Ladenia, Pizza’s Forerunner from the Greek Island of Kimolos

LadeniaLadenia is so good I’ve made it three times in three days.

That’s almost true.

The first day I made Ladenia, it would’ve been good if I hadn’t smoked it with burnt olive oil (more on that later). The second day I made it to redeem myself after the disaster the day before. Ladenia’s wonderful flavor was the sole reason I made it the third day.

Filena Venardou documented the traditional foods of Kimolos in Η Κουζίνα της Κιμώλου (The Cuisine of Kimolos). Venardou says Ladenia is the most “original and characteristic” dish of Kimolos, and is “considered the precursor” of modern pizza. According to Venardou, Ladenia has been made in Kimolos since the time of its domination by the Venetians (1207 – 1566 AD/CE).

Ilias Mamalakis is one of Greece’s most beloved food personalities. Known familiarly by his first name, Ilias has written many cookbooks and magazine articles, and stars in television and radio shows about cooking. I love his gnomish personality and infectious enthusiasm for the traditional foods of Greece.

After Ilias featured Ladenia on television, his recipe for it made the rounds of Greek food blogs. Posters debated how much olive oil should be used and suggested numerous additions to the original recipe: feta, meat, mushrooms, olives, peppers, or herbs such as oregano, marjoram, or basil. One poster reminisced about visiting Kimolos, and buying fresh Ladenia every morning at a bakery before heading to one of the island’s beautiful beaches.

Are you wondering how I smoked my first Ladenia? There’s a lot of olive oil in Ladenia’s topping, and I made the mistake of baking it on a pizza pan. Since there was nothing to stop the oil from running onto the hot oven floor, that’s where too much of it went. The acrid smoke stunk up the house and ruined the Ladenia, which had to be thrown away (and, yes, I also had to scrub down the oven). Here’s the lesson: Ladenia must be baked in a pan with high sides.

UPDATE: Maria from Hania on Crete made a gorgeous version of this recipe, with green peppers added to the topping. You can read about Maria’s Ladenia here.

Be sure to check out the recipes mentioned in this post:


20 Responses to Ladenia, Pizza’s Forerunner from the Greek Island of Kimolos

  1. What a fantastically simple and tasty recipe. Eat your heart pizza, Ladenia’s here!

  2. Oven roasted tomatoes and onions aon bread…mmm…

  3. your bread is very mediterranean and lokks delicioius. Thank you very much for your partecipation!


  4. This bread looks delicious, and what a fantastic combination of flavours! A true slice of Greece in Alaska.

  5. Gretchen Noelle says:

    This looks delicious! My kind of “pizza!!” I so enjoy all the incredible information you include on all your posts!

  6. Bellini Valli says:

    I love all the toppings and flavours of this bread. It sounds wonderful. I will have to gice it a try over the holidays when I hope to get into some real baking.

  7. I love making Ladenia, and yours looks great.

  8. Another great recipe for me to try someday! I’ve been so busy and finally got a chance to catch up with your blog…I just love it. It’s so very useful and informative! Keep up the great work and thanks for the wonderful recipes!!

  9. looks absolutely wonderful-filling and very have great recipes, will definitely be back as both my husband and i are fans of greek food.

  10. Sounds more like focaccia and looks like a vegan pizza 🙂

  11. You are exactly right Peter! Go Ladenia!

    Kevin, I honestly think oven roasted tomatoes and onion would be great on almost anything.

    Thank you for the kind words Francesca and for organizing such a nice event!

    Thanks, Cakelaw — and it’s really easy to make.

    Gretchen, you should try it! And, thanks, I’m so glad you like the details!

    Valli, if you make it, I’d love to hear how it went!

    I think any Ladenia would be good, Ivy! It’s one of those kind of dishes.

    Cheryl, you are so welcome. So glad you stopped by!

    Mayhabay, As you can tell, I’m fond of Greek food myself! I’m happy you visited, thanks.

    Suganya, yep, vegan pizza of a sort, anyay — I think it’s the amount of oil that distinguishes this from other similar bread/topping combinations.

  12. Sayangku Ayone says:

    I love Mediterranean cuisine. Read your blog here like finding a treasure. May I try some of your recipes? Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Have a nice Monday,
    Sefa – FoodisLove

  13. Mansi Desai says:

    wow!! that sure looks very inviting!! I could reach out and eat it if it were possible:)

    and thanks for your kind comments on my blog too!!

  14. Sefa, I hope you do try some of my recipes — I’d be honored.

    Mansi, you are most welcome, and thank you for visiting my blog.

  15. Looks delicious, I definitely want to try this one out!

  16. Laurie your bread looks marvelous! I really enjoy authentic sea salt as it imparts such a good flavor to dishes, especially your olive oil bread! We enjoy breads of this type at my house so I will be trying this out myself. This was such a great event and what I really enjoyed also is meeting new bloggers around the world! Cheers!

  17. Maria, I hope you like it!

    Thanks winedeb! I completely agree with you about the taste of sea salt, and this salt is particularly good because it has so many herbs in it.

  18. That bread looks wonderful! I’ve done the same with the olive oil…
    Pretty salt and jar. And with red pepper flakes… A wonderful finishing salt!

  19. Srivalli says:

    Laurie…this is such a fantastic bread!…thank you do much…rachel made this for our meet and it was a super duper hit!…thanks for the lovely recipe!

  20. KatieZ, the finishing salt was wonderful and thank you so much for organizing the spice/herb exchange!

    Srivalli, I’m so glad you liked the bread! I read all about the Chennai meet. It really sounded fun and all the food looked so very good. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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