Prunus, is the scientific name of the plum. Plum was cultivated for the first time in Western Asia. Alexander the Great brought plums in the Mediterranean and Gaius Pompeius introduced them into Rome's gardens.Skopelos plums come in at least three varieties: avgato, a dessert plum, sour (used in cooking and for marmelade), and Agen, the famously healthy French variety which was smuggled on Skopelos inside a potato. You will find them in island meat dishes, in desserts,dried as prunes and, if you are really lucky, as liquer.
As well as supplying ships for the War of Independence, Skopelos also launched a sizeable fishing fleet, in the 19th century constructing the biggest fleet in the Northern Sporades, with over ninety large ships at sea. That fleet has shrunk since the days when a historian could write that most families had a share in a boat, but the island’s ports still see dozens of boats, large and small, set out most mornings to pursue this most under-appreciated of professions, risking life to put a meal on a plate. After 1910 most islanders turned to agriculture, crafts and tourism in recent years. For residents, except for work, fishing is a pleasant pastime. It should however be noted that the area of Northern Sporades is an excellent fishing area and many locals even visitors enjoy amateur fishing. Big saddled sea breams, annular sea bream, mullets, salemas are some of the fish types you can fish in the waters of Skopelos.
Olives and olive oil
Islanders are similarly proud of their olives and olive oil. Skopelos olives are related to the Pelion olive, a fatter, juicier, relative of the famous Kalamata olive cultivar from the mainland, all of them sub-species of Olea Europaea, the olive first introduced into Greece from Syria ten thousand years ago. Housewives on Skopelos invented many recipes in order to preserve them (“green olives with fennel”, “pickled olives”, “olives preserved in vinegar”) and enjoy them with every meal since they are a basic element of the skopelitian nutrition.
They are equally proud of the fact that Skopelos olive oil is all virgin, cold press, with no second pressing involved, so no blending takes place. The islanders use olive oil in most of their recipes and they fry in olive oil the famous skopelitian cheese pie. In the past there were about five or six traditional olive factories in Skopelos town and most of them were shut down twenty years ago. Nowadays, one could visit the last two olive factories still working, one in Skopelos town and the other in Glossa.
Bread and jam
This British tradition is fulfilled in the best possible way in Skopelos, where bread and jamsare prepared with passion.
Although the wheat has never been basic cultivation on the island, and the last mill at Palio Klima closed a few years ago, in Skopelos many traditional breads are kneaded that can only be compared to those of Lefkada. In Skopelos town only, there are six bakeries which producebreads leavened with yeast, baked in traditional furnaces, pies with cheese, pies with vegetables and sweets, such as rozedes and chamalia (traditional wedding sweets, based on almond )and more.
Skopelitian housewives and cooperatives have turned the maintenance of fruits and the preparing of jams from local fruits into art. The hallmark of the island, the Plum, after procession gives wonderful jams. The same delightful are the jams from various fruits and nuts (lemon, orange, fig, almond, walnut, etc.)
Skopelos from antiquity was famous for its exceptional wines. In Stafilos, Agnondas, Panormos there are identified extensive lab facilities for the construction of local amphorae for wine trade of the famous peparithos wine during Classical and Hellenistic times. Despite the destruction of vineyards from the epidemic of fylloxera in 1940s, viticulture and wine production shows signs of recovery, as more and more locals grow their own vines and make their own wine.
The local goat cheese, the well-known feta, is the basic ingredient of Skopelos cheese pie, the dish that is the hallmark of the island. The cheeses of Skopelos are prepared with goat milk from the famous Skopelos goat whose origin probably resulted from the intersection with the wild goat that lives on the island of Yioura, near Alonnisos.
Beekeeping is in great development on Skopelos, despite the decline in the bee population. The colonies came to the island along with the early settlers and since then the honey is a key ingredient of the cuisine but also the economy of the place.
The local bee keepers produce their own honey of exceptional quality and taste.
Beekeepers put their hives at various points of the pine forest, or near specific kinds of vegetation. The Chalepios pine and the biodiversity of the island clean environment and other factors create all the necessary conditions for the honey production. Honey is ideal for breakfast with local plums and goat yogurt.