The dramatic mountainscape offers Amorgos a vast virgin land ideal for permaculture and farming without chemicals, and that’s perhaps the reason why nothing beats the taste of a fresh, ripe tomato on this charming island.
Wild culinary herbs are plentiful on this rugged island, growing freely in the salty soil. Teaming with a wide variety of endemic plants with distinctive medicinal qualities, Amorgos seems to be one massive herb rack.
From wild oregano, sage, lavender, nettle, balm oil, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, immortelle oil, lemon balm, mallow, common rue, thistle and verbena, all rigorously hand-picked and processed with non—invasive methods to make great herbal teas, facial creams, face/hair oils, pouches of detoxifying dry mixes and many more.
With a characteristic yellow and green color, the Amorgian olive oil, low in acidity and rich in aromas, as well as the honey (thyme or flower honey) from a local breed of bees, represents the tip of the iceberg of products in the island.
Indigenous grape varieties include Mandilaria, Strihi, Patiniotiko, Fokiano, producing pitch-perfect wines not to be missed, while many local barrel-aged dried red wine that is known for its heavy and strong fragrances.
Locally-grown split peas (katsouni varieties) give the traditional fava dish, which is typically served with onion slices, a dash of lemon juice, and olive oil drizzles. Otherwise, they make great yellow fritters (favokeftedes).
“Pasteli” is what the residents of Amorgos call a local type of nougat, an exquisite snack made of sesame seeds and honey, ideally served on a lemon-tree leaf, also a welcome treat being offered on wedding and baptisms. The famous nougat of Amorgos that has its own feast standing as a testament to the island’s pasteli-making tradition. Today, the locals organize a series of celebrations that continue all through the night into the early hours of the morning.
Among other products you can also taste a variety of local cheeses (kefalotyri and/or mizithra), nougat, pitaridia (local pasta), Amorgian crispy rusk, and homemade cheese pies/wild green quiches.
The emblematic traditional spirit of the island, “psimeni raki” (baked raki infused with herbs & spices) is probably one of the best souvenirs you’ll bring home from Amorgos. An enviable hallmark of Amorgian shops and houses that is served in shot glasses. Without additives it is offered as a digestive appetizer, and is sure to be tippled by individuals seeking palate-thrilling adventures or attending various local feasts. A slowly roasted raki resulting in magnificently caramelized drips that is said to boost libido. Honoring this aromatic spirit every 26th of July in the port of Katapola, the locals celebrate its produce until dawn. On cold winter days, “psimeni raki” is served warm to cure sore throats, while during the summer you can get it mixed into refreshing cocktails.
Then, rakomelo (local liquor), unlike baked raki (psimeni raki) has more alcohol percentage (25-27 instead of 20-22 degrees) that can offer some very protective antioxidants. It is prepared in a Greek-style coffee pot (known also as briki) to be consumed warm alongside meze.
Finally, in the heart of Chora you will find shops craftworks, handmade ceramics, jewelry and marble carvings as well as various souvenirs.