Sifnos is one of the best food destinations in the Cyclades, mainly because of the rich culinary traditions, famous delicacies, and local biological products. The island, is the birthplace of many great cooks, such as Nikolaos Tselementes, the most influential chef and cookery writer of modern Greece.
Sifnos’s delicious cuisine is peppered with traditional dishes, such as chickpea meatballs, grilled meat in mastelo, manoura and mizithra cheese, baked chickpeas stew (revithada), thyme honey and capers. Also in demand are the Sifnos homemade sweets, and crackers such as macaroons, almond biscuits (amygdalota) , honey sesami brittle (pasteli), gingerbread and rolls.
It is a common conception in Greece that the word “tselementes” is synonymous with cookbooks. However, only few of us really know that Nikolaos Tselementes was actually an inspired cook who influenced significantly the Greek urban cuisine. The legendary chef from the island of Sífnos studied the art of cooking in Vienna. When he returned to Greece he started working for many foreign embassies. Systematic, talented and a man of vision Tselementes initiated the Greeks into the secrets of international cuisine.
Tselementes became widely known through the launch of the monthly magazine “Cooking Guide” (first published in 1910) that included, apart from recipes, nutritional advice, cooking news and ideas on how to serve and present food. It is no exaggeration to say that Tselementes taught the Greeks how to cook. His cooking books were every housewife’s cooking bible and a valuable wedding gift for the newlyweds! Tselementes combined harmonically the Greek and the French cuisine, and showed the Greek housewives how to prepare the favourite béchamel sauce, tasty pirozhkies, bouillabaisse (seafood soup), jelly recipes, whipped cream, canapés as well as the art of decoration and the magic of buffets!
Without doubt, Tselementes bequeathed us a lasting legacy. After all, he was the founder of the contemporary Greek gastronomic culture.
Cycladic Gastronomy Festival - Nikolaos Tselementes
Every year at the beginning of September, a three-day festival of Cycladic Gastronomy with representatives from every Cycladic island and other honored guests, gather in the village of Artemonass to present their unique gastronomic traditions, local products and vibrant culture.
Every island has its own booth at the central square of Artemonas, where amateur and professional cooks and chefs prepare and present recipes from their islands of origin. Visitors can taste those recipes, visiting the islands’ booths.