (sun-dried salted fish)
Gouna is one of the most classic dishes you will find in fish taverns of the island. It is made out of sun-dried mackerel fish, cut in the middle and opened like a butterfly. After it is drizzled with salt and herbs and dried in the sun for a few days, it goes into the grill and is usually served with lemon juice. Gouna is a delicious dish that will accompany your ouzo quite perfectly and leave you wanting more.
Chickpeas baked in the oven in a clay pot (skuntavlos)
As a young child a few years back, I remember how impressive I found the preparation of this dish. Cooked in an outdoor wood-fired oven overnight in clay pots with onions, garlic, thyme and wine, this chickpeas will almost taste like they came straight from heaven by the time they are out. This special chickpeas were a traditional Sunday’s dish when the whole family used to gather around the table and is also served in festivals and celebrations. The chickpeas are incredibly soft, tender and delicious with a subtle smoky taste, so you really shouldn’t miss out on them.
Wild greens with skordalia
In Paros, wild greens/grasses are considered by the locals the greatest pleasure. Parians who live on the island often send bags of wild grass to their friends who live in Athens. It is considered the best gift. Wild greens have a prominent place in the gastronomy of Paros and when they are in season they can be cooked in many different ways, such as boiled as a salad, pickled, blushed, as a filling in bread dough or even in an omelette. The most traditional dish is boiled with a special garlic sauce on the side, known as “skordalia”. A really intense and delicious flavour that leaves a strong garlicy smell after. A few tips a parian grandma gave me: eat preferably a dessert with lemon after and chew gum. It is definitely worth the trouble. Ps. If you are lucky, ask for Kalfa, a very special type of greens, which are sweet in the taste and reminiscent of a soft version of asparagus.
Kakavia (fish soup)
Kakavia or otherwise known as the “soup of fishermen” is one of the most favorite dishes of the parians. Kakavi is actually the name of the pot that fishermen used to use for cooking fishes that weren’t suitable for the market. Mainly a fish dish, prepared with three different types of fish, potatoes and other vegetables it is so rich in flavor and nutritional value that you should definitely give it a try.
Karavoles (giant snails)
Karavoles is another authentic parian recipe. With the word caravola in Paros they describe the big snails. Snails on the island are cooked in many ways, such as stew, braised and also with boiled potatoes. Karavoles skordalia are cooked only in Lefkes, as it is the favorite dish of the Lefkians, the inhabitants of this beautiful mountain village. Karavoles is a very special dish for the adventurous that want to taste something extraordinary.
Fava (yellow split peas paste)
A delicious aromatic authentic traditional Greek recipe called “Fava” made with yellow split peas, very popular in parian cuisine. Fava is called pantremeni (“married”) when mixed with onions, capers and sliced tomatoes. Quite frequently served as an appetizer or as a cold salad with chopped onion and parsley. This dish goes well with vegetables and will accompany your white wine or ouzo in the best way possible.
Last but not least a great meze to accompany your suma with, is Salatouri. A typical Mediterranean dish made from the boneless meat of skate fish. Mixed with chopped parsley, onion, dill, pepper, lemon zest, oil and lemon juice it is served cool and will leave a great impression in your memories forever.
As soon as you reach Paros’ port the scents and flavors of the local gastronomy will provoke you to discover the essence of Mediterranean cuisine. Book your dream home villa with us and enjoy the parian culture.