Vasilopita of Agiasos

When visiting an island, many simply expect beaches and blue waters. However, the island of Lesvos, as the third biggest island of Greece with a very specific geological formation, has a greater variety of flora than one would expect. This makes the island a very special destination with a wide variety of beauties to be discovered beyond the sea and beaches.

Mount Olympus area with its pine, chestnut and oak forests, picturesque villages and gastronomy is one of the unexpected wonders of Lesvos. And, Agiasos is the most famous village of the area with its Virgin Mary Church, ivy-mantled cobbled streets, coffee houses, ceramics, and more.

Images of the village from and the image of the Church of Virgin Mary from

Being a mountainous settlement and having been populated largely by Asia Minor refugees have given a distinct gastronomic culture to the village of Agiasos. And, among the specialties of the village is its Vasilopita -a sort of traditional Christmas pie that is unique to Agiasos. Vasilopita is a pie made of handmade thin layers of dough -some variations have up to 50 layers- containing pure butter (or extra virgin olive oil), orange, and boiled aniseed; and, a mixture of ground goat milk cheese (mizithra), sugar, and 13 spices-such as ginger, cinnamon, clover- is sprinkled among the layers, giving the pie a sweet-salty and absolutely delicious flavour. It is believed that the recipe dates back to the time of the Saint Basil the Great who was from Caesarea or Cappadocia.

On New Year's Eve families gathered and women started the preparation of the Vasilopita. Some grated the mizithra, while others with their sleeves rolled up to their elbows stretched the layers of dough spreading butter and mizithra on the dough. The layers of the dough were stretched with a rolling pin on the low table. Whoever passed outside the houses would hear the knock of the mortar and the pestle, in which herbs were ground. Once all the layers were spread, the Vasilopitas were covered with cotton sheets to be taken to the local bakeries in the morning. This is how the locals describe the tradition of the Vasilopita in Agiasos. (Source:

Traditionally, the Vasilopita was made in large copper pans (sinia) and the pie weighed 10 to 12 kg. It takes at least 3 hours to prepare and 5 to 8 hours to bake. In the past, it was mostly consumed after Christmas, especially during the olive picking period that takes place from January to Easter in Agiasos, because of its high nutritional value and its ability to be preserved for long periods of time with no need for refrigeration.

At ΣΥΝLESVOS, we are dedicated to bring out and promote the lesser known gastronomic riches of Lesvos such as the Vasilopita of Agiasos. As such, we are proud that we include the Vasilopita of Agiasos in our boxes and we offer this exquisite taste all year round.

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