The Cycladic Greek Island of Tinos has a rich and varied culinary heritage, with a new energy and life from passion of the islanders and the work of Tinos Food Paths
Like many islanders the people of Tinos are fiercely proud of their island and culinary culture. They have come together to form Tinos Food Paths, an annual gastronomic festival that celebrates the food of this Cycladic Island.
In 2018 the festival was dedicated to the iconic island dovecotes and the pigeons who live in them and the dish of pitsouni or pigeon.
Everywhere we went we were welcomed with tables groaning under the weight of the local specialty dishes and produce.
What is remarkable about Tinos Food paths is the entire movement is voluntary, with people giving of their time, expertise, food, skills and equipment, because they love their island, its food and culture. It is a movement that I’d love to see spread across the sea from Tinos to other communities.
Central to the week’s festival is the food theatre in Tinos town, in the old fish market where some of the most well known names in the Greek food world had travelled over the sea to cook and tell their food stories.
Other guests included Stelios Parliaros who demonstrated a locally inspired cheesecake topped with thick syrupy mix of figs, honey and walnuts.
Aside from the cooking demonstrations the festival included dinners cooked in a makeshift outdoor kitchen and served on long tables on the beach, and an immersive visit to the dovecotes of Tarambados.
Charcuterie From Tinos
Charcuterie is the mainstay of the table, and we were served plate after plate of delicious meats.
We visited local producer Ioannis Kritikos in Hora, or Tinos town where he makes both Iouza and sausage in his production unit situated at the eastern end of the promenade.
To make the louza fillets of pork are marinaded in wine and herbs, then wrapped in a pig intestine and hung up to air dry and cure. The louza is served sliced into wafer thin slices.
The local sausage is known as salsitsi and is spicy and packed with garlic.
Cheese From Tinos
Kariki cheese – is a local island specialty made by Angela Rouggeri, whose dairy is on the Eastern slopes of the island’s highest mountain, Tskinia. The Kariki is matured in a hollowed out, then sealed gourd for 120 days. When mature the cheese would have shrunk away from the side of the gourd. It is intense, fully flavoured and pungent. Dry and crumbly on the outside and softer inside.
Angela also makes the milder malathouni, a pear shaped simpler rennet based cheese. It is shaped in woven wicker baskets before being hung up in cheese cloths to dry and mature.
Sweets and cakes from Tinos
Pastel – Greek sesame seed and honey, often made with the local thyme flower honey, snacks that are served on lemon leaves.
Tsimbita – these bite sized pastries are filled with the local unsalted petroma cheese and flavoured with mastic, cinnamon and orange, what looks like a delicate paper case is actually a layer of filo pastry, painstakingly pleated using a cocktail stick. Traditionally the tsimbita must have at least 25 pleats round the outside, but its possible for a skilled baker to make up to 33.
Raki, Beer and Wine From Tinos
The sandy soils protected the vines of Tinos from phylloxera, having been abandoned for many years wine making is having a resurgence with wine makers coming to the island to tend the ungrafted vines.
Mastic is a popular flavour seen in this mastic spirit and delicately flavoured mastic water.
The local firewater, or aqua vitae is known as raki, barely a meal goes by without the bottle being produced and tiny thimble sized glasses of the clear liquor being offered round. A good raki is smooth, and strong, but should be pure enough not to give you a hangover!
Other Dishes From Tinos
The Greek Salad of the Cycladian islands is served on a bed of dried dark bread which soak up all the tomato juices and olive oil, served sprinkled with a local cheese. the local beer is Nisos, made in a micobrewery.
We were served a delicious salad with beets and yogurt which I’ve recreated.
The local tortilla or omelette is called the fourtalia, made with potatoes fried in olive oil and pork fat with sausages and eggs, served all over the island with a myriad of variations.
Learn more about visiting Tinos.
Greek Recipes Inspired by Tinos
Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of Discover Greece. All opinions our own.
That all looks so amazing. Greece is somewhere I really want to go – and I’ll have to keep all these amazing flavors in mind when – not if – I do!
I love Greece – and there are such differences between the mainland and all the islands.
Wow! So much delicious food, it really looks amazing. What a great experience for you.
it was amazing. Food is one of the things I enjoy most about travelling.
Greek food is so good. It is one of my favourite parts of holidaying there. I haven’t yet been to Tinos, it sounds wonderful.
I love how all the Greek islands are so different
David @ Cooking Chat
What a wonderful trip for a foodie to to visit! I would love to get to Greece. A couple times I considered adding on a quick trip there when in Italy but decided it should wait until I can really focus on it. I agree about more places should do events like this celebrating the local food culture.
I think you could spend several months seeing Greece. I think it is best to do one island properly.
Those plates of food look delectable. What a great idea to enjoy food together.
so much communal food. Stopping what you are doing then sitting and eating together.
I’ve had raki while in Greece, and it was pure fire water! I am so glad it comes in very small amounts. The food looks delicious. I’m feeling quite hungry just looking at them.
The further south the country the stronger the firewater I reckon!
The cheese from the gourd sounds very powerful! And the sweets sound utterly delicious. I think I would definitely travel here just for the food.
that cheese in the gourd was soooo punchy! But so good.
What a fabulous selection of food and drinks! I’m drooling over the Charcuterie platter. Sounds like you had an amazing time.
Love a good plate of cured meats!
Lisa | Garlic & Zest
This looks like such an incredible place — and the food looks amazing! That cheesecake is calling my name, but also that huge abundance of seafood. I’m going to have to start planning my travel… Thanks for the inspiration.
Thank you for those wonderful Greek insights. Especially the yummy sesame seed and honey pastels bring back memories from my own island trips to Kreta and Korfu.
the pastels were wonderful – and such amazing presentation
We are headed out to Santorini and Athens in a few weeks. I just love Greek food – but the real kind – like in this post. After reading this I am even more excited!
Have a lovely time – I loved the food on Tinos.
So. Much. Food! We loved our trip to Greece. Sadly we skipped Tinos but this makes us want to go back stat! That whole area of the Cyclades is just amazing.
I’ve only been to Corfu before. I think Tinos benefits from the lack of an airport
I would love to visit Greece one day. I LOVE Greek food. I order it when I go out to dinner, and I cook it a home too. So many wonderful flavours to devour.
The food on each island is quite different too.
Nancy Hunter | Flavorpalooza.com
A destination that’s on my bucket list for sure. Thanks for taking me there through your post! All the food looks absolutely delicious!
I am glad you enjoyed the tour! The food was amazing.
Every dish you showed I would think to myself “oh I want to try that one” … and then I would see another and say the same thing. Everything looks so beautiful and delicious! You are so lucky to travel to these wonderful places. I have to ask my neighbor about Tinos now. Great post!
I often joke that I come back form a press trip several pounds heavier! So much such good food!
Is this ever a food lovers paradise. The scenery is spectacular and that would certainly perk up the appetite. I’d love to taste the delicious food right where it originates. Hubby was there many years ago — I’d love to visit.
you must take him back there some time and see the island!
This kind of post really makes me want to travel more. I love how food is such an important part of culture and enjoyed in this way.
The Greek Islands are amazing, beautiful and really interesting. So much to explore that I always feel you never have enough time at all.
The food really does sound and look delicious. Great to be able to experience it all, and try new things.
I’d love to travel like this, and enjoy local foods. So different from our own traditionals.
I’ve had some funny experiences while holidaying in Greece. Some of the drinks and foods are an acquired taste. It’s a really good experience though.
Thank you for the great article, after which I once again wanted to visit such a beautiful country as Greece. You have very amazing photos turned out. Thank you so much for sharing your impressions you are good at it!