As with most famous places it is a common occurrence that each location will often have its own specialties. Be it manufactured goods or culinary delights their uniqueness is maintained out of tradition. This being the tendency, Mykonos is no exception.
When considering the time line of Mykonos, moments in its history show that manufacturing of certain things did occur specifically on this island. The existing evidence of the famous windmills is proof that a form a refined floor was produced in large enough quantities for export. Even further back and less obvious to the modern tourist was a substantial manufacturing of ceramics. During ancient times when Delos was one of the most populated areas of the Aegean, ceramic containers were in great demand as they were used for the transportation and storage of various goods.
Also worth noting was the existence of a cottage textile industry that registered some infamy around the middle of the 20th Century through its production of hand-spun woolens and loom-woven fabrics.
As times changed and technology developed the need for the island's kilns and mills vanished. Today, what does remain of hand manufactured goods is a modest example of local textiles that can still be found in various shops generally located in the Little Venice area of Mykonos town.
Surviving the advancement of technology, culinary specialties seem to fair much better through time. The various tastes of local foods and wines are as unique and as numerous as the families that produce them and farmers and villagers often maintain traditional recipes for generations. As most of these delicacies are not available commercially the best way to enjoy a sampling is to attend any of the local festive celebrations. These 'panayiris' as they are called, are annual events spaced periodically throughout the year in celebration of each family's patron saint. It is here the visitor will find a real showcase of traditional local cuisine.
Of the traditional specialties unique to Mykonos, three foods have risen to fame and due to their demand are now often available in cafes, restaurants, certain specialty shops, butcher shops and supermarkets.
Many kinds of salami are produced in Greece but probably the most famous, particularly throughout the Cycladic region is the Louza. This prosciutto-like cousin is made from a complete pork fillet which is flavored with salt, pepper and herbs then hung to be cured in the open air for at least a month and often longer. As the balances of flavors vary somewhat from island to island the most famous is the combination found in Mykonos. Used in the making of this lousa is the herb 'savory', locally known as 'throubi' which grows wild on the island.
This is a cheese that when first tasted will never be forgotten. Soft in texture and creamy in color it is a local favorite with a real kick. Somewhat similar to Roquefort this cheese carries its own unique character and a much sharper bite. Although produced throughout the Cycladic Islands the particular variety that comes from Mykonos is world famous. Created and shaped by hand without any form of mechanization, this cow-milk product may on occasion also incorporate the use of sheep, goat or combined blends of these milks. Traditionally Kopanisti is used as an appetizer and often as an accompaniment to ouzo since its sharpness nicely counters the sweet licorice flavor of this traditional drink.
Accompanying the savory specialties of the island is the famous pastry known as Amigthalota or almond sweet. Often present at festive events such as weddings, baptisms and family celebrations, these pastries are also enjoyed by many at any time of the year. It should be noted that two forms of the almond specialty exist. First is the popular elongated cookie shape that is distinctively covered in powdered sugar. Second is known as the 'kalathaki' (basket) that is actually almond cake which has been baked into a small pastry cupcake mold and often individually wrapped.