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At the beginning of the summer I was in Syros. I will not say that it was a business trip - for many years, however, even my personal trips, as well as my vacations, are designed to have some business interest. The main reason that brought me to Syros on this trip, then, was the cheese. Surprisingly, it was not wine, although I also found wine (and wine tourism) interest on the island, which I will talk about at another time.

Of course, one does not need to be an expert to understand that, since I mention Syros and cheese in the same sentence, the object of interest in my trip could not be other than San Michalis. And Diana would fall! Because, indeed, the reason why I made this (very enjoyable) trip was to get to know the finest, the rarest, the most famous Greek PDO cheese, San Michalis.

I learned a lot about it. Things that, as a storyteller of wine and alcohol, fascinate me, but which, I must admit, I did not expect to "embellish" the story of a cheese. For example, I learned that he got his name. I learned that his life, although counting some (not many) decades, had several "ups and downs". Above all, however, I learned that San Michalis has an inventor. Creator. Father, tell him as you wish. And I met him!

It was an honor but also a pleasure to spend time with Mr. Zannis Kontizas, the man to whom we owe San Michalis. Cheerful and hospitable, he received me at his house, told me endless stories (and you know how much I like this…), showed me old black and white photos and old posts and time passed without me realizing it.

No, I will not tell you everything here. Not only because they are many and extremely interesting, but because the world (all) must learn the history of this excellent cheese properly, structured, with strategy and the right support material, as befits a product that other countries would consider national champion. So I'll ask you to wait a bit - these jobs are not done overnight.

For now, however, the emphasis remains on this magic cheese. Enjoy it plain, in food, grated, as you love it - but enjoy it. And the winelovers who read these lines (because we also have the "disease" of cheese & wine), let them combine it either with a soft red (Agiorgitiko, Merlot) or (ideally) with a vintage Champagne and they will remember me.

If, in fact, you are in Syros, I strongly recommend you to get to know San Michalis where he is "born": I did it at the cheese factory of the company Tyrosyra, in the village of Vissa. In Tyrosyra, San Michalis is made based on the secret recipe of Zannis Kontizas and is fantastic, like the other cheeses in the range produced by the company.

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