10 Delicious Skiathos Dishes You Can’t Taste Anywhere Else!
Skiathos is a lovely Greek island in the Aegean, belonging to the Sporades island group. Though it is tiny relative to others, it is extremely popular because it is stunning in natural beauty and has over 60 gorgeous beaches and a thriving nightlife that somehow balances out with relaxation and tradition.
Skiathos is the perfect destination for those looking to keep their vacation options open. Being both cosmopolitan and deeply traditional, Skiathos has everything you could possibly want, including an amazing local cuisine!
It’s generally known that the delectably healthy and nutritious Mediterranean diet manifests in all of Greek cuisine: tasty vegetables, succulent fruit, just a dash of dairy and meat, all cooked mostly in the high-quality olive oil that Greece is famous for. However, what is less known is that Greek cuisine has a wide array of local variations, with amazing dishes representing just a single island or region. These dishes carry the area’s unique local traditions and history, as well as the overall culture and common experiences that make Greeks Greek.
And Skiathos is no exception, boasting amazing local dishes to the point that it has recently become one of the prime destinations for foodies and gourmands! We have gathered the most popular and iconic Skiathos dishes so that you know what to look for when you visit!
Kalapodia is the name for shoe trees. The pies that share the name were shaped like old time shoe trees, which were oblong and roughly shaped.
Kalapodia are made with hand-kneaded dough, filled with local wild greens and herbs, then baked until they are crunchy outside and warm and creamy on the inside. They are a great local snack or breakfast food!
2. Skiathitiki Tyropita (Skiathos Cheese Pie)
Skiathos cheese pie made such an impression back in the day that not one but two of Greece’s most famous literature giants wrote about it – that’s how good it is!
It is made with hand-kneaded dough that is rolled out very thin. The filling is local soft Greek cheese mixed with a variety of herbs to add a fragrant punch. Egg and copious amounts of butter are used as the filling is rolled into the dough and then shaped into a spiral.
Completely traditional cheese pie demands that it is then fried in olive oil, but it can be baked in the oven just as well. The result is a very tasty, crunchy outside and creamy goodness inside! Variation on the cheese pie include wild greens for the filling or spinach with cheese – all just as delectably exquisite.
3. Syvrasi with Tomato and Grouper Fish
Syvrasi is a common method of starting a lot of dishes, where chopped onion is fried on medium heat with constant stirring so the juices and flavor are drawn out.
After that, depending on the dish, more vegetables are added. In the case of this iconic dish, the syvrasi is topped with freshly chopped tomato and grouper fish in a fresh combination of powerful flavors that are perfectly balanced and extremely tasty.
4. Crayfish with Wild Greens
Though today crayfish and similar seafood such as shrimp or lobster are expensive delicacies, in the old days of Skiathos they were simply called shells and were a hard sell.
Being rather unsellable, fishermen relied on the creativity of their wives to elevate what was back then considered poor man’s food to feed everyone. And so they did! In this very representative and succulent Skiathos dish, crayfish are combined with cooked wild greens.
These wild greens can be any combination of spinach, chard, or chicory with a lot of herbs and other flavorful greens such as chervil, hartwort, and fennel. They are cooked together with the crayfish in olive oil, blending all the fragrances and flavors to make the crayfish stand out and feel plentiful.
5. Monkfish Stifado
While you may be familiar with stifado, a highly popular Greek beef stew, the Skiathos stifado is prepared with monkfish rather than beef. Monkfish is a coveted fish in Greece and stifado is usually made with prime cut beef, so for Skiathos the combination was inevitable!
The monkfish is cured in lemon water then added to the pot. Finally, just before taking the food off the heat, it is doused with wine to complete the rich, opulent flavor. It’s a must-try when visiting Skiathos!
6. Alonissos Tuna with Pasta
The tuna that is fished in the waters of Alonissos, which is part of the same Sporades archipelago as Skiathos, is considered a local delicacy.
In Skiathos, is traditionally cooked with pasta resulting in a fantastic dish! The tuna is first cooked a in tomato and sautéed onions stew, and flavored with basil, and oregano. The the mix is then poured over the pasta for a complete, rich, satisfying taste.
7. Kakavia of Skiathos (Traditional Fish Soup)
Kakavia means fish soup, where the fish are many, small, and of different types. But for Skiathos, kakavia is something entirely different: instead of cooking these several small fish into a soup, they are cooked in the oven with potatoes and an abundance of onions.
The flavors blend with each other and the multitude of fish make the resulting dish irresistible!
This is a sweet treat that you won’t be able to resist indulging in and you will only find in Skiathos! It’s deep fried dough stuffed with honey, nuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It is then sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Haimalia in Greek are pendants, and the sweet is named that way because it is shaped like a large pendant with a hint of chain at the edge.
They are crunchy and soft at the same time, and were offered as treats at weddings and other large celebrations.
This dessert is only found in Skiathos. In fact, it might be rather hard to find there too if you don’t know of a local family to supply you with it!
Traditionally, aspro was served at engagement parties, after the marriage was agreed upon and a date set. Because the dessert is pure white (hence its name “aspro” which means white in Greek) it symbolizes pure unions. It is very hard to make although it is very simple in ingredients: just chopped up, peeled white almonds, sugar syrup, and lemon.
The difficulty lies in the fact that in order to achieve its pure white color, it needs to be constantly whisked until it reaches the proper hue, but not a moment more! The white color comes from the almond and the reaction of the sugar syrup with it. Its taste and texture are wonderful and guaranteed to be something you’ve never experienced before!
10. Skiathos Baklava
Baklava is a famous syrupy dessert that is popular all over the Balkans and the Middle East and its origins can be traced to antiquity.
Skiathos baklava is unique because it is made in a special, very wide round pan. Up to 50 threadbare layers of phyllo line the pan before the filling even begins to be applied- almonds, nuts, cinnamon, and a lot of fresh butter. This layering is what makes the baklava crunchy and holds syrup to the core, so that it erupts when in your mouth.
Skiathos baklava is also very characteristic due to the way it’s cut into small diamonds, making the pan’s surface look like a work of embroidery. If you want to bake a similar version of the Skiathos baklava, check out our Greek baklava recipe.
The Culture of Skiathos and its Cuisine
Skiathos is also called “the emerald island” for its lush nature and verdant rolling hills that are testament to the fertile land. Until fairly recently, islands had to be self-sufficient when it came to food and people had to make do with what the land and sea produced.
This principle, which holds true for all of the islands, is what shaped the local cuisines and their distinctiveness. For Skiathos, the land produced a lot of vegetables and the sea was plentiful in seafood, so there are a lot of dishes combining the two rather than pairing seafood with pasta as is found elsewhere.
This pairing especially was so unique that it was immortalized through the writings of one of Greece’s most famous authors, Alexandros Papadiamantis. Later, during the 1920s and after the sacking of Smyrna in Asia Minor, a lot of Asia Minor Greeks became refugees fleeing to Skiathos, where they eventually settled. With them they brought their own culinary culture and famous approach to taste that blended perfectly with the existing cuisine of the island.
Skiathos’ cuisine evolved into a unique cultural artifact, carrying culture as well as taste, merging the tasty sauces, syrupy sweets, and buttery crispness of the East with the flavorful symphony of taste that was already there.
In this list we have compiled, the lack of meat dishes might stand out. Don’t despair if you are a meat lover! Skiathos has a lot of succulent meat dishes, especially lamb, goat, and pork.
The reason they’re not included here is that none of those dishes originated in Skiathos – they are all from other islands or from the mainland, adopted a lot later when locals could afford to eat meat at least as much as they ate fish and seafood!
No matter what your taste preferences, Skiathos has a lot to keep you happy. But if you are a seafood and fish lover, it might become your personal food heaven!
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