In Greek myth, god Apollo, worshipped with special affection by Naxiots, left on the island of Naxos his son Aristaios, who was an excellent cheese maker, to teach the islanders the art of cheese making.
Although tens of centuries have passed since then, Naxos, being an island blessed with fertile plains, abundant water resources, mountains with rich vegetation and endless grazing lands, is still characterized by a particularly developed livestock sector and produces some of the best-known Greek cheeses.
Together with other islands of the Cyclades, Naxos has a long tradition in cow milk cheeses dating back to the rule of the Venetians and their catholic governors who were the first to introduce such foods and their production method to the islands. In the 16th century, the Cyclades were the only region in Greece where dairy cows roamed on its fields, and thus, the inhabitants of these islands were put early on the right track to master the art of cow milk cheese making.
Nowadays, more than 10,000 cows graze on the land of Naxos while there are more than 100,000 free-ranging sheep and goats mostly on the island’s mountainous part, accounting for an annual production of 1,500 tonnes of cheese.
Gardoumia is a special meze from lamb intestines that is made on the island of Naxos, just like in Crete; besides, the strong connections between the two islands are well-known. Meze holds a special place in the Greek culinary tradition and could be described as an appetizer, a treat to share with friends in a relaxed environment. Gardoumia is a popular dish among mountain and pastoral farming/shepherds’... Read more
A landscape of riotously grown plane trees, flowing springs and small vegetable groves and vineyards growing supported by dry-stone walls is the scenery housing the village of Komiaki in Naxos built in amphitheatric fashion at 550 above sea level overlooking the Icarian Sea. The village had 2,000 inhabitants in the past but nowadays, it only counts 500. The precious little religious fete (panigyri)... Read more
The wood-fired bakery of Velonis in Naxos Velonis Bakery (O Fournos tou Veloni) in the Chora of Naxos gives a courageous battle against developing trends and is one of those few bakeries left still making bread, delighting locals and travellers with the splendid smell of freshly baked bread spreading all around the neighbourhood. Wood-fired bakeries are becoming more and more scarce on the islands... Read more
Kitron Naxou is a liqueur obtained by the distillation of pure alcohol in traditional copper stills. The leaves of the citron tree (citrus medica, kitria in Greek), reach in essential oils with a strong aroma, are the raw ingredient used in the distillation process and were originally used by wine growers in the distillation of raki. On the island of Naxos, the cultivation of citron trees dates back... Read more
Emmanuel Vas. Koufopoulos Driven by the long tradition of cheese making in his island and utilizing the technological advances as a stepping stone, Manolis V. Koufopoulos, a cheese maker from Naxos, founded in 1990 his dairy farm in the area of Agios Isidoros, at Galanados village, in Naxos. The Dairy Farm of Em. Koufopoulos “Naxos Cheese-Making Industry”, despite its small-scale production as compared... Read more
EAS Naxou The Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Naxos (EAS Naxou), founded in 1926 and rapidly growing ever since, is the driving force of the agricultural sector of the island and a powerful engine for its economic growth. Currently, the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Naxos counts 26 member cooperatives and a total of 3,274 participating members (farmers, stock farmers). Cheese making... Read more