Sifnos, Greece June 2017



Sifnos, a small, relatively quiet island in the Cyclades, is known as the island of pots and cooks. It has also been called the island of churches since it has over 365 churches and monasteries contained in just 74 square metres


The island is rich in good, fireproof clay and since ancient times it has been renowned for its terracotta cookware and vases. In the 1930s there were some 90 potteries on the island and although today the number has decreased significantly it still has something for every taste.  I have lovely, dark green tableware made by Atsonios, bought over the years from his studio in Vathi, and exciting stoneware made by the Kalogirou family, who spent several years in the US before returning to Greece. Julie Tzanni makes contemporary stone ware and delicate unusual jewellery, on sale in her shop in Apollonia.


The ‘cooks’ epithet comes not only from the many good tavernas but from the fact that Nikolaos Tselementes, whose cook book,  published in 1920, is the bible of Greek cooking, was born in Sifnos. He worked in top restaurants in Europe and the US before returning to Sifnos where he opened a small pastry shop. Purists tend to frown on him because he is responsible for adulterating traditional dishes. He introduced béchamel sauce to Moussaka, and often cooked with butter instead of olive oil. A blasphemy in Greece !  The truth is that when the rest of Greece was content to throw everything on the grill, Sifniots, with their terracotta pots, could invent a myriad of dishes, like the famous mastello. There are many very good tavernas in Sifnos, enough to keep everyone well-fed and happy, even if there is not one for every day of the year, like the 365 churches, but in fact most of the tavernas close at the end of summer.


This is a link to an article I wrote on Sifnos a couple of years ago.

Gourmet Adventure in Sifnos      17 – 24 JUNE 2017

1750 euros

This is a link to an article I wrote on Sifnos a couple of years ago.



2 k shoulder or leg lamb, chopped into large pieces

Marinade for several hours in enough dry white wine to cover the meat.

Discard the wine, drain, and place the meat in a large terracotta pot, protected from touching the base by twigs or a metal rack.

Add salt, pepper and dill and barely cover with fresh white wine.

Cover tightly with foil and bake slowly for 5 hours. They added a lot of butter before covering but I think this is not necessary.

Chickpea balls

 1 k chickpeas, soaked for 12 hours

300 g potatoes, boiled, mashed and cooled

300 g onions, finely chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

chopped fresh or dried dill, parsley and mint to taste

1 t dried origano

1 t paprika

150 ml dry white wine







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s