Patmos is known as around the world as the island of the Apocalypse. Its earliest inhabitants are believed to have been Ions who were followed by the Dorians. In the second century B.C., the Romans used it as a place of exile and the most famous person banished there was the St John the Apostle who wrote the “Book of Revelation” under conditions of total isolation and ascetic living.
The island’s terrain is semi-mountainous, barren hills alternating with small plains and a lace-like coastline with countless coves and small bays. This topography combined with the island’s religious significance creates a special backdrop.
During Easter, Patmos offers visitors the chance to follow the recreation of the Last Supper, while on Easter Sunday the services are read in seven languages plus Homeric dialect.
On a holy island like Patmos it’s only natural that everything you sample will be divine. Start from the fruits of the sea, seeking out fish marinated in garlic and rosemary, octopus stewed with tomato sauce and pearl onions or simply grilled, cuttlefish stuffed with rice, and fresh seafood. For meat lovers, there’s goat in lemon sauce, pork in wine sauce, stuffed hare, and meatloaf made with a combination of minced pork and minced beef plus some 20 other ingredients.
Local dairy products and fresh vegetables are important elements in Patmos cuisine. Specialties using both are stuffed eggplant (melitzana papoutsakia), chickpeas with fried eggplant, and peppers stuffed with aromatic herbs.
The most notable sweets are apidakia (pear-shaped confections made with ground walnuts and honey), amygdalota (marzipan cookies), along with diples (fried dough strips) and sviggoi (fried batter puffs) drizzled with local honey. The best-known Patmos sweets, which are served at wedding and special celebrations, are pouggia—fyllo filled with honeyed ground walnuts and almonds, baked and then dusted with confectioner’s sugar.