One characteristic of local gastronomy that you do not often encounter in the Greek province is the variety of materials and recipes; a link and meeting point of island, mountainous and Asia-Minor knowledge and experience for cultivating, gathering, meeting and eventually cooking excellent quality raw materials (grain, vegetables, olives , honey , fish, cheeses, shells as well as a variety of wild herbs, mushrooms and hunting). Distinctive are the many pies filled with the materials produced in the area; mainly the cheese pies, with the wonderful cheeses of Halkidiki. “Trahanas” of women’s cooperatives, Holomonta’s potatoes, mushrooms and chestnuts are not absent from the traditional cuisine, while rich livestock gives inspiration for delicious meat dishes. But the tradition unfolds in the most delicious way in the “spoon sweets”, made from the fruits grown on the land of Halkidiki.
Halkidiki, due to the climate and the morphology of the soil, produces oil and olives that stand out for their special taste and quality. The high nutritional value and the unique taste of olive and olive oil in Halkidiki have established them as an inextricable part of the Mediterranean diet.
Halkidiki of antiquity produced famous wines, with testimonies dating back to the 5th century. B.C. Nowadays the vineyards are grown in central Halkidiki, Sithonia and Mount Athos. Following the traditional ways of production and using the finest Greek vine varieties (Limnio, Roditi, Atheri, Assyrtiko), in combination with the ideal climatic conditions (dry climate), Halkidiki produces some of the best wines.
Ouzo is the product of the distillation of marc and other sugary raw materials which have been flavored and for the distillation of which a special distillation apparatus is used.Ouzo can not be aged and can be consumed pure or with the addition of water. Tsipouro, on the other hand, is, as a rule, the pure product of the distillation of unfermented grape marc. Tsipouro is colorless and has a high alcoholic grade, therefore it is often consumed diluted and almost always with the presence of appetisers. There are many inhabitants of Halkidiki who produce their own tsipouro for sale, but the most common use is for personal purposes.
In central and northern Halkidiki, a strong livestock tradition results in the production of livestock factors. The goat’s traditional Halkidiki cheese is made from pure goat’s milk and has an increased protein content. Holomontas mountain range, where most livestock farms are located, has specific soil and climatic features and special vegetation that contribute positively to the favorable composition of goat’s milk for cheese production.
Halkidiki is the “mother of beekeeping”. With 6,500 beekeepers (32% of the country as a whole) and 1,910 tons of excellent honey production per year, it is fairly described as the beekeeping center in Greece. Nowadays, the beekeepers of Halkidiki, continuing the tradition, make the most of the rich flora of Cassandra, Sithonia and Northern Halkidiki, producing large quantities of honey. The large amounts of trace elements in the pine nut make this honey of high nutritional value.