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Local Produce from Zante
Local Produce to enjoy while on holidays in Zante Zakynthos

Herbs in Zante are just a few of the plants among the total of some 6,000 species of wild Greek flora and fauna.

The seasons of spring and early summer in Zante, Zakynthos are a delight to the senses with a myriad of flowers providing a magnificent carnival of colour and fragrance. An abundance of flowers are found in the fields, olive groves and rocky outcrops around the island.

 

local produce to enejoy while on hoiliday in zante zakynthos greek islands

Local Zante Produce zakynthos greece

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While you are here on holiday in Zante make sure you try a few of the locally grown products from the island of Zakynthos

Sold in resort stores and road side stalls in the northern part of the island, you will get a real taste for the island with these delicious products. Zakynthos is a very fertile island and subsequently has a lot to offer in terms of food, drinks, treats and sweets!

 

Zante raisins

As your drive around the island of Zante, particularly in the east of the island, you will see plenty of grape vines sprawling through the countryside.

The grapes are used primarily for the production of local wine. There are a number of wineries here, such as Solomos Wines, who produce beautiful bottles of refined Greek wine. Alternatively, you can find some more basic products simply sold in old water bottles!

Zakynthian grapes are also frequently turned into raisins. During the late summer and autumn months you will often see the grapes laid out to dry in the sun in the middle of the fields. The raisins here are always delicious and bursting with flavour!

Zante Olives

Much of the island of Zakynthos is filled with olive groves. In the south western region of Porto Koukla the groves are really beautiful – with huge, majestic old trees. It is a pleasure to walk around these groves.
Every winter the local people are busy harvesting the olives. This is an arduous process of cutting down branches and beating off the olives by hand.

Some of the olives are kept aside for eating – they are generally soaked in salted water and preserved for consumption over the following year.

Most of the yearly olive crop is used for the production of olive oil. Zante is one of the largest producers of olive oil in Greece. This is the basis of most Greek dishes and you can really taste the difference from supermarket oil in the U.K. We often drive up to the western village of Louha and buy our olive oil from the local village coffee shop and store. The oil here is family made and absolutely delicious!

Zante Honey

Yoghurt and honey is one of the most popular lunchtime snacks in the Greek Island and is synonymous for many with a holiday in Greece. Zakynthos produces a large supply of honey every year – with bee hives dotted around the island in the more isolated areas.

With lots of herbs and flowers growing on the hills and mountains of Zante, the bees here produce beautiful honey. We always buy our honey from the ‘Honey Lady’ in the north of the island. She is a real hidden treasure, making nearly all of her own products. Her honey is for us the best on the island.

You can find her by driving north on the coastal road towards Askos Stone Park. Just before the entrance to the park, on the other side of the road, you will see a small hand-written sign saying Honey Sold Here. This is her home, rather than a commercial shop, and you will be welcomed in to see the production of the honey and maybe even taste a bit of the tasty honeycomb.

Zante Nougat and Pastelli

If you have a sweet tooth, you must try the locally produced Zante sweets while you are visiting the island. Zakynthos makes its own Nougat and Pastelli, a mixture of nuts set in honey!

You will see the sweets sold in tourist shops all around the island and many people choose these sweets to take home as gifts for friends and family.

For a really fresh and authentic taste, head down to Zante Town. Opposite Saint Dennis Church on the harbour road there are a number of stalls on the road that sell the freshest nougat and pastelli. They cater to the Greeks mainly – always a good sign!

Zante Herbs

Herbs are everywhere in Zante – as soon as you step out of the airport you are welcomed by the vibrant smell of fragrant wild oregano, thyme and lemon balm, that grow in abundance in the fields that surround Zakynthos airport.

Many Greek herbs become a daily part of your stay on the island as even the simplest Greek dishes include a generous handful of Mediterranean greenery!

Herbs are an integral part of Greek life, both chronicled in mythology and catalogued in the libraries of ancient Greek medicine. Our favourite Herbs to be found in Zakynthos are:

• Thyme: a ‘low-growing’ woody shrub with small dark green leaves. In Zakynthos the flavour of thyme is tasted in Zakynthian thyme honey and many traditional meals.
• Fennel: flowers from June to July, in fertile soils across the island.
• Mint: with its shiny green leaves, has clusters of small lilac flowers which appear during the months of May and June. It grows best in partial shade.
• Rosemary: with needle shaped leaves that are green and grey underneath, has tiny blue flowers. It grows in light loose soils, often found around coastal areas in Zakynthos.
• Sage: grows to 150cm in height, has soft velvety greenish grey leaves. Pale pink and purple lobed flowers appear from March to May, in rocky areas around Zakynthos.
• Sage: there is nothing that sage cannot do, according to all the claims that have been made of it over the centuries. Famous for ensuring a long life, sage is also known to fortify the memory, strengthen the sinews, reverse baldness and rejuvenate grey hair!
• Oregano: grows to 60cm in height, in loose stony ground around the island. A medicinal herb, Oregano is a vital ingredient in all tasty Greek dishes. Proven to contain significant levels of antioxidants, which neutralise the free radical molecules in our bodies, Oregano is believed to trigger a host of diseases. It can also be effective as a gargle for sore throats.
• Lemon Balm: with oval lemon scented leaves, has small white flowers which appear between June and September in shady areas around the island. It's no surprise that bees are attracted to this plant. Its family name 'Melissa' is the Greek word for ‘bee’. In antiquity Lemon Balm was labelled the ‘elixir of life’. Physicians of old prescribed Lemon Balm an as an anti-depressant, due to calming and uplifting properties.

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