Kopanisti, Mykonos‘ trademark spicy, peppery fermented cheese, has become one of Mykonos’s best known mezedes.
This soft cheese, stored in brine, with its strong taste and creamy texture, which ranges in colour from white to pale beige, is also made on the neighbouring islands of Syros and Tinos from cow’s, ewe’s or goat’s milk or a mixture and has been awarded PDO status as a typical product of the Cyclades.
Kopanisti is produced in the following way: Initially the milk is stirred well with pectin and warmed in a large cauldron. After 24 hours of rest it turns into thick buttermilk, a substance similar to watery yogurt but with a more sour taste. In the next phase the buttermilk is strained for 24 hours in cheesecloth. The resulting soft cheese (tyrobolia) is used in salads, pie and sweets and its flavour and shape are similar to fresh myzithra (a cheese comparable to ricotta). When this ball is salted and kneaded, over and over, with the addition of a little kopanisti from a previous batch, it becomes a new batch of kopanisti (a word that comes from the verb to pound).
The whole island of Delos – the best preserved ancient city in Greece – has been declared an archaeological site and any visit to it has to conform to certain rules and regulations. No one is permitted to stay on the island in the late afternoon to enjoy the sunset and spending the night there is even more strictly forbidden, except once a year, on the eve of Agia Kyriaki (Saint Kyriaki)’s day,... Read more
In just a few lines Michalis Kounenis from Mykonos, known as Babelis, the top bagpipe player of the Cyclades, paints a loving picture of the feast of Tragonisi. The church of the Virgin Mary’s feast day falls on that of Saints Barnabas and Bartholomew, the 11th of June. Departing from Kalafatis, in half an hour you arrive at a little inlet, somewhat protected from the north wind. Tall cliffs surround... Read more
My friends are rendered speechless, those who will listen to me at least, when I tell them that the festivals of Mykonos are among the most vibrant in the Aegean. They can’t grasp that behind the ‘lifestyle’ façade of the island lies authenticity and that the people of Mykonos still value their festivals. The religious character of the festivals of Mykonos does not differ much from that of the other... Read more
Mostra Made of two of its most characteristic products, kopanisti and rusks, Mostra is one of the island’s best known mezedes. While spicy kopanisti was relished only by the locals and a few connoisseurs until recently, the Mykonos Dairy Factory (Tyrokomeio Mykonou) using modern packaging and marketing has succeeded in placing this exotic product in most city supermarkets. Rusks, though popular... Read more
Kopanisti is made the traditional way by dozens of farmers, who often sell it to individuals or to little grocery stores. However, the island’s only authorized kopanisti cheese maker is the Koukas family who have opened an ultramodern plant at Palaiokastro in Ano Mera, where they use the milk from their herd of cows which is the largest (130 animals) in the Cyclades. Up to 2014 a significant amount... Read more
One of the most interesting of the many Greek preserved meat products is the highly aromatic louza of Mykonos and its variations in the Cyclades. On Mykonos, louza is seasoned solely with allspice and savoury, which makes its taste more robust. On Tinos they use black pepper and an abundance of fennel seeds, while on Syros they make a blend of wine, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Traditionally,... Read more