THE sardine of Kalloni is the first fishing product of Greece, which is heading for inclusion in the list of Protected Designation of Origin products. Already, the complete relevant file has been submitted to the Ministry of Rural Development so that this unique product of lesbian nature, in addition to the prominent place at the table of lesbian gastronomy, also has the necessary protection. Because when they say sardine in Lesbos, they mean Kalloni sardine and something like this will now be true all over Europe. And this will happen on the study basis of the Agricultural University which is based on the necessary research that precedes the integration.

The “papalina” as the Kalloni sardine is known in Lesbos, no matter how it is cooked, has become synonymous with the lesbian kitchen, Skala Kalloni in the mouth of the bay of the same name in the west of the island and of Lesvos as a whole. It is fished in large quantities from mid-May to mid-October, its president tells APE-MPE commercial coastal fishing in western Lesbos Panagiotis Nanidis, but its peak moment in terms of taste, especially due to the thickness, is just before, during and just after, in August. That’s when it is the main ingredient of lesbian “sushi”. A unique lesbian concoction with the taste of fresh fish, slightly salty. The Kalloni sardine is pickled with coarse salt in the morning or at noon to be consumed a few hours later, at noon or in the evening respectively. But it is also cooked in many other ways. Grilled, fried, in the oven and even soup.

Here it should be noted that the Kalloni sardine or papalina is different from the well-known sardine fished in the seas. Short and thick, with flesh that has a characteristic whitish color and a special “sweet” taste thanks to the plankton of the warm waters of the Gulf of Kalloni. As Mr. Nanidis says, “its special taste compared to its size is due to the natural phenomenon of eutrophication of the bay, due to the large flow of nutrients through the rivers and streams that flow into the Gulf. Making it a unique global natural fish farm.”

Large quantities of sardines, about three tons, are caught daily and sold by fishmongers all over the island. Some small quantities leave the island, while even smaller ones are pickled in olive oil factories.

“In recent years the quantities of sardine fished in the bay of Kalloni have increased significantly due to the abandonment of the method of fishing “volagama” which created a problem for the ecosystem and also the perimeter lighting in the bay which keeps the fish inside it and does not allow them to leave outside the anyway, narrow mouth of the gulf” says Mr. Nanidis.

The fishing of sardine by the fishermen will be followed by the fishing of other fishing species. Rich in uniquely tasty catches, the bay of Kalloni produces a lot more fish. The infamous mullet of the bay with its special and sweet taste, up to cuttlefish and squid but also bream, red bream and sardines.

Close to the fishing of these species, to the good living for its fishermen Gulf of Kalloni the income from shells, the so-called havara, which are the subject of particularly serious export activity mainly in Italy, will also be added.

All this says Mr. Nanidis, and especially nowadays the designation as a product of the Protected Designation of Origin of the sparrow, brings new fishermen to our work and not only because of family tradition. “Who love the sea and want to support their families from it. Let the state, with its agencies, ensure that the catch sold as Kalloniatika is such. And to create a training school for young people, so that they know the gulf of Kalloni and the need to protect it. Let’s all have a living wage like this. And us and our children and our children’s children. Kalloni Bay and its products are a gift from God.”