There is only one cheese factory in Samothrace. It is situated in the Makrylies village, in the south-western part of the island and it belongs to Panagiotis Papanikolau. The business was founded in 1953 by his grandfather. When he got tired, the factory ceased its activity. But Panagiotis, after having completed his studied in economics in the city of Thessaloniki, has decided to come back to his home island and reopen the old family business. Together with his father, Vasilis, applied to an European funding program, bought modern equipment, got the necessary authorizations and learned the trade secrets from the best. Thus, in the year 2000 the old family tradition was revived.
The Papanikolau cheeses are special because they are only made from the milk of the sheep and goats on the island (about 80% sheep milk and 20% goat milk). The animals graze on the rich 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 decided not to give up quality and only use the local milk.
The artisan cheese company produces about 40-50 tons per year, which are sold on the island or in the shop in Alexandroupoli. A smaller quantity is also sold in Thessaloniki and 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 Makrylies village).
Beside cheese, Panagiotis and his father also produce extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and herbal handmade soaps.
The Papanikolau shop is in Makrylies village, on the left as you come from Kamariotissa. You can also buy there tinctures or cosmetic products.