Like all Greek Islands, Leros gastronomy is based on the Mediterranean diet. Among the most typical and common ingredients used in the Island are fresh seafood and fishes, vegetables and olive oil.
Visitors in Leros should try octopus grilled or cooked in wine, pie with small fishes “maridakia”, fishes grilled, fried or cooked, and calamari grilled or stuffed.
In addition, visitors should not miss the opportunity to taste sea urchins. Sea urchins, either as pasta or simply through the shell with oil and lemon, are an ideal “meze” for ouzo or wine. But if you are a lover of good meze then you should try delicacies such as salted mackerel or anchovies, mackerel or marinated octopus, mackerel pate or anchovy.
The traditional desserts of the island form an important chapter in Leros’ gastronomy and tradition. A key ingredient used is almond. In many of the desserts people use local products such as the excellent quality honey of Leros. Some of them are “xerotigana”, the pouches which are served at weddings and “svigkoi”. Moreover, Leros has a traditional beverage, “Soumada” which is made of bitter almonds and served at weddings. Another dessert which is made from bitter almond is the traditional macaroons.
Finally, in Leros there is a particular fruit, the Guava. Guava fruit, known as “Gkavafa” in Greek, is little known to the general public since it only grows in Leros. The fruit was initially transferred from South America in Egyptians who moved to the island of Leros. Guava fruit is considered very good ally for health and an excellent choice for a balanced diet. The rind of the fruit, usually by some is removed because of the acid flavour, is rich in fibres and is considered very strong antioxidant. The fruit has increased vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, potassium, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty. The most striking element however is that a single fruit Guava contains four times as much vitamin C compared to an orange.
The Guava tree bears fruit for a very short period of time, usually starting from September until the end of October, thus there is limited traffic of fruit. This is one reason why the fruit in all its forms can be described as a rare traditional delicacy at Leros. You can taste it raw or in the form of juice and enjoy the characteristic aroma and flavour. In Leros you can find the fruit in other forms as well such as jam or sweet preserve.
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