Why we love Santorini>
words by Christina Thomas
Why have we chosen to host our yoga retreats in Santorini versus any of the other hundreds of islands in the country? Many reasons actually, but namely these! Yes, the views from pretty much anywhere you look in Santorini are EPIC. Of all the Greek islands we have chosen this one for its quintessential views and amazing architecture to host the best yoga retreat in Greece! A few other favorite things for us about Santorini are their unique wines; their tomatoes; their epic beaches and salty water; and the incredible octopus.
Santorini has gone through a lot with its volcano, but it has provided the island with a very specific soil consistency, making local products truly unique…our favorite, Assyrtiko!, Santorini’s minerally, crisp, dry white wine that we can’t get enough of. Because of the volcanic residue, most of the ‘soil’ on the island is made up of pumice stone and volcanic rock which is porous and holds all the salt air blowing in off the sea consistently throughout the year. Because rainfall on the island is almost zero, this is the ONLY form of irrigation the vines receive. So as the heavy morning mist covers the ground the stones absorb the moisture and use it to water the grapevines giving Santorini grapes their rich mineral characteristics. You can literally taste the sea salt in a glass of Assyrtiko! It’s truly a unique wine.
Greece has been making wine for more than 3k years…Santorini doesn’t terrace their vines but uses a ‘basket system’ for each grapevine. This system is one in which the plant protects itself from the harsh winds that blow off the sea onto the vineyard. Each vine is hand wrapped to form a basket so that the fruit grows INTO the basket protecting it from the weather outside.
My other favorite wine in Santorini is Vinsanto…a dessert wine like no other…mouth watering yet?! Pair all this with that amazing Meditteranean cuisine…well, needless to say, I can’t WAIT to get back to Greece!
local Greek food
Because of the unique characteristics of the ground in Santorini, the agricultural products that come from this rich island are quite special.
Santorini tomatoes : Tomatoes are probably their most prided produce after their grapes. Santorini tomatoes are about the size of a cherry tomato and the sweet, tanginess of their fruit is amazing! While they are served in amazingly creative salads across the island, our favorite invention of them is in their concentrated pastes. They have single, double, and triple concentration and THESE are the products I make sure to bring back with me from each visit! A double or triple concentration of Santorini tomato paste is perfect for thickening sauces and soups and the tang of the sun-riped fruits give it an incredible flavor!
Capers : Berries, Fruits & Leaves : The caper bush is typically known for its edible flower buds, the caper itself but caper berries are also amazing and delicious. Here in Santorini they ALSO pickle and serve the leaves in their salads and they are surprisingly incredible! I usually bring at least one jar home to enjoy for a bit after our Greece trip.
Greek Octopus : It must be something about the salty, salty Aegean Sea because octopus in Santorini is literally the BEST I’ve eaten and trust me….I try it every chance I get. The tentacles are LARGE and usually served grilled with local fava bean puree, a lemon, and Greek salad. It’s literally the perfect meal!
Obviously, it’s an island so there are tons of beaches tucked away pretty much anywhere you turn but a few favorites that we seek out on our trip are the Red Beach and the Black Beach (not the most creative of names but they drive home the point).
Both are pebble beaches and best to bring some kind of water sandal for the most comfortable and graceful entrance and exits (learned from experience!). The water is refreshingly cool and floating here is the BEST because of the high salt content of the water.
We visit both of these sweet spots on our retreats in Santorini. I’m dreaming of my beach days in this gorgeous island paradise in September!