Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Back from Sifnos

When you are on holiday, time flies. Ten days flew by in Sifnos without realising it. I went there alone but this did not prevent me from having a great time. I enjoy being my own company in the first place, doing whatever I want like swimming, fishing, sailing or  basking in the sun reading my favourite books. Secondly, I've made a few good friends there - all islanders - who won my heart from the very first day I set foot on Sifnos, 5 summers ago. Sifnos then was a very quiet island unlike most of the Cyclades. Only a few Athenians visited the island due to its proximity to Athens. Nowadays, Sifnos has become a very touristy island. Of course this is good for the islanders whose livelihood only depends on fishing and on tourism.

I spent most of the days fishing - I had a good catch! - then sailing to Sifnos' unspoilt beaches, meeting friends and, naturally, tasting for yet another summer the unique Sifnos traditional cooking.It is not accidental that Sifnos is the homeland of many great Greek chefs as for instance Nikos Tselemendes and Marcos. The traditional Sifnos cuisine cuisine is delicious and it includes dishes such as: chickpea croquettes, string beans with garlic paste, Sunday traditional chickpea soup, which is put in the oven on Saturday night and is cooked during the whole night with wood, caper-salad, meat cooked in the mastelo (traditional utensil made of potter’s clay). And fish, of course! Likecalamari, for instance.

Apart from giving birth to Dionysus, patron god of wine, Greece is the birthplace of the first VSOP wines in history. They were the wines of the islands of Chios and Thassos, renowned in the entire ancient world. Due to various historic and social reasons, as well as natural disasters, the art of wine-making was neglected from the middle of the nineteenth century until the early sixties. It was then that the ancient traditions of wine-making started being rediscovered and today, one can find many excellent Greek wines produced all over the country. When tasting Greek wine, bear in mind that it is a product of a distinctive environment and of grape varieties unknown to western wine lovers. Sifnos is no exception and produces some great wines,

My friend Manolis' reastaurant in Vathi is my favourite. The best clay oven food on the island. If you are lucky he may be roasting a lamb. Manolis has been the heart and soul of Vathi for decades. Though his son Stelios has taken over the runing of the restaurant, Manolis is always there acting as host and ambassador of kefi. A truly wonderful restaurant that should not be missed, particularly for a late and lingering lunch. Excellent wine from the barrel, baked foods from the oven, fried kalamari, whatever fish has been brought in, and the best Greek salads in all the Cyclades topped with arugula and mizithra, a Sifniot cheese less sharp then feta and the consistency of cottage cheese. When you are finished just jump right in the clean water of Vathi bay and then come back for a Greek coffee and baklava. If you decide that this is the life for you, then you can rent rooms right behind the restaurant, just like I did. (Manolis passed away in 2009 but his spirit lives on.)

So, how about you? Did you have a nice summer holiday? Where did you go? 


Margaret said...

Manolis's restaurant looks amazing,thanks for posting such nice photos of your holidays.

Christina P said...

That's incredible! I was door - Serifos. I love the barren look of this island and all the great beaches.

Olga said...

Πολύ όμορφο νησί μου φαίνεται η Σίφνος. Χαίρομαι που πέρασες τόσο όμορφα τις διακοπές σου. Εγώ πήγα Σαμοθράκη που είναι επίσης πανέμορφη! Καλό χειμώνα να έχουμε.

Lonely said...

H Σίφνος είναι ένα πολύ όμορφο νησί..!
Και μάλλον απ' ότι μας γράφεις πέρασες ακόμη πιο όμορφα..:-)

Να είσαι καλά..

Πολλά φιλιά

Anastasia said...

Our first choice for this summer's holiday was Sifnos. Unfortunately, we didn't book early enough and could not find accommodation in the hotel of our choice. Next summer, we'll try to book earlier.

sand dune said...

Nice to see you had such a lovely, well-deserved holiday, Constantinos. Sifnos must be the ideal place to spend a summer holiday.

Katie said...

Sifnos is like a dreamland to me. I close my eyes and picture those awesome golden beaches, good food and blue skies. I love Greece!