Sifnos, with its semi-mountainous but fertile land, was known in antiquity for its inhabitants well-being and longevity thanks to its gurgling spring waters and fine produce. Here, where the light strips the stone, free-range game, sheep, and goats offer meat.
Every social event on Sifnos but also every season maintains its typical flavours:
Sundays Sifnos’ meals the main dish is revithada, which is baked in clay rye (the skepastaria) for many hours, the previous night, in a wood-fired oven with the addition of onions, rainwater, and local aromatic herbs.
In the traditional festivals, the communal dinners reminiscent of the ancient meals everyone is offered the classical revithada and braised meat with pasta, cooked in special large cauldrons, or during Lent time, fried cod with skordalia always accompanied by a salad.
At Christmas time, on the other hand, all houses scent the traditional melomakarona and the avgokalamara, a local type of diples, while in the farm houses or haystacks of rural families, singlino and pihti cheese.
Later, on Halloween, the housewives prepare dairy desserts, rice pudding (rizogalo), cream, or yogurt from goat or sheep milk, which is produced in large quantities at that time of year.
There is no Easter in Sifnos without the smell of the mastelo, (lamb or goat cooked in the special utensil also called mastelo), with red wine and flavored with dill in a wood-burning oven, without the “birds of Easter” a kind of bread in the shape of birds, or the honey pie made from local anthotiro and thyme honey.
The joy of a wedding, again, is accompanied by the Sifnos’ pasteli, in a diamond shape.
Also traditional are the chickpea meatballs, the caper salad, the manouri (yellow, hard spicy cheese that ages in the in red wine lees), mizithra, dried figs, the “loli” a dessert made of red pumpkin, spoon sweet, and liqueurs from local fruits as well as infusions made of sage, mallow, and the couch grass.
Aside from agriculture, the island is known for its weaving and ceramics, an art that has thrived for over three centuries and which produces special cookware used for chickpea stews and lamb mastelo slowly cooked in red wine over vines.