Malvasia

Salina's good fortune is its freshwater springs. It is the only island of the Aeolians with natural water sources, the result of which is the startling greenery. The islanders have put this to good use, producing their own style of wine, Malvasia. It is thought that the Greeks brought the grapes to the islands in 588 BC, and the name is derived from Monemvasìa, a Greek city.

The wine is still produced according to traditional techniques using the Malvasia grape and the now-rare red Corinthian grape. The harvest generally occurs in the second week of September when the grapes are picked and laid out to dry on woven cane mats. The drying process is crucial: the grapes must dry out enough to concentrate the sweet flavour but not too much, which would caramelise them.

The result is a dark-golden or light-amber wine that tastes, some say, of honey. It is usually drunk in very small glasses and goes well with cheese, sweet biscuits and almond pastries.

In recent years, Salina's wineries have also started producing some excellent dry Malvasia whites that go nicely with seafood; you'll find these on menus around Salina and throughout the archipelago.