10 Traditional Foods and Drinks from Mykonos to Try Out
Mykonos is one of the most famous Greek islands, along with Santorini, of course. From its high-dining restaurants to its windmills and the gorgeous Little Vienna, there is something in Mykonos for everyone.
If you want to party til you drop, Mykonos has you covered. If you want to pamper yourself with luxury and elegance, Mykonos has you covered. If you want tradition and picturesque paved paths through whitewashed, sugar cube houses with brightly colored doors and shutters, well, Mykonos has the best.
But what also makes Mykonos one of the best places to be is its choice of unique foods and dishes that are the product of centuries of culinary heritage and history. The traditional foods here are imbued with the island’s history, marked by the Cycladic weather, and infused with its people’s thirst for good taste, intense flavor, and joy in eating.
A lot of the dishes associated with the Greek cuisine are actually derived from extremely popular Cycladic foods. But in the spirit of uniqueness, we have compiled a list of irresistible foods you will only find on Mykonos, at least in their completely authentic version. As for the drinks, Mykonos has a lot to offer in that department as well, so keep on reading!
The beauty of Mykonos’ cuisine
Like all of Greek local cuisines, that on Mykonos is a variation of the Greek Mediterranean cuisine and diet. The island has been inhabited since early antiquity and is even featured in one of Hercules’ feats: when he fought the Giants, he tossed their bodies into the sea, where they petrified, forming islands, one of which was Mykonos.
Mykonos has been a hub of commerce and travel. In ancient times its location near the most sacred island of Delos made it a prime place for people to travel to. Its population has never dwindled throughout its turbulent history, not with the fall of the Byzantine Empire nor when Mykonos was conquered by Venetians and Ottomans.
Each of these influences left their mark in the island’s unique local cuisine, which centers around making the most of what produce there is, especially important when trade was frugal or even impossible, but also enjoying the best of luxuries when they were accessible.
The result is a cuisine that respects and elevates good quality produce, while making the most of all local ingredients. The fragrance of local herb blends enhance the taste of various locally produced meats, while vegetables and seafood balance out in a tasty embrace in several dishes. The choice of dessert is rich in pastries and sugary nuts.
What follows are some of the best dishes and foods you should make sure to try when you’re in Mykonos, in no particular order.
1. The Bread of Mykonos
The famous windmills of Mykonos are not there for show. The island has a rich breadmaking history, which thankfully has been preserved and some of the most traditional types of bread are still sold in bakeries there. Traditional Mykonos bread is actually made with barley rather than wheat.
Look out for the large, heavy kouvaroti, which is a round bread with a great taste. There is also an uneven loaf called poulos and the smaller sized version called poularaki (literally “little poulos”), which are made with a mix of barley and wheat flours.
Lastly, Mykonos is well known for a special kind of rustic rusk called dipyrites, originally a traveler’s bread that today pairs beautifully with salads.
2. The Cheeses of Mykonos
Like other Cycladic islands where arable land is limited, herds of livestock used to be central to local agricultural production in Mykonos.
The result is a rich variety of different local cheeses which are now celebrated for their unique flavor. Of these, make sure to try xinotyro, which is a versatile white cheese made with a blend of milks (sheep’s, goat’s, and even cow’s), and comes in the shape of a cone. It can be soft or really hard, which is a great cheese for grating. As its name implies, it is sour and savory.
There is also the famous kopanisti, which is a soft cheese made with the same fungus as used to make Roquefort. It is off-white, especially creamy, and salty and spicy in taste. It is also the only cheese from the Cyclades that is PDO.
For more information on local cheeses, check out our story on the most famous Greek cheeses.
Louza is a very special local charcuterie. It is made with pork and involves a lengthy process, which can only be done traditionally once a year.
Towards the end of fall, pork is laid out to be sun dried. Then, it is packed with salt, pepper, various spices, tightly bound and hung to air dry throughout the winter. It is ready in the early days of summer, whereupon it’s cut into very thin slices and served with alcohol and bread.
Louza lasts for the entire year and traditionally the main way meats were preserved in the past. It tastes silky, is very fragrant and salty, and is the flavor of pork at its best. Currently it is considered a sought after delicacy. Truly traditionally made louza is relatively rare so make sure to sample it when you find it!
4. Mostra (Classic Mykonos Appetizer)
This popular appetizer balances perfectly with all of the foods so far described. Dipyrites rusks are piled with chopped fresh tomato, olive oil, and kopanisti cheese. If feeling very opulent, louza slices top the entire thing together with oregano.
The juices of the fresh tomato together with the oil soften the rusk up into a crunchy, delectable base for the famous kopanisti cheese and potentially the louza!
Mostra is considered the classic Mykonos appetizer or snack of summer, so make sure you give it a try!
5. Kremmydopita (Onion Pie)
Mykonos’ traditional onion pie is made with local sweet onions, a special local cheese that is specifically made for pies (called trivolia), and a large variety of herbs for fragrance.
The combination of herbs varies from household to household, so you won’t taste the exact same onion pie in two different establishments, even now that it’s made commercially. The dough is rolled out by had in several crispy layers to add crunchiness to the flavorful softness of the filling. Simply delicious!
6. The Sausages of Mykonos
The traditional Mykonos sausage is short and stout and made with pork, and almost no fat at all. As with the louza, the sausages are packed with salt, pepper, spices, and oregano or other herbs and air dried until ready.
They remain succulent and extremely flavorful no matter how they’re cooked!
7. Kalathakia (Almond Cakes)
Kalathakia are the traditional Mykonos almond cakes that look like little baskets, hence their name. They are made with a dough base of butter, flour, and eggs, and filled with an aromatic filling of ground almonds and cinnamon.
The result is a tasty cookie that goes great with your coffee or as a quick snack when taking a break from exploring the island.
8. Melopita (Honey Pie)
Mykonos’ melopita is really a cheese cake, but a Greek one!
The filling is made with trivolia cheese, the cheese that’s made to specifically go into pies, mixed with local thyme or flower honey. The base is a handmade special dough. The whole thing is syrupy, extremely tasty, and very light.
9. Tsimpita (Sweet Cheese Pies)
The name of these pies means “pinched ones”, thanks to how they are shaped by pinching the dough. They are traditionally made for carnival season.
Travolia cheese is mixed with cinnamon and other spices, honey, and sugar, to make the soft, creamy treat. You can find it throughout the year nowadays, so make sure you try it!
10. The Drinks of Mykonos
The most famous drink from Mykonos is soumada, made with almonds and rose water. It is pure white, very sweet, and very fragrant as it is often made with scented waters such as orange water or flower water.
It comes concentrated and is diluted with iced water when served. Because it is so white, it used to be a wedding party treat. Nowadays, it’s considered the best afternoon drink on a hot summer day.
Mykonos produces a specific variety of deep red wine called Mavri Kountoura, which is made with sun dried grapes and has a very powerful, distinctive taste. Assyrtiko white wine is also made on Mykonos, which is very similar to the one from Santorini.
Mykonos is an oasis of internationally acclaimed fine-dining cuisine. But a lot of it wouldn’t be unique to the island if were not for they way its traditional cuisine has inspired exquisite fusion creations that foodies around the world enjoy.
The greatest thing about it is that high levels of tourism and bids for luxury haven’t managed to quench the authentic, traditional foods and dishes that make Mykonos’ cuisine unique. They are there for everyone to enjoy, so use our list as your starting point to one of the greatest culinary adventures you will ever experience, on the gorgeous island of Mykonos!
Related: Most Popular Greek Desserts