|Santorini Restaurants &
|The Santorini Cherry Tomato :
'Tomatines' are Unique to Santorini
|A caprice of nature, Santorini's 'baby tomato'
is as delicious & aromatic as it is tiny. You could almost
confuse it with a small cherry. Unique to Santorini, the sparse
rainfall, strong winds and high temperature benefit this particular
strain which is unable to prosper anywhere else on our planet.
No one can say with certainty as to whether the tomatina adjusted
to the particular island soil conditions or if it originates
from a different string altogether. It first arrived in Greece
in 1818, when an abbot from the monastery Kapoutsinon, named
Fragkiskos, brought the first seeds.
|The first signs of cultivation have been reported
in 1875. A certain fact is from that day to this, the variety
has not changed at all, nor has it been grafted with another
The older population of the island maintain the first seeds
arrived from the Suez. The Santorinian captains used to stop
there for supplies, and after trying the tomatina, they brought
the seeds back. The crops were of course successful due to the
dry climates of both Egypt & Santorini.
|The Success of the Cherry
The 'baby tomato' went so
well, by the turn of the 20th century 20,000 acres were
being harvested and 14 processing factories were in
But the greatest boost to production was given unwittingly
by Lenin. With the Bolshevic Revolution, the churches
of Tsarist Russia closed. Since Visanto wine (also a
product of Santorini) used by the Russian priests during
Communion became redundant, Santorini decided to promote
the next best exportable commodity - the tomatina.
|The Intervention of the Volcano
Up till the 50's all was
going fine. But the great earthquake of 1956 injured
island life and of course the tomato cultivation. The
second blow was implemented by the growth of tourism.
The promise of easy money lured the islanders away from
their fields. Only a handful of people continue production
and prices have taken a steep rise.
Today the tomatina is considered a luxury food item
on our table.