In the small village of Makrilies, there's a cheese factory, the only one in Samothraki. It's in the southwest of the island and it belongs to Panagiotis Papanikolau. His grandfather started the business in 1953 and when his age caught up with him the factory was closed. Many years later, Panagiotis, after studying economics in Thessaloniki decided to return to his homeland and reopen the family business. Together with his father, Vasilis, he secured funding through a European program, bought modern equipment and learned the secrets of the trade from experts.
The Papanikolau cheese is special because it's made only from the milk of the sheep (about 80%) and goats (20%) of the island. Around 200 tons of milk are used every year. The animals eat the rich and diverse flora of Samothraki and sometimes drink seawater, which gives the meat and the cheese a unique taste. Although the milk is not always sufficient, Panagiotis is determined to keep up his standards and use only local milk.
The factory produces 40-50 tons every year. The cheese is sold on the island and in the Alexandroupoli shop (14is Maiou boulevard at number 22). A small fraction of the cheese is even sold in Thessaloniki and Athens.
The Papanikolau factory makes graviera (a hard cheese, slightly spicy, with an intense taste that won an award in 2013 from the Gastronomos magazine), mizithra (ricotta style cheese), feta, xirotyri (dry hard traditional cheese, slightly peppery, matured for 2 years), provio, kaseri, kaskavali, anthotyro, melihloro, volakotyri, tsakisto and makrylisio (a type of cheese named after the village of Makrylies).
Besides cheese, Panagiotis and his father also produce cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (30 € / 5 l) and soaps out of various medicinal plants.
Contact Papanikolau shop - Makrilies, Samothraki
The Papanikolau shop is in the village of Makrilies, on the left side of the road. Besides cheese and olive oil you can find there honey, spices, tinctures and cosmetic products.