The Ionian Islands in Western Greece and especially Kefalonia, have been influenced by the Venetian occupation and the gastronomy in the island has been shaped by this north-Italian influence. The Venetians were the ones who brought tomatoes for first time in the island of Kefalonia and because they consumed large quantities of olive oil, they were responsible for the planting of many olive trees in the island. Olive trees have been cultivated in Kefalonia since ancient times but the Venetians were paying those Islanders who were willing to plant more olive trees across the island. Today, olive oil is still an important product of the area.
Hectares of Kefalonian land thrive under the Mediterranean sun offering a great selection of local delicacies from olive oil and wine to dairy products and pure honey.
In Kefalonia you can find a big variety of fine products such as: Wine, vinegar, honey, olive oil, dairy products, beer, sea breams and bass fishes, sheep milk ice cream, mandola, herbs, garlic, tsipouro, jams, liqueurs, pastokidono and ecological soaps, which impress with their quality.
The traditional cuisine of Kefalonia includes pies, greens and meat dishes which you may not enjoy elsewhere. Although everybody knows the kefalonian meat pie, a few know that local housewives made it using three different types of meat (pork, mutton and beef), fewer know its variations (in Lixouri use plums) and even fewer know how many other types of pies are made in the island of Kefalonia.
Other pie recipes, are the Artichoke Pie using the hearts of artichokes, cheese pies with the unique dairy products of the island, greens pies and cod pie from salted cod.
Kefalonians also love the chili garlic sauce (made from potatoes) that usually accompanies the fried cod and boiled courgettes, which on the island is called “moropoula”!
Wild greens or wild cabbages (chards, sonchus, lapata, kafkalithra) are sauté with spinach, leeks and onions in order to make “Tsigaridia”, a very popular local dish.
There is also big variety of meat dishes: hare with red sauce, rooster with thick spaghetti, roasted rooster with potatoes, rabbit in vinegar, veal prokado (cloves and garlics are inserted in the meat), and some rare recipes such as pastitsio with goat and lamb or pork with potatoes and quinces. All the above mentioned plates are accompanied by local wines such as Robola, Mavrodafni and Moschato.
The classic dessert of Kefalonia is mandola (from the Italian word “mandorla” which means almond), made from caramelized roasted almonds.
Other more unknown desserts are “moustopita” made from must, semolina and almonds, and pastokidono (quince paste with almonds).
For those who want to discover special culinary delights, the Kefalonian cuisine will surprise them pleasantly.