Naxian cuisine is renowned for its use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and traditional recipes passed down through generations. The island’s fertile soil and mild climate make it ideal for cultivating a variety of crops, including potatoes, olives, grapes, and fruits. Animal husbandry is also an integral part of the island’s gastronomic scene, with Naxos’ famous cheeses and meats all produced locally.
Cheese-making is a popular activity that attracts many culinary enthusiasts each year. Gruyere is a hard cheese made mainly from cow’s milk, while other notable Naxian cheeses include Arseniko, Xinotyro, and Xinomyzithra.
Naxos Island is well-known for producing high-quality meats, such as beef, pork, lamb, and chicken. Many small, family-run farms on the island produce free-range meats, which are used in a variety of traditional Greek dishes, as well as modern cuisine. Some popular traditional dishes include “Rosto”, which is pork in red sauce with spices and red wine combined with pasta, “Kalogeros”, a dish made with veal, eggplants, and red sauce baked in the oven, and goat with potatoes baked in the oven.
Traditional Naxian dishes often feature only a few ingredients, allowing the natural flavours of the ingredients to shine through. The island is also famous for its delicious sweets, such as amygdalota (almond cookies), melachrino (honey cake), and rozedes (pink sugar-coated almonds).
Naxian wineries produce raki and wine using locally grown grapes for both domestic and professional use. They are perfect complements to lunch or dinner.
Kitron, a traditional liqueur made on Naxos using the leaves of the citron tree, is another popular drink. It has a sweet and sour flavour and is often served as an aperitif or after-dinner drink. Bartenders in Chora’s bars often use this traditional drink to create unique cocktails.