Holiday tip Greece: Tinos, the unknown pearl of the Cyclades. Winding Island, pumpkin cheese, beer for connoisseurs and 800 pigeon towers. TinosFoodpaths Part 1.
Slowly I leave the sea level behind me, while my little red Mietflitzer chugs higher and higher up the coastal road. It's like I own this island all by myself - I'm met by another car every 10 minutes . Once a local hangs stubbornly in the totally dusty and dented SUV on the bumper, apparently I am at 35 km/h on the narrow road clearly too slow on the road. I drive to the right, wave it over and soon I'll be all alone with the road, the landscape, the sun and the pop song.
A short time later I find myself several hundred meters above the sea . Behind every curve, a new bay with fantastic views awaits, small gleaming white houses and chapels in the typical Cycladic style appear before me, now and then I drive past one of the famous Tiniotic pigeon towers. And in the distance, one of the ferries takes its majestic course through the incredibly blue sea. I stop by the side of the road, get out and enjoy. This view, this air, this silence . At that moment, I am forever losing a bit of my heart to the Greek island of Tinos.
Tinos - the unknown" Winding Island "
Most people have never heard of Tinos and are behaving accordingly. "Where are you going?" - "Tinos." - "Ahhh ... yes, that is ...?!" - "Greece. An island. Tinos is one of the Cyclades. "-" Right, the Cyclades ... I think I've heard of it somehow ... "-" Mykonos is a neighbor island . "-" AHHHH ... MYKONOS, THE CYCLADES - BUT Of course! "The whole thing is not bad at all, because who knows each of the more than 3,000 Greek islands. However, almost everyone knows Mykonos. On the other hand, the other beautiful Cyclades Islands often stay in the background. And while the crowds on Mykonos roll through streets and streets and wait for 30 minutes for an Instagram selfie at the famous photo-hot spots, it is on the other Cyclades, much quieter and more contemplative. Likewise on Tinos.
Tinos has a history that goes back to ancient times and has been known for millennia with the nickname " Isle of Winds " , According to Greek mythology, the wind god Aiolos was once said to have been born on the almost 200 square kilometer island. In addition, it is always windy on Tinos. Windmill ruins testify to Tinos today of the centuries-old wind power use for agriculture. And that's why the inhabitants of Tinos are a little bit mad at the people of Mykonos. They have - so the locals say behind closed doors - simply stolen the name "island of the winds" and set up for marketing purposes chic windmills that did not exist there before. The gnawing at the Tinotern and so reaps when the language comes to the neighboring island of Mykonos, now and then strict looks and a very meaningful "Pah!". For them, there is only one true island of winds - Tinos, the birthplace of the mighty Wind God .
Today, Tinos live in the main town with harbor and in about 50 smaller villages nearly 8,000 inhabitants . Outside the season, it is extremely quiet and contemplative - no one then closes his apartment door. This will only start when the time for tourists starts again in April. And they continue to come from Tinos mainly from Greece themselves. In particular, the Athenians love the windy temperatures and the fresh air on Tinos. Except in August. Then the wind on the island becomes so strong that it simply becomes too cold for a true Greek at 30 degrees to swim
Committed islanders and indulgence - TinosFoodpaths
English pubs, German Schnitzelbratereien, American burger chains and other terrible signs of a derailed tourism can not be found on Tinos. Some even say that on the less known Cyclades islands it is still as authentic as it was 30 or 40 years ago in Greece . But that would not really be desired by the local islanders. Life on the islands in the 80s was sometimes extremely hard - especially in winter, where relentless cold (the houses had and usually have no heating) and monotonous loneliness have the island residents badly added. But perhaps these voices also mean that the islanders have not sold out their culture and lifestyle for the sake of the tourist streams, but continue to live daily.
An important part of this tinotic culture is the authentic island cuisine , Especially in the last few years, it has been shown that visitors value and seek just that: high-quality food made from local products . And there Tinos has a lot to offer. In collaboration with the Greek Tourism Promotion, a group of dedicated islanders launched the TinosFoodpaths Food Festival on the island. These Tinoters work without pay and voluntarily in addition to their normal jobs at the festival and spend several weeks in the early summer lovingly around the theme of food and enjoyment. These include special menus in many restaurants, guides , live cooks with popular chefs , lectures , Product-. and wine tastings and very special food in fantastic locations on the island. The great people of TinosFoodPath work full of passion for their island and want to experience the pleasurable culture and products directly. Rarely have I experienced such a positive spirit and touching cohesion .Even though the water at Tinos has to be deliberately used, fruits and vegetables grow fantastically under the Greek sun. Freshly harvested from our own garden zucchini, tomatoes, onions, aubergines, potatoes, artichokes, Swiss chard, lettuce and Co. are processed into fresh, aromatic dishes. Pickled capers and sour-salty seagrass set the cutting edge. Lentils and beans and goat's milk products complete the diet. There are puff pastry pies or stuffed noodles . Fish and Seafood also play an important role. Traditionally, the meat content of the island cuisine is rather low and is perceived as something special.
Especially the goats belonged to the traditional livestock on Tinos. They deliver milk, meat and leather and defy frugal and robust heat, cold and drought. If you drive on the mountain road in the west of the island, you will regularly see free-roaming herds of goats putting on a small lunchtime snack on the warm road. Or climb the rocks and look for the tastiest green. Goat Meat is a fantastic delicacy on Tinos and is great for stewing - it can be found on the menus of the village tavernas. Also cattle kept in the pasture are isolated on the island. However, they are much more expensive to keep than goats and need a lot more food and water. So, a piece of tinotine cattle is really something special.
Of course, people in Tinos - as is common in the South - also have a very sweet tooth. In addition to the famous salty-sweet cheese tart with mild goat's cheese, there is an unbelievable amount of biscuits, sesame crisp and other sweets. I was particularly impressed by a still warm, with orange syrup soaked Grieskuchen in a small coffee in a tiny - unfortunately unnamed - hamlet.
Beer, island marmalade and pumpkin cheese - microbreweries, artisanal Manufactures and Startups on Tinos
The Craft and Manufacturing movement has also inspired people interested in Tinos. Over the last few years, small businesses have been successfully set up to craft high-quality Tinos products.
For example, the Plush Women's Cooperative for marmalade . Five ladies with quite large gardens full of fruit trees had always cooked for their own needs anyway. You could make a business of it! Without further ado, the ladies founded their own brand for tinotic marmalades . From their crops, they cook high-quality jams made of tinotic fruit "just like in the old days" - ie only from sugar and fruit. This makes them very successful - their really delicious jams are available all over the island.
Rather, out of economic hardship during the financial crisis, the idea was born to Tinos a Microbrewer establish.Why should not Tinos work on what works in Berlin and Berchtesgaden? Together with his partner, he made himself smart for the beer business and founded the brand Nissos beer. With resounding success! The crafted Tinos beer has not only convinced connoisseurs in Greece and now also delights beer fans far beyond the country's borders. By the way, you can visit the small brewery, taste delicious beers and - if you're lucky - take a look at the production and throw in the very likeable chef. Take a look at an island tour!
Another special delicacy on Tinos is Kapiki, the pumpkin cheese . The tradition of maturing cheese in a pumpkin has long existed on the island. In a really tiny cheese dairy, the cheese is now also produced "in series" and sold to restaurants and specialty shops. The cheese ripens in the closed pumpkin for 120 days and develops a noble mold layer, which produces a particularly expressive and pungent taste.
Also in a long tradition, the goat cheese is made in the basket . The baskets for the cheese are braided in an old craft tradition and laid out with a cloth. Then the cheese curd is infused and forms the typical semicircular shape.
The Greek pigeons and their Venetian towers
The island of Tinos is looking at a moved history back gods were born here, one belonged to the second Attic Seebund in the antiquity and fought together with the Athenians against the Perser.Um 1200 n.Ch.Around 1700 AD Finally, the Ottomans landed and took Tinos under their formal administration. Only from 1821 Tinos was again part of the Greek state. For an unbelievable 500 years, Tinos was Venetian - and you can still see that today in the wonderful pigeon towers on Tinos.
In medieval Venice it was a good thing Pigeons as wild poultry too distorted. Of course, we are not talking about gray and slightly run-down city pigeons on St. Mark's Square, but about tender little white birds. The Venetians living on the island brought their tradition of pigeon breeding with them and cultivated them for centuries. The architecturally beautiful towers are internally without false floors and have small holes in the masonry, perfect for the size of a dainty Mediterranean dove. For other bird species or even birds of prey the towers are therefore not interesting. The pigeons sit with their heads out in their nest holes, their legacy falls on the ground inside the tower. This creates a win-win situation for pigeons and humans . The pigeon finds safe shelter and proliferates accordingly well. The man collects the pigeon droppings from the inside of the tower and uses it as a valuable fertilizer on the rather barren Greek island soil. Pigeon Fertilizer has long been an important export to Tinoter.
This symbiosis has worked well for a long time and the pigeon meat has overtaken the inhabitants of Tinos many times Drought or crop failures survived. Dove became the island delicacy . And if you are lucky, you can still find pigeon on the menu in a restaurant - as a spicy sauce ragout as a filling for crunchy pies or with herbs in an aromatic pigeon boulanger . I was able to taste the latter and found it very tasty and excitingly unusual with the rather dark, slightly nutty pigeon meat.
More than 800 pigeon towers are still scattered all over the island today, but mostly they are no longer active for pigeon breeding in operation. Some are only preserved as a ruin, but many are in a beautifully restored state . The owners of the land, where a pigeon tower stands, decide for themselves how to handle this piece of island history. And many happily decide to restore the pigeon towers and give them back their old splendor.The first time he saw him driving out of the car - and thought for a moment that I actually had a
The puzzle was solved the next evening. Walking through the lanes of the Hora, I passed at the local fish shop - and the pelican sat neatly outside the door watching the passers-by. The fisherman had found the still very young pelican caught in a net years ago on one of his early morning tours. He released the bird, found that he had broken his wing, and in no time took home. As the wing healed, a strong bond between man and bird developed. The pelican stayed with the fisherman and now belongs as a mascot to the store. During the day, he likes to take walks alone in the area, stands by the side of the road and watches the cars and passers-by . Then return to the fish shop, take a nap outside the door, or sit by the cash register when the fisherman settles the day.
For the Tinoter he belongs firmly to the cityscape to. And the tourists are usually very quickly in love with the feathered mascot. In the meantime, Peli even printed postcards so that those who stayed at home would also have something of the great Greek pelican .
And if you can do it, then you will be so enthusiastic Keeping in check for the great animal, you can also turn to the fisherman's fresh produce: exciting fish and luscious seafood for a delicious dinner.
Mastics and the submarine. Or the slightly disturbing taste of tree resin.
Another very special Tinos specialty is mastic products . The intensely tasting resin of pistachio trees is particularly tasty and is therefore processed in schnapps "masticha", mineral water, ice cream, sweets and many other stimulants. For many Cycladic people, mastic is the taste of their childhood . And this taste is clearly ... getting used to. By the way, a traditional submarine is a traditional dessert after dinner. This is a big spoon with a very tough and sweet, mastic-tasting sugar mass in a glass of cold water. Either you love it or you hate it. But you should definitely try it out.At the farmers market, at the grocery store or at the Aunt-Emma in the "Pantopoleion".
The ultimate shopping tip for fresh, fruits and vegetables grown on the island on Tinos is the farmers market down the harbor parking lot. Here, every morning, growers of the island offer their garden-fresh produce, fresh cheese and preserves. So if you're looking for locally grown, fresh food, you will not miss the farmer's market .
Otherwise, there are only two or three larger on Tinos in Hora, the capital of the island Supermarkets , which carry a standard full range of groceries and everyday necessities. Much of the fruit and vegetables offered there are - as in the rest of Europe - but from Spain or other large growing countries. It is different with cheese, olives, olive oil, capers, egg algae, marmalades, beer or other durable foods - these produced on the island products - besides the usual international brands - are also often marked in the Supermarket Shelf.
Many island products are also available in the pretty specialty shops in the small neighborhood around "Kitsch Street" the locals the only, really tourist lane " Evaggelistrias " full of souvenir and devotional shops that goes up in the Hora from the sea to the sanctuary. In addition to jams of the women's cooperative, cheese, capers and Co., sweets are a ubiquitous specialty of the Mediterranean island. Various bakers offer the famous Tinotic cheese cakes , countless varieties biscuits and pastries , large round wafers filled with white nougat and in different colors shining fruit jelly . By the way, biscuits, biscuits and co. Are calculated by weight. One should not miss tasting the various delicacies and savoring a hike through the Hora.
In the smaller villages you can often find quaint mom and pop shops, > a so-called Pantopoleion - in the translation about "we sell everything". There you can get the necessities of life in the smallest space such as water, candles, bread, flour, feminine hygiene and washing powder, as well as a few magazines, ice cream, typical sweets and sometimes locally grown fresh vegetables like onions and tomatoes, pastries or homemade cheese . A particularly picturesque Pantopoleion is located in the town Isternia in a small alley just behind the church of Agia Paraskevi . It's always worth a visit - out of courtesy you should not only take pictures, but also buy at least one little thing. Support your local dealer.
Meats existed - until the summer of 2018 - by the way, only at the two traditional butchers in the Hora. That one of the two supermarkets has now also added fresh meat in the assortment, was not very well with many islanders. They see unnecessary competition for traditional butchers and fear that many more people will soon buy the cheaper supermarket meat. So if you want to like the locals buy meat, go to one of the two traditional butchers in the port city.
Zucchini with lemon, green vegetables and braised goat. Authentic eating out.
During the Greek economic crisis, the range of restaurants on Tinos initially changed a lot. The mostly Greek visitors of the island had to look very much at their money and preferred in this time very cheap food for a few euros.Meanwhile, the gastronomic offer on Tinos has recovered and is pleasingly high quality and diverse .
Of course there is nothing against it, a juicy Souvlaki Pork or chicken skewers "on the hand" to pick and picnic on a bench by the sea with a view of the sunset. Along the harbor road of the Hora you will also find several typical or modern Greek taverns offering veritable food for the whole family in different price ranges. But there's more.
There are a number of restaurants and chefs who have wonderfully ambitiously dedicated themselves to serving authentic tinotic cuisine with island produce. Warm aromatic vegetable salad , small freshly harvested zucchini with lemon dressing , cooked green vegetable (a specific, wild type of plant that will cook like spinach) , Delicacies from Fava beans , Beef with artichoke puree , Dove stew , Grilled seafood , Delicate Stewed goat meat , tinotic cheese specialties to jam from island lemons , the finest olive oil , fresh olives and home-baked bread - traditional dishes made from local produce deliciously interpreted.
A real highlight is for example the informal restaurant Thalassaki, which is located on the left at the end of the beach street in the bay of Isternia The restaurant Drakonissi/Drakonési also made a very good impression with Perfect Flavors/Τηνίων Γεύσεις in the alley Taxiarches 2. The restaurant Drakonissi/Drakonési made a very good impression with modern interpretations of the Greek cuisine Kolimpithra Beach - From the terrace you have a view over the bay and a local connoisseur recommended the Restaurant Unser/δικό μας- diko mas in the Ir. Politechniou right on the city beach of the Hora.
For hot tips , the best way to ask the locals is in which restaurant is a particularly good and authentic one The restaurant landscape and the chefs can also change from season to season.
And so on ...
That you open Tinos not only can really feast on good, but also a lot of other exciting things, picturesque villages and empty beaches should discover, I'll tell you in the next holiday tip. Stay tuned!