Food and Wine

Santorini, once known to the ancient world as Thira, is a place of magical vistas, unique culture, and some of the most delicious food traditions in a region known for its mastery of the culinary arts. It is also a gem among treasure for those who enjoy traditionally tended and aged wines with distinctive flavors to compliment the sumptuous fare. The volcanic history of the island renders it ideal for the cultivation of vines. For those planning a journey to this enchanted isle, a bit of guidance in this realm may help them to enjoy Santorini's food and wine culture to the fullest extent.

Wine Culture

While wine has been produced on this archipelago for many centuries, Santorini wines attained fame of a broader scope during the Medieval and Renaissance periods under Venetian aegis. This influence is still readily seen in the Vinsanto vintages—originally known as Vin Santo — and is highly distinctive in its bouquet due to the practice of pressing grapes that have been first dried in the sun. This style is known as passito. These and other island reds compliment the traditionally Greek flavor profiles found in lamb dishes, with a subtle interplay of rich earthy tones and piquant, fruity notes.

The Assyrtico, a dry white wine, pairs fabulously with the flavors often featured in the lighter fare of the island. When enjoying grilled octopus or highly spiced shrimp in the dappled shade of an afternoon terrace, sip this lovely, crisp wine as a perfect compliment. If you're dining later in the evening, look for one of the island blends of Assyrtico and Aidani. Vintages of this sort compliment seafood and poultry dishes with their tightly clustered bouquets of earth, sage, and citrus tangs. For those who favor sweeter white wines, the islands vineyards offer up a delightful array, fit for both those with cultivated palates and those who are still exploring.

Traditions of the Table

With so many unique flavors to sample, you should be open to trying some of everything. Whether it's dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with minced beef and spiced rice, or stifado, a casserole of meat, onions, vinegar, tomatoes, and garlic, be prepared to eat as you have never done before. The Greeks are masters of dishes with sources ranging from hilly pastureland to the unmatched blue of the sea. As well, don't skimp on the signature Greek salad—a fresh mélange of lettuce, onion, tomato, and rich feta cheese.