Pure natural products from the highlands and the seaside
Every part of Greece has its own characteristic products which contribute to the area’s cultural identity. Animal husbandry has always had a commanding place in the local economy.
The piquant touloumi cheese, Karystos kefalograviera, the delicious meats (goat, kid and mutton) from animals raised on the mountain slopes of Ochi all have the aroma of fresh herbs. Honey has a high place in the list of locally produced goods. Thyme honey, kissouri honey from briar blossoms and the renowned rose honey of the Ottoman period is still produced.
All are of exceptional quality. In the Karystos lowlands there is a tradition of viniculture and great quantities of wine are produced.
The main cultivable variety is the Savatiano grape, and lately, locals have begun producing organic wine. Citrus fruit and olive trees abound on the foothills and perfume the entire area. Karystos citrus fruit, the aubergine-coloured onion, corn, highland potatoes, tomatoes and Aghios Dimitrios cherries are just some of the region’s exceptional products. Olive oil presses with years of tradition behind them can be found in the area. Fresh oil on home-baked bread and loukoumades mark the season.
When they have time, Karystos women make the most delicious kourkoubinia (gogiles in Arvanitika). These are small pieces of dough that are twisted on a rolling pin and then boiled and sautéed in goat butter or oil.
The region has been famous since antiquity for its fish. Southern Karystia has two types of fishing areas: the calm southern Evoikos Gulf and the turbulent waters of the Cavo d’Oro. In Marmari and Karystos, one can find some of the tastiest seafood. As the locals say, “seafood here is more delicious because it feeds on herbs”. The strong sea currents at the Cavo d’Oro bring nutritional substances to the surface, which is what the locals are referring to in their saying.