Kumquats were introduced to Corfu from China by Merlin, an English industrialist. They are small orange fruits that grow on the island. Islanders harvest them then they are used to make a liqueur using the fruit and the zest. They are also bottled as fruit, crystallised and made into marmalade.
We went to a local distillery to see how the fruits were harvested and made into liqueur. The best part of the tour was the tasting. The liqueur is delicious a bit like snapps.
The island of Corfu is associated with an exotic fruit, called: KumQuat.Its scientific name is: Fortunella Margarita and was brought to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortin.It looks like a small orange.
Corfu is the only place in Greece where this exotic fruit is cultivated in orchards, especially in the district of Nymfes, Municipality of Thinalion.
The fruit can be eaten as a whole or processed in: cooking, salads, sweets, jams, syrups, glace, preserves, liqueurs and teas.
It is produced, among other producers, by AGRANTHI (Agricultural Development of Nymfes Thinalion) and can be found in large supermarkets, liqueur stores, souvenir shops and at the airport of Corfu.
What to buy: KumQuat in every possible bottle or processed in every possible form.
What to pay: Prices start from 5 Euros.
On one of the most atmospheric and aristocratic streets of the City of Corfu, you will encounter the "STARENIO Bakery".It offers a large selection of quality breads, pies and desserts, at very affordable prices.
You can find:
24 kinds of bread.
Sandwiches & snacks in different temptingly delicious combinations.
Home- made sweets & savory pies.
Desserts & cookies.
What to buy: The above mentioned goodies!
What to pay: Prices start from 1 Euro.
If you like soaps, as used to be made years or even centuries ago, according to a long established tradition, a visit to Patounis Soap Factory, will be a wonderful experience!
Do not expect to find any big factory!It is just a small factory with traditionally made soaps, as those ones used by your grand parents!
A real trip back to time and to some forgotten products, as old-fashioned soaps!
What to buy: Soaps of any kind!
What to pay: Prices start from 2 euros.
A well presented modern shop with a local cultural look,vast array of local made and imported jewellery and local made sculptures,is a bit on the expensive side depending on what you are looking for but well worth a visit.
What to buy: Local hand made jewellery.
What to pay: anything from ten to ten thousand euros.
There is not just one shop that stands out in Corfu but many. Most souvenir shops sell local wood products such as, fruit bowls, napkin holders, carved sculptures and wall hangings. In Corfu town, many shops sold only wood products. I bought a number of things and they are good quality and a nice reminder of a wonderful holiday.
There is definately something for everybody. The trendier female element meets at Mezzo Mezzo or Due in M. Theotoki Street for a spot of windowshopping. The younger set probably prefers Mega Sport for stylish street gear. We liked just to move on and hiked our way towards Filarmonikis, Filellinon and Palaiologou where we saw that the picture started to change, gradually becoming a colouful bazaar. This is where we found the famous olive wood carvings, the finest examples (together with the pottery) of local folk art. We stayed for a while and especially the olive wood shop had our attention. To us it looked like it has just popped out of some fairytale book (have a look at the picture of this tip). There were some beautiful things that were unusual and very reasonable prices plus the shopowner was the perfect gentleman.
Around Plateia Dimarchiou and south of this square the shops are fewer and have a more personal style. Antique shops, second-hand dealers and ethnic boutiques with articles from all over the world awoke our consumer instincts, because we have a taste for the old and the exotic. After this we visited one of the few remaining traditional furniture-makers, like Souzos. Finally we made our way back to the Spianada (Esplanade) and we knew that we were getting there, because all of a sudden all the touristic souvenir shops popped up. Time for our nice cold beer!
The ground floor arcades or galleries (volta) are among the most impressive charecteristics of the town's architecture. They facilitate pedestrian traffic along the busy streets, without reducing any of the space of the upper floors on either side of the treet. But they also provide space for all the goods that are stalled out between it. We definately could smell the hive of activity right on the street!
Once you leave the Spianada (Esplanade) expanse behind you and lose yourself in the tangle of lanes between the tall buildings, one thing is certain: you will return to the Liston and its cafés with an arm full of brightly coloured bags! And don't start looking at your watch, because the Campiello is way too seductive a place for that. Only a few narrow streets separate Evgeniou Voulgareos and its jewellers from the trendy boutiques and shoe stores in M. Theotoki, or the tourist market in Paleologou Street from that in Filarmonikis. The most commercial part of the town centre lies to the north of City Hall Square. The choice is abundant designs by famous goldsmiths and luxurious watches, minimal jewellery. We liked the tiny silver and gold workshops more with their modern personal creations.
Being in the Old Town of Corfu (Kerkyra) trully is amazing. It has a fascinating road network, complemented by small squares which also developed naturally. They are mainly found in front of churches, and apart from their function as a place for social gaterings, they are necessary breathing spaces and commercial shopping areas in the densely-populated town.
Shopping in Kerkyra might just only be a pretext for going back - yet again - into the magical mediaeval world of the Campiello, designer jewellery, high fashion boutiques, atmospheric antique shops, gift shops with a personal air and a touch of ethnic interest, workshops housing woodcarvers and traditional Venetian cabinet-makers. Folk art, contemporary trends and the Venetian heritage paraded before our eyes in the colourful images and successive surprises concealed in the labyrintine lanes of Kerkyra. Beautifully decorated window displays and colourful folklore stands, designer pret a porter and kumkuats, a 13th century church and a Venetian well, lines of washing hanging above our heads and the philharmonic playing: shopping in Kerkyra is a fascinating business!
Corfu Town is a mazo of streets, each with their own character. I just loved the huge array of things for sale, whatever you wanted, I'm sure it was somewhere in the town!
I loved looking at the Greek clothes shops, the goods hung on the wall above the stalls. Also, I would always buy a small Greek rug to take home. We have a fair collection!
What to buy: The food shops were amazing and the smell of fresh coffee beans, as they were ground, hung in the air.
I always find butchers interesting and Corfu's meat sellers were no exception. The only thing I wondered, as the meat hung in the open air, was how did they stop flies laying eggs on it and therefore being riddled with maggots? An unpleasant thought indeed!
What to pay: Things seemed pretty cheap back in the good old days of the drachmae. I doubt it now with the change-over to the Euro.
Corfu's main shopping district in Corfu Town is a maze of great little shops.
There doesn't seem to much of a quality control measure in Greece which means your purchase isn't necessarily guarenteed.
HOWEVER, check it out, you might be surprised.
There is also heaps of "Western" shops - ie chains that we have all seen before.
There is even a Marks and Spencers on the main boulevarde!!
In Corfu town there are many narrow streets where the markets can be found. It is definately worthwhile taking a wander through them as there are many things to see and buy. You can get everything from designer goods to jewellary and clothes to souvenirs.
What to buy: There are many things to be found in the markets, and some of the specialities include goods made from olive wood, and the local drinks - ouzo and kumquat liquer.
What to pay: The best thing about Corfu is that you can haggle, so if you are good at it, give it a go. I am useless at it and I still managed it!
En English traveler, whose name was Merlin, resident of Kerkyra, loved to plant in his land trees which he brought from every part of the world. In 1924, he brought from China to Kerkyra one tree of 2.5m height. The fruits looked like dwarf oranges nad they were eaten without peeling.
The name of the tree was cumquat.
In Greece, it is only produced in Kerkyra and it is only sold there. It is one of the traditional products of the island.
You can find it as a sweet in packages, as a jam or as a liquer.
A trip shopping to Corfu's main resort is a must, there you will find many, many shops to tailor your every needs and more. There is also the original market that is on twice a week where you can pick up some real bargains, but why pay full asking price when you can barter with them, its much more fun !
What to buy: Local garments such as sarongs, laces, sandals are everywhere and fantastic quality, you can even have your feet measured, choose the style you want, go back the next day and pick them up, Brilliant !
Hand-made jewellery is something to look for as there is so much of it and so beautiful to, I spent hours just looking, then even more hours buying, and I still had money left. Definetely not like me to have money after shopping !
What to pay: As much as you want, take plenty with you if you want to come back with some bargains. I took in English money £30