Oranges, as well as other types of citrus fruit, thrive all over the prefecture of Lakonia and are famous both in Greece and abroad. In spring, the intoxicating scent of citrus blossoms from the valley pervades the atmosphere, making life sweet for the locals and attracting the visitors, reminding them how truly blessed this land is.
Of course, extra virgin olive oil along with table olives is what has always excelled as the most valuable product of the area. Lots of local and Greek varieties (Athinolia, Koutsourolia, Koroneiki, Kakourou, Psilolia, Mourtolia) are cultivated in endless olive groves.
Kalamata olives are produced in the nearby region of Messenia, though they are very often cured, pickled or packaged in Sparta and all over Lakonia, following century-old recipes and traditions which greatly enhance the quality of the finished product. Vines have also been cultivated in the area for as long as the collective memory can recall. Today, with organic methods constantly gaining ground, small and larger businesses produce an interesting range of local wines with remarkable distinctions in national and international competitions.
As this is, after all, Greek land at its best, honey could not be missing from the wealth of goods Sparti has to offer. It is systematically produced in every corner of the region, its taste and aroma superbly enriched by the citrus fruit blossoms of the valley, and the conifers and herbs of the mountains. Chestnuts and walnuts are another firm favourite among local products their exceptional quality has even inspired a festival in their honour, held over the last weekend of October at the village of Arna. Fresh produce may be the land's forte, though meat lovers with demanding palates can rest assured that, when it comes to meat, the Peloponnese can definitely deliver. The mountainous villages of the region have a long livestock keeping tradition, and all types and cuts have their uses both in everyday meals and in festive specials.
And, while tradition still goes strong around here, the irresistible attraction of more innovative ideas and methods has led to some new additions in the food processing sector with the appearance of new units, such as the one in the village of Kastori, which produces fresh and cured trout, salmon and sturgeon, as well as the organic poultry production unit in Ksirokambi, where free-range chickens are fed exclusively with certified organic foods. With such a magnificent range of ingredients at hand, it is no surprise that the local cuisine consists of masterpieces created in humble kitchens, showcasing the best of flavours by mixing diverse elements in its eternal cauldron the uninitiated cannot help but marvel at the sheer inventiveness. Sausages flavoured with finely-cut orange peel, syglino, suckling pig on the spit (locally known as bouzopoula), lalagia (small local pancakes), delicious tomato puree, table olives, warm artisan bread topped with exceptional olive oil and a glass of sweet wine, enhanced by the views over the imposing, verdant mountains. What else is there to ask for?