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The Cheeses and Sweets of Paros

Paros produces excellent cheeses to complement the meal, such as xinomyzithra (soft creamy cheese), oil cheese, brine cheese, toumoumi (salted cheese cooked in goatskin) and myzithra (fresh white cheese). The island is also known for its delicious fresh baked breads and rusks and that bring out the flavors of Parian cuisine.

The ladies of the house exercise great imagination in the combinations of fruits they use to make sweet preserves and marmalades, while rafiola, skaltzounia and myzithropitakia (pies made with local cheeses), lamprokouloura (braided sweet bread), lazarakia (easter cookies shaped like men) and petimezentous (Christmas cookies) please the palate. Parian figs are renowned for their delicious flavor and are used to make samata or pastelaria (dense fig cake) and sweet preserves.

Today, vineyards cover 600 hectares of the island, producing 3,500 tons of grapes annually, of the Mandilaria and Monemvasia and other varieties, such as: Savvatiano, Aidani (white and black), Malagouzia, Asyrtiki, Maloukato and Potamisi. Small vineyards are scattered throughout the island, on terraced land bordered with low stone walls.

Each autumn, the men of the island produce wine and souma (a local spirit made from the single distillation of grapes). Local sausages, steaks, octopus and fresh squid are grilled on the fire with the souma cauldron. Parians drink the new souma, nibble on local delicacies, and celebrate, sing and dance, to the accompaniment of island music. The entire process is a wonderful excuse for a small festival. Many visitors come to the island every year to participate in the souma festival, held at a different distillery each year.

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