The castle of the Temple of Athena Lindia stands on the rocks for 2500 years. The Lindians were great craftsmen sculptors (Harry the Lindios was the one who built the Colossus of Rhodes) great sailors, travelers and merchants.
In the past, because of the rocky area most people were involved with trade and fishing and only a few with farming.
This makes seafood the key ingredient for the local cuisine; there was also some goat meat prepared in different ways and cereals brought in from the nearby villages and often exchanged with seafood. A necessary ingredient during those years was the salt, to preserve the food.
Today Lindos still holds a prominent position in the economy of the island, no longer based on shipping and trade but as the number one tourist destination for every visitor that comes to Rhodes. There are many restaurants, bars, cafes, beautiful beaches. Even with the great number of foreign visitors the village did not cease to maintain its traditional cuisine. Several of the local restaurants, adapted to the modern lifestyle but continued to use local products.
Tourists who did not get the opportunity to visit some of the nice restaurants in the village it’s because the organized tour operators propose fast food shops that are far from Greek cuisine. The few lucky ones leave excited with our local recipes and products.
I believe that the future of the local gastronomy is promising. Plenty of young people are graduating from cooking schools that teach them our traditional cuisine. There is also aid from the Dodecanesean and Cyclades Chefs Club which I am a member of.
The South Aegean region also helps immensely with various activities and seminars on the local gastronomy and products.
Two Distinguished colleagues and great Rhodian chefs George Troumouchis and Kostas Kapsanakis published a book after a four years study of Rhodian traditional cuisine (The Longest Aroma) with traditional recipes taken from the housewives from every village of Rhodes. This book is a great ambassador to our local gastronomy.
A big problem in my opinion for the preservation of traditional cuisine and its spread through restaurants is the lack of certified local packaging industries.
Unfortunately many of our wonderful local products, mainly dairy and meat, are kept way from our professional kitchens because of lack of certification from the health department. (Note from TGC: it must be the only country in the world that “farm to table” concept doesn’t exist)
I started the “Kalipso” restaurant back in 1990 after working in different kitchens on the island. The building at first sight fascinated me, an old mansion of the 16th century which belonged to the family of my wife a native of one of the oldest families in the village.
I am involved in various actions of the Chefs Club for the survival of the Aegean cuisine with exhibitions, seminars, meetings with other clubs and cooperatives across the island. I try every day to promote the local cuisine in various ways by getting information from housewives. I search for fresh local products, seafood, meat, pasta and dairy.
Many consider winter a dead period but for me it’s full of daily chores, olive harvesting, searching for the best olive oil, collecting herbs, oregano, savory, sage etc. I produce my own sweets and essential oils that I use in my recipes, jams and liqueurs, crinthum and capers and many more. I am vice president of the restaurant association trying to share the local cuisine and organize gastronomic events.
By Chef Evripidi Gkogkos