Friday, April 14, 2017

INTERNATIONAL: GREECE: Part 5 - Greek Islands: Group:Northeastern Aegean Islands which includes Turkish islands

The islands do not form a physical chain or group, but are frequently grouped together for tourist or administrative purposes. 
Within this group, the main islands in the northeastern Aegean Sea and along the Turkish coast are 
the Greek islands of SamosIkariaChiosLesbosLemnosAgios EfstratiosPsaraFournoi KorseonOinousses 

and the Turkish islands of Imbros (Gökçeada), Tenedos (Bozcaada) and the Rabbit or Tavşan Islands

Lesbos and Chios

Just off the shores of Turkey are the northeastern Aegean islands, of which Lesbos and Chios are the largest. Unlike most of the smaller islands, these are self-contained, with year-round industries of their own that don't depend on tourism. One of the few things these two very different islands have in common is ouzo, which is served everywhere since there is no local wine. Lesbos has managed to make its ouzo known all over Greece and exports it abroad, but the ouzo of Chios, unknown outside the island, is also excellent.

There are 11 million olive trees on Lesbos—an amazing number, especially when one considers the work needed to build the stone walls around most of the trees planted on the slopes of hills. Olive oil, naturally, is the island's most important source of income.

Lesbos has a wonderful abundance of fish and seafood dishes, including simply boiled skate's fin, which is served drizzled with the local olive oil, delicious rolled monkfish fillets, exotic mahogany clams, and freshly salted sardines from the Gulf of Kalloni. In the central market of Mytilini, the capital of Lesbos, the stalls of the fishmongers are piled with fresh fish, and the grocery stores carry the wrinkled local olives

 and the marvelous cheeses of Lesbos: fresh or baked myzithra (the generic term for a ricottalike cheese that, in its traditional form is made of sheep and goat's milk, but is often made of cow's milk when produced commercially) 

and the famous ladotyri, a semihard cheese made from a combination of sheep and goat's milk, which is aged wholly submerged in olive oil. 

On the side streets of the market, the traditional coffee shops have no signs and can be easily missed. A coffee shop in Lesbos serves not just coffee but also ouzo and small plates (mezes) such as fried vegetables, bean salads, stuffed grape leaves, and zucchini blossoms, followed by all kinds of seasonal seafood.

Unlike Lesbos, the Chian landscape is varied, with fertile plains where fruit, wheat, and vegetables are cultivated. Stone shacks on bare mountains house goats and sheep. There are also pine forests and hills covered with fragrant trees of the pistachio family—Pistacia lentiscus—that grow only in southern Chios.

 The sap of the trees gives the island its most famous product, mastic

which is used in Greece and throughout the Middle East as a licoricelike flavoring for breads, cookies, ice cream, and cakes, and is also chewed like gum.
In the Kambos region, south of the capital of Chios, citrus orchards surround the houses, some growing an indigenous variety of tangerine

Chios is famous for its fruit preserves, or spoon sweets, as they are called:

 Whole tiny tangerines, rolled strips of lemon, bergamot or bitter orange peel, unripe pistachios or figs, even fragrant citrus blossoms and the petals of pink roses are cooked in syrup and served on tiny glass plates as a treat for guests.

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