The Rhodian cuisine is a characteristic sample of Mediterranean nutrition. Its basic ingredient is olive oil.
- The olive has been grown on the island since the ancient times, and thanks to the extensive sunlight and the long-standing experience of farmers, the extracted oil is of excellent quality. Rhodian extra virgin olive oil has an intense yellow-green colour, rich taste, fine aroma and is a Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) product.
- It is produced using throumpolia and koroneiki varieties, it is ideal for salads and healthy nutrition foods and it is delightedly consumed in both raw and cooked state.
Rhodes is a crossroads of civilizations, something that is also evident in its cuisine. At the island’s restaurants and taverns you will find specialties from all around the world, as well as unique traditional dishes, classic creations by the island’s women. Raw materials are abundant. Rhodes has many agricultural and livestock products, mountains are full of herbs and spices, and the island has instant access to the sea produce.
- In Apollonas village, at the Women’s Agrotourism Cooperative called “Oi Apolloniatises”, local women revive traditional recipes and promote their region’s premium products. You will find melekouni, macaroons, frumenty, souma, liqueur, wine, spoon sweets and herbs from mount Profitis Ilias.
- Monolithos Home Made is a bench in Monolithos village, selling homemade olive oil, souma, honey and traditional sweets, hand-made by Mrs Popi, a local lady. You will find it outside of the settlement, at Stavros location.
LOCAL FLAVORS. In Rhodes, every village has its own specialties. In Archagelos, people make rifiki, goat or lamb backbone stuffed with rice that is roasted in clay pot overnight. In Lindos, they have giaprakia, a mixture of minced meat, rice, onion, tomato pulp and dill, wrapped in vine leaves and cooked in tomato juice, lemon juice and olive oil. A similar dish is also stuffed vine leaves with parcels and rice, wrapped in either vine leaves or cyclamen lives. Lindos is also the place of origin of gamopilafo, a pilaf with rice and chickpeas, cooked in meat broth. Mesanagros is famous for its koulouria, a soup with handmade, long pasta and goat meat, traditionally served at weddings.
- Generally, when it comes to handmade pasta, like homemade macaroni with garlic or loukoumi (a kind of noodle), Rhodes has a tradition that can certainly be attributed to the passage of the Italians from the island. One of the most popular traditional dishes is pitaroudia with onion, fried croquettes with chopped onions, chopped tomato, mint and flour. There are many kinds of pitaroudia: with chickpeas purée, with eggplant, minced meat and others.
SWEETS. From the Rhodian sweets, melekouni, a sweet offered at weddings and baptisms, stands out. It is made with roasted sesame, thyme honey, whole almonds, grated orange and cinnamon.
- Melekouni is soft and cut in the shape of rhombus.
- Ritseli is a spoon sweet made only in Rhodes with must, dry figs, quince and water melon skins, while talagoutes are pancakes made with honey, nuts, sesame and cinnamon.
- Overall, honey is widely used in Rhodian confectioneries and it is one of the products the island is famous for.
WINES & DRINKS. Rhodian wines are unique. The main winemaking areas are the mountainous parts of western Rhodes and especially Embonas, Aghios Isidoros and Siana villages. Vineyards cover an area of 6,000 acres and the varieties used are Athiri and Moschato for white wine, and Mandilaria (or Amorgiano) for red wine.
- Sparkling wines made by the two major Rhodian wineries, CAIR and Emery are also remarkable.
- It is also worth trying Rodophili (a white fume), Chevalier de Rhodes (red), Zacosta and Archontiko (red, aged in oaken barrels), Granrose (rosé) and white Muscat de Rhodes, made with moschato.
- Many winegrowers produce their own non-bottled wine, supplying local taverns and coffee houses. Souma is Rhodian tsipouro, made through marcs distillation. It is a strong alcoholic beverage that comes in two types: single and double distillation (the stronger).
- Siana is considered to be the village of souma and every August the Honey and Souma Festival is held there, where you can try this traditional beverage and buy some at local distilleries.