Corfu is a fertile island that distinguishes for its products. The most famous agricultural products are the fine oil, the Merlin oranges and koum-kouat.
Corfu also has dairy products. The butter of Corfu and its cheeses (graviera and Corfu cheese made from the Italian cheese grana) distinguish for their taste.
Don't miss tasting the traditional sweets of the island. Try mantoles (caramel almonds), pasteli (made from the local honey and sesamy or almonds or peanuts) and mantolato (made from almonds, sugar, vanilla and honey).
You have to drink at least one tsitsibira, the refreshment produced only in Corfu. During the English domination tsitsibira was the registered trademark of Ionian islands. It is made of lemon juice, natural lemon oil, grated ginger, flap dragons, water and sugar. It's a very delicious cooling refreshment.
The endless olive groves in Corfu, apart from the extraordinary sceneries that create, contribute to the financial well being of the island. Olive cultivation spread in the island during the period of the Enetic domination. Today, olive is the basic agricultural product of the island. The variety of olives in combination to the climate (temperate climate with high humidity and many rainfalls from November to March) give oil of high quality. In the taverns and restaurants all meals are cooked with the local oil. Their flavour is due to this oil.
Koum-kouat is a variety of black chinese orange. It was brought in the island by the English traveler Merlin in 1924. The fertile ground of the island, the plentiful running water and the temperate climate create the ideal conditions for the cultivation of this delicate fruit tree. Its cultivation spread rapidly mostly in north Corfu where the climate helped its growth.
The plain of Nimfon was the ideal location for this exotic orange. Today, the cultivating land in the region covers 500sq.m. while their annual production outgrows 140tons. Koum-kouat is only cultivated in Corfu and it's identified as a product of "dependant geographical indication". Japan and Florida of U.S.A. are other countries that this type of orange is being cultivated.
The size of koum-kouat is equal to cherries, its colour is orange and its taste bitter-sweet. From koum-kouat is produced the homonym liqueur known as the traditional drink of Corfu. You can also make sweet of a spoon and frui glase. There are four factories producing koum-kouat in Corfu today and more than 90 producers work with its cultivation.
In general the cultivation and production of koum-kouat contributes to the island's economy, since as a local product, comes first in the visitors' preferences that run to buy the elegant packs with the famous liquer.
It is a special variety of oranges, brought in the island by the English traveler Merlin-the same one who brought koum-kouat- and that's why it was named after him. These oranges were brought from America and were first cultivated in his garden. Gradually its cultivation spread in the entire island and other places in Greece.