Updated: Oct 27
If you're travelling to Corfu, we recommend trying out some unique local products that are hard to find elsewhere. We've compiled a short list of the most characteristic flavours exclusive to the island or rare in other destinations. And we are also mentioning some non-food related products that a traveller to Corfu island should consider buying either as a gift for a loved one or oneself!
Olive oil: preferably choose a cold pressed and extra virgin olive oil.
The dominant olive tree species that thrive in Corfu's olive groves is called Lianolia, also known as Korfolia, Ladolia, Nerolia, Prevezana, Souvlolia, and Stryftolia. This variety of olives is primarily grown in the Corfu region, with lesser amounts cultivated in Zakynthos, Kefallinia, Lefkada, Preveza, and Thesprotia. The Lianolia Corfu tree grows up to 12-14 meters tall and has deep green leaves that are 6.67cm long and 1.49cm wide. The fruit of this olive variety is cylindrical-conical in shape. It weighs an average of 2.3g, with a flesh-to-core ratio of 7.5:1.
The fruit is known to have a high oil content of up to 19%, making it ideal for producing high-quality oil. Due to its moisture-demanding nature, this variety thrives in areas with high rainfall and atmospheric humidity.
In Corfu island, numerous small, family-owned olive oil factories produce high-quality olive oil from their olive groves. Many of these establishments provide opportunities for olive-tasting sessions and tours of their facility.
During our 6-hour Vespa tour, "Savour The Flavors of Corfu", we visit one of our favourite local olive oil producers, the Dafnis family, producers of "the Governors " olive oil. In our custom-made map, you will find more of our favourite olive oil-producing companies in Corfu!
Brine-cured "Lianolia" olives (in salt brine)
"Lianolia" olives cured in salt brine are a traditional delicacy in local homes. They are a staple in ouzo mezze platters, often served alongside fresh tomatoes and sliced cucumbers. These small olives have a tangy and spicy flavour that pairs well with legume dishes and complements aperitifs, particularly ouzo or homemade wine.
On Corfu Island, there are numerous local honey producers.
Our favourite is "Meligoni" They have more than 11 certified organic honey varieties available!
Koumquat and Bergamot flavoured delicacies.
Citrus flavours are essential to Mediterranean cuisine, and so are they in Corfiot cuisine. Corfiot cuisine's most prominent citrus flavours are lemon, bergamot, and kumquat. If you have a sweet tooth, you should try spoon sweets from kumquat and bergamot or desserts featuring these citrus flavours. Additionally, you can enjoy locally made alcoholic beverages or refreshing drinks infused with these flavours.
Locally produced ginger beer. It contains lemon and ginger (British influence).
Want to discover more bout what to drink in Corfu? Read here about signature alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages!
Either dried or fresh, some of the island's more characteristic herbs are bay leaves, sage, wild oregano, rosemary, thyme, chamomile, spearmint, dill, anise, fennel, sea fennel and capers. If you take some time during your holiday time, you will find in the wild, if not all of them, the majority of them. The rocky areas near the shoreline are ideal for sea fennel and capers.
Tzitzifa - Jujube
Tzitzifa fruit (Ziziphus jujuba) is also known as the Chinese date, jujube, or red date. The plant is native to China.
In Corfu, they grow in abundance in the wild! While you ride in the Corfiot countryside during September, feel free to stop and pick some jujube from the tree. Remember to thank the tree! Locals will be okay with cutting some fruits and trying them. My grandparents always had jars with homegrown figs and sundried jujube to compliment a glass of Metaxa or ouzo or treat their guests. If you are lucky enough, in a small village cafe, taverna, or a local cuisine restaurant, you might have the chance to try sun-dried jujube known to us locals as "tzitzifa".
Sikomaida is a delightful combination of minced sun-dried figs with hints of black pepper, anise, and grape must. It pairs perfectly with a cheese platter or can be enjoyed alongside cognac or Metaxa. My grandmother used to wrap "Sikomaida" all around with fig tree leaves and a couple of sundried bay leaves and add ouzo to the fig and must mixture.
Easter brioche-style bread. What makes it unique is that it must initially be made with Corfiot butter or corfiot type butter and contains cognac (or Metaxa) and orange zest.
Local grape variety. Kakotrygis is a versatile and delicate type of wine that can produce varying results depending on the winemaking process or harvest time. It has a lemon colour with green-yellow highlights and a fragrant aroma of lemon blossoms and citrus fruits. The wine has a medium body, balanced taste, crisp acidity, and a long aromatic aftertaste. It complements fish, seafood, lean meat, light-cooked foods, and green salads. It is best served chilled between 10-12 °C.
Pavlosika - Fragosika
"Pavlosika" is a type of cactus plant fruit. This prickly pear cactus produces flavorful fruit packed with healthy nutrients and vitamins. This plant thrives throughout Corfu island.
The locals are very familiar with this fruit and consume it regularly. They are in season from August to October. In Corfu, the preferred way of eating this cactus fruit- "Pavlosiko", is in its fresh and raw state.
This delightful picture, taken in 1958 by an anonymous photographer, shows residents enjoying "pavlosika" while carrying straw baskets, presumably made in the area, that are filled with pickled pear fruits. It is a charming snapshot of the time.
Corfu beer microbrewery produces a wide range of beers -Red ale special, Pilsner, Weiss, Dark, I.P.A., EPOS, and Lager.
Instead of focusing solely on food and drink, let's look at some of the other unique local products you may be interested in.
Olive wood products.
Olive wood is an excellent material for kitchen items, particularly chopping boards. It makes various items, including snack boards, kitchen boards, serving boards, cheese boards, steak boards, breakfast boards, coasters, and even bowls.
Olive oil soap.
Many companies in Corfu make olive oil soap. If we need to pick one, we strongly suggest Patounis olive soap factory in Corfu town. Their location has preserved functioning tools and equipment since 1891, and it is a living memory of the unique local tradition. Because of this, the soap factory has become a popular attraction for tourists and students, as well as the subject of academic studies. The Greek Ministry of Culture has also listed it as a monument of industrial heritage.
MiNiMiS Jewellery Art is inspiring people to recycle.
MiNiMiS is a Corfiot business focused on decreasing glass waste and creatively recycling it into glass handcrafted art. Among others, you can find unique jewellery made from recycled glass!
The brand CHOE was created a few years ago in a small village in Corfu.
Mediterranean nature, herbs, fruit and blooms inspire this small local candle-producing company's products. CHOE's product line is entirely hand-poured and handcrafted, using the best quality material.
Ceramic art products
Many businesses sell ceramic art pieces in Corfu. Still, it's best to opt for a shop owned by local artists who make unique handcrafted products. We suggest visiting "Ceramic Art Corfu Panaretos" which is run by a Greek and Swiss couple, both ceramic artists and teachers. All the ceramic items sold in the shop are made by the couple or crafted by their students. Or we recommend "Corfu pottery ceramics workshop" and "Tsami Ceramics" for their colourful creations that remind us of Positano ceramic art. Both local businesses have a shop and workshop on the premises.
Thank you for taking the time to read our post. Before we leave, we want to clarify that the local businesses we mention in our blog posts are not sponsored, and we do not receive any rewards from them. We aim to offer you the best suggestions for enhancing your holiday experience in Corfu. Our recommendations on Corfus signature products aim to help you savour the authentic island flair!
"There's an ancient tension between wanting to savor the world as it is and wanting to improve on the world as given."
Have a lovely holiday experience in Corfu!