There is only one cheese factory in Samothrace. It is located in the Makrilies village, in the South-Western part of the island and it's the business of Panagiotis Papanikolau. It was founded in 1953 by his grandfather. When he became too old, the factory ceased its activity. But Panagiotis, after having completed his studied in Economics in the city of Thessaloniki, decided to come back to his home island and reopen the family business. Together with his father, Vasilis, applied to an European funding program, bought modern equipment, got the necessary permits and learned the trade secrets from the best. As a result, in 2000 the old family tradition was revived.
The Papanikolau cheeses are special because they are only made from the milk of the sheep (about 80%) and goats (20%) of the island. Around 200 tones of local milk are used every year. The animals graze on the rich and diverse flora of Samothrace and drink sea water, which confers an unique flavor to their meat and cheese. Although the raw material isn't always enough, Panagiotis is determined not to give up quality and only use the local milk.
The artisanal company produces about 40-50 tons of cheese per year, which are sold on the island or in the shop in Alexandroupoli (you'll find it on 20 Dicastirion Str.). A smaller quantity is also sold in Thessaloniki and in Athens.
Among the cheese types that Papanikolau factory produces are graviera (a hard cheese with a spicy aroma and a strong taste, which in 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 (35 Euro/5 liters) and herbal handmade soaps.
The Papanikolau shop is in the Makrilies village, on the left side of the road as you come from Kamariotissa. There you can also buy tinctures and cosmetic products.