Let’s talk about Sifnos food…
Food is a distinct chapter in Sifnos. The island has a great gastronomic tradition; you can taste it in every single bite. There’s no wonder why Nikolaos Tselementes, the Greek cook that changed the course of Greek gastronomy, was born here. While Greece is well-known for its cuisine and most of the travellers are interested in tasting traditional dishes, the food in Sifnos has something unique that differentiates it; maybe it’s the way that humble ingredients transform into an explosion of taste.
The majority of traditional dishes are made of simple ingredients (usually fresh seasonal vegetables) and are slowly cooked in a wood oven. Vegetables and legumes are the base of Sifnos food, but there are dishes with fresh fish and meat as well. Of course, the long tradition of Sifnos in pottery has played a significant role in its cuisine, as many ceramic utensils have been used and continue to be used in cooking, undoubtedly positively affecting the final taste of the food. Moreover, in Sifnos travellers and foodies can find cheese, charcuterie and other fresh ingredients of unprecedented taste. Especially the manoura cheese is one of the best things you can try in Sifnos.
If you are planning to visit Sifnos, you should certainly taste “revithada” and “mastelo”, the two most famous main dishes. Also, look for traditional “melopita”, “loli” and almond macarons.
Revithada & Mastelo
“Revithada” is a chickpea soup with onion, garlic and bay leaves, slowly-cooked in a wood oven for 6 hours. Don’t be mistaken from the humble ingredients, its taste will simply blow your mind! The secret lies in the slow cooking and in the utensil used for baking called “skepastaria”. “Revithada” has always been part of the Sunday meal, but nowadays you can find it in almost every restaurant in Sifnos. “Mastelo”, on the other hand, is a festive dish, usually made for the Easter Sunday lunch. It is also slowly-cooked within a utensil called “mastelo” and contains lamb, wine and dill. After 6 hours in the oven, the meat becomes very tender, while the dill and the wine add a very delicate flavour.
Melopita, Loli & Macarons
Generally, the traditional Greek desserts are made with ingredients that can be found in abundance, like honey, milk and eggs. The same happens with Sifnos desserts. “Melopita” is a pie without pastry, made of honey and a fresh cheese with delicate flavour called “anthotiro”. Along with other ingredients, honey and “anhtotiro” create a mixture that is baked in the oven. The taste is absolutely incredible, but at the same time you won’t believe how light this dessert is!
In Greek, “loli” means “crazy”; in Sifnos, if you ask for “loli”, you will get a pumpkin cake with raisins, honey, orange and sesame seeds. The main ingredients are the same, yet every housewife makes this cake in her own way, that’s where this weird name comes from. Finally, there is no chance you visit Sifnos and don’t try “amigdalota”, the greek macarons. They are a very popular dessert, especially in all Greek islands; actually, each island has its own variation. In Sifnos, there are four different variations of “amigdalota”, all of them made with almonds, sugar and citrus zest. This dessert is traditionally offered to guests during weddings and christenings.
How could we complete an article on Sifnos food without mentioning the most special local product? “Manoura gilomeni” is an aged cheese made of goat and mutton milk, that is preserved into red wine sediment. Its appearance usually makes people doubt its taste; imagine a small round piece of cheese with a red and black exterior. However, without a question, it is one of the most luscious cheese you will ever try. Thanks to its acerbic and spicy taste, “manoura” is best accompanied with dried fruit and aged wines, like porto and vinsanto. Can you think of a better gastronomic combination for a summer night by the sea?