Parian Herbs, Cheese & Wine Tour
A special tour for all your senses in the heart of the island: See, smell, taste & hear about the true essence of Paros: walk around fragrant herbs in age-old trails, witness traditional cheese-making, visit highland vineyards and enjoy their wines & produce! Hotel pick-up, transfer to Lefkes & light lunch included; available as private or semi-private tours.
Description This is a unique, light-walking tour with a strong gastronomic, botanical & cultural accent, in the countryside around Lefkes. We pick you up from your hotel in our minivan and drive you to Lefkes, and start with a short tour of the traditional village, the heart of an older, agricultural Paros. We soon find ourselves on the Byzantine Way, a centuries-old marble-paved footpath to the next village. In an hour’s walk, you are introduced to the various herbs and edible plants that border our trail, and hear all about their culinary and medical uses past and modern, and folk anecdotes; our talk expands to the various aspects of the Lefkian agricultural life as we wander around the age-old stone-built terraces on the hillsides, where olive trees, vineyards and cereal crops are still grown.
Back to the village, it is a short drive to an old walled monastery tucked away in a leafy valley in the shadow of the mountains, and a shepherd’s farmstead nearby. Here, we are welcomed in the cheese-making facility and get a briefing on the Parian cheese varieties… to follow the last part of the traditional cheese-making process over a wood fire! A tasting of local cheeses (fresh & mature) coupled with some house wine and bread sticks rounds off the visit nicely! In case our shepherd’s animals do not produce enough milk (not uncommon in summer months), we drive you to the “Parion” cheese farm in Tzannes above the village of Dryos, where a young master-cheese-maker follows a family tradition of centuries and makes award-winning Parian cheese for the 21st century.
For the last leg of the tour, we walk around the lush valleyhead around the monastery to reach the tiered vineyards that have produced the famed Lefkian wine for centuries. There, we meet an enthusiastic young farmer who has undertaken the restoration and rejuvenation of those highland vineyards; he will show us around, walking among his beloved grapevines and talking about their cultivation, local varieties and their characteristics and traditional methods of vinification.
After so much wine talk, you just have to taste our six local wines, including a white single-grape wine from an ancient indigenous Parian variety, a lightly sparkling rose wine and a sweet/medium-sweet single grape variety wine, the “liasto” (the red sun-dried wine of Paros); these wines are natural, home-made with very little or no chemical additives. The wine is made more palatable with a light picnic with local flavour set on a marble table under tall plane trees! You can also taste our local grape distillate, the ‘souma’ (a bit like the Italian grappa, but smoother) or a hot & sweet ‘rakomelo’ (‘souma’ with honey, clover and spices); both make excellent digestives. And if you have had a little too much of alcohol, we can also make you a fresh mint & sage tea made with hand-picked herbs.
You may also buy some of the great, mostly organic products you have just tasted. The return to your hotel is a downhill drive to Lefkes with great views, followed by a short tour of inland Paros to Parikia or Naoussa.
More info or booking request? Ask here!
In a nutshell [Paros Essence: Herbs, cheese & wine… from the source] Food/culture/tradition/countryside, easy, drive=5km & walk=3.5km (or drive=10km + walk=3km for ‘Parion’ cheese farm visit), duration: 4h-4h30m (incl. stops).