There is only one cheese factory in Samothrace. It is located in the village of Makrilies, in the southwestern part of the island and it belongs to Panagiotis Papanikolau. It was founded in 1953 by his grandfather. When he got old and tired, the factory ceased its activity. Years later, Panagiotis, after completing his studies in economics in Thessaloniki, decided to return to his home island and reopen the family business. Together with his father, Vasilis, they applied for an European funding program, bought modern equipment, obtained the required license and learned the trade secrets from the best. As a result, in the year 2000 the old family tradition was revived.
The shop in Samothrace
The Papanikolau cheese is special because it is produced exclusively using the milk of sheep (about 80%) and goats (20%) of the island. Around 200 tons of local milk are used every year. The animals graze on the rich and diverse vegetation of Samothrace and drink sea water, which gives meat and cheese an unique taste. Although the raw material isn't always enough, Panagiotis is determined not to compromise on quality and to only use local milk.
The farm produces around 40-50 tons of cheese per year. Their products are mainly sold on the island or in the shop in Alexandroupoli (you'll find it on 20 Dicastirion Str.), but some of them also go to Thessaloniki and Athens.
The shop in Alexandroupoli
Some of the varieties of Papanikolau cheese farm are graviera (a hard cheese with a spicy aroma and a strong taste, which in the year 2013 received a quality award from the Gastronomos magazine), mizithra (a fresh cheese), feta, xirotyri (a traditional hard dry cheese, with pepper notes, which is aged for two years), provio, kaseri, kascavali, anthotyro, melihloro, volakotyri, tsakisto or makrylisio (which gets its name from the Makrilies village).
Beside cheese, Panagiotis and his father also produce extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and herbal handmade soaps.
The Papanikolau shop is in the village of Makrilies, on the left side of the road as you come from Kamariotissa. You can also buy there tinctures and cosmetic products.