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Tzanos Mayrikos – Skyros
A cheesemaker born and raised, Mr. Tzanos Mayrikos was always fascinated with the cheesemaking process. “It’s a magical journey to turn liquid milk into solid, aromatic and rich flavoured cheese” he says as excited as when he was first helping his father as a child.
Making cheese in a small island poses several obstacles like the dry climate, which does not allow for great volumes of production. But what the island takes in quantity it gives back in quality, as dry weather makes for richer more concentrated flavours, while island life is apparently really good for animals too apart from people. “My animals run freely in the mountains and the fields of the island as there are no threats for them, they sleep under the stars and eat grass sprayed with sea water from the island’s heavy winds – you can taste all of these elements in our cheese”.
Mr. Tzanos has around to 300 animals and from their milk (sheep and goat), he produces Graviera and Myzithra. Graviera is a hard aged (5-15 months) cheese from mixed goat and sheep milk, with salt being the only preservative in Mr. Tzanos case. The aging is done in underground rooms he constructed himself. Myzithra, is a dry or fresh whey-milk cheese which is a by-product of the Graviera process and is typically used in Greek pasta dishes.
Apart from cheesemaking, Mr. Tzanos always wanted to have bees and produce honey. His thyme-honey is of great quality, as tests on his product show up to 90% of thyme presence, while in a bad year the thyme presence never falls under 50%. The pine-thyme honey he produces is also quite special. He attributes the great quality of his honey to dry climate, as according to him it makes the product’s flavours more intense.
Finally, Mr. Tzanos wants consumers to know that all his products are done with great love and that the raw materials are always his own. We couldn’t be happier to have a producers with such pure and authentic products in our network!